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JANUARY 2017 £4.

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JANUARY
2 0 1 7
ISSUE 654
£ 4 . 6 0
CLUSIV
WORLD EX

E!

s E-clasers5
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s
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Ne
ter, light
: BMW’s smar
mark
st
600-mile te c’s sports saloon bench
takes on Mer

New Disco
Mud, rock and rivers
– driving the new
luxury Land Rover
on Scotland’s
toughest tracks

INSIDE

Peugeot’s rally
nerve centre

GIANT TEST

The muddy
Maserati

NEW

VS

USED

Focus RS or
Mitsubishi
Evo VI?

WWW.CARMAGAZINE.CO.UK

18 BIG DRIVES!

JANUARY 2017

76
Features

Insider
8 Ford re-mixes hit Fiesta

54

12 Wacky races: $500 thoroughbreds go to war
13 Alfa Romeo Stelvio: la bella
a SUV

Discovery driven!

14 Ron Dennis’ F1 legacy

Land Rover’s do-anything SUV vs some big rocks

16 The CAR Inquisition: Moray Callum

68

18 The LA show’s hottest new cars

Tech
22 Autonomous road testing is go
25 Does it work? Car-to-traffic-light communications
25 The EV supercar to humble Chiron
26 Mercedes’ futurologist talks shop

108
Convoy 2!

Mini vs the mountains
At the top of the fast Mini tree sits the Challenge,
born for the track. So we drove it over the Alps

76

Inside Peugeot Sport

First drives

They made the mighty V10 905 Le Mans car and
T16 205. We meet their wild 3008 Dakar car

28 Lexus LC500 Looks cool. Drives well. Has stunning
naturally-aspirated V8 and 10-speed ’box. Done

84

31 Ford Kuga ST-Line A taller Focus RS? If you really squint
31 Lotus Exige Sport 380 Chapman’s mantra gets results
– again! – and in spectacular style

BMW 5-series vs Merc E-class

32 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Now with all-wheel drive but

Time was BMW had the engines and dynamics,
Mercedes the tech and ride quality. And now?

fear not: it’s AMG all-wheel drive…
34 Renault Twingo GT Sharp like a soggy baguette

92

36 Skoda Kodiaq Big Friendly Giant makes a lot of sense
37 Seat Leon 1.0-litre TSI Tweaked car, tasty engine
38 Toyota C-HR A Toyota you’ll want – believe
Test Toyota Prius vs the hybrid horde
46 Quick Group T

Opinion
50 The CAR
R columnists: Gavin Green & Mark Walton

R interactive: snappy name for our letters pages
55 CAR

92

Meet Merc’s
design boss

The saviour of Merc design
How design boss Gorden Wagener is helping
Mercedes steal the premium-car top spot

98

Maserati Levante Giant Test
Can the newcomer topple F-Pace and X5?

108

Convoy 2!
Re-creating our classic ’70s Lamborghini epic

Rear End
116 Icon buyer
New Ford Focus RS or used Mitsubishi Lancer Evo?

122 Our cars

98

Hello Ford Edge, goodbye Jaguar XE

135 GBU: every car rated!
What have we said about your car this time?

162 The CAR Top 10
Unlikely BTCC tools

54

WELCOME

New Disco turns
families into VIPs
T

The car can do it,
providing you’re
brave enough
to off-road your
£64,195 (in HSE
Luxury trim) pride
and joy

FROM THE
ARCHIVE

HEY SAY nothing changes you like becoming
a parent: out goes the Cayman, in comes the
Cayenne. Strangely though, years before I even
thought about becoming a dad, I was smitten instantly
with the outgoing Discovery. I loved its functional,
unadorned design, its pillowy ride for seven, its imperious capability off-road, the promise of adventure.
CAR
R’s intrepid Mark Walton drove his long-termer
to Timbuktu; the Foreign Office wouldn’t countenance that today. My most
extended drive was from London to Berlin in a Discovery 4, accompanied by my
pregnant wife. We cruised out in hushed, five-seat civility, piled in my parents
and brother’s family to use all seven perches in Germany, then dropped the rear
two rows before loading it to the roofliner with his kids’ outgrown cot/pram/
baby seat/toys/clothes to come home. Now that’s versatility.
And so the Mk5 Discovery arrives, photographed on the cover in the protective environment of the studio. The new design is strikingly divergent, it’ll be
built in Slovakia too. This Disco changes the rules.
Land Rover’s chief creative officer, Gerry McGovern, makes no apologies for
the new look: ‘We’re trying to make it more
universally appealing and sexier.’ The
design triggered instant desire in me, and
I thought it dated its revered predecessor.
But despite the smart deployment of
Discovery cues – stepped roof, body-coloured C-pillar, hints of asymmetric tailgate
– the beefy proportions and detailing
remind me of the Range Rover Sport. ‘That
car is more overtly sporty, it’s not a fully
optimised seven-seater, it’s not so family
oriented,’ counters McGovern.
Amen to the family focus: I can’t recall
sitting through a more customer-centric
briefing. From seats you can fold and stow
by remote control, to a standard fold-down flap on which you can change your
wellies while sheltering under the tailgate, air springs you can drop to make it
easier for people to get out (and dogs to climb in the boot), up to nine USB ports,
and easy trailer-hitching and assisted towing, this 4x4 puts the utility into SUV.
And the body and chassis? A switch to aluminium saves up to 480kg and
allows the adoption of downsized engines, reducing its carbon footprint. And
Land Rover promises more ground clearance, improved wading depth and an
arsenal of off-road control systems for tackling rough stuff. Which is where
features editor Ben Miller comes in. He ventured to Scotland in deepest winter
to get the first feel for a prototype, strictly off-road. Read his story on p54.
Clearly having to trade in your Cayman will always be a wrench. But our
first impressions suggest the new Discovery will
improve your loved ones’ life on the road. Pleasures PHIL MCNAMARA
Editor
of a different – but equally important – kind.

A VOYAGE IN
DISCOVERY

5000 miles in two weeks –
4000 of them in Morocco
and the Sahara – were an
immersive way for Gavin
Green to introduce Land
Rover’s original Discovery in
December 1989. Back then,
new Landies were a rare
event (the previous one was
the Range Rover, 19 years
prior); now Gaydon is the
centre of an ongoing storm
of new model development.
Discovery first test, p54
ALSO IN THAT ISSUE...
Aston Zagato Volante:
‘uncomfy, overpriced – but
wonderful’
Rowan Atkinson on his love
for the Lancia Delta Integrale
Joke’s over: Skoda Favorit
beats Ford Fiesta

AROUND THE WORL
WORLD
WE’RE ALSO PUBLISHED IN:

BRAZIL

CHINA

INDIA

ITALY

KOREA

MALAYSIA

SOUTH AFRICA

SPAIN

THAILAND

TURKEY

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

7

Cars, people, scoops, motorsport, analysis: the month according to CAR

Number one remix:
Fiesta back once aga
The best-selling Ford of the last decade returns with
posh Vignale version and, says Ford, a sharper chas

Have we met
before?
Super-subtle design

8

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

G

ET USED TO the sight of this, the seventh-generation Fiesta unveiled for the first
time at Ford’s huge Cologne manufacturing
facility in Germany. The outgoing model has
topped the UK sales charts since its first full
year on sale in 2009, making this a crucial
element of Ford’s future European performance. As a result, Ford
has taken the predictable tack of a modest design refresh while
piling on new tech, personalisation and reduced emissions.
Fans of the old car’s looks won’t be disappointed, with even
Ford’s own design director George Saridakis describing it as ‘an
lutionary design’. 71mm longer and 12mm wider than before,
h generation car is a fraction more conservative, with
pe less Aston Martin in the grille and horiline with bigger Ford models. Changes
de more creasing in the bonnet and
pillar moved rearwards, while
ribute to the reduced Cd of
is that the seventh Fir; chief programme
h Fi
b d

steering effort, while a multitude of detail changes should improve the driving experience still further, notably the availability
of torque vectoring control for the first time. Torsional stiffness
is up by 15%, the front subframe is stiffer and the rear twist beam
is larger. Suspension bushes are larger and stiffer all round for
improved wheel control, while there are larger front dampers
and split design top mounts designed for more fine tuning. Ford
claims improved ride quality and refinement, with road noise cut
by 7% at 60mph.
On the engine front the old but sweet 1.25-litre petrol has been
ditched in favour of a naturally aspirated 1.1-litre three-cylinder
in 69bhp and 84bhp forms, while the 1.0-litre turbo Ecoboost
engines are carried over in 99bhp, 123bhp and 138bhp outputs.
Ecoboosters and the 84bhp diesel also inherit active grille technology from the Focus which cuts drag by 10%, while the TDCi
is offered in a new high-power 118bhp version too, both coming
in under 90g/km CO2. New five- and six-speed gearboxes have
been developed, and a new six-speed auto on the 89bhp Ecoboost
comes with paddle-shifters for BTCC fantasists.
Inside, Ford has wisely given the Fiesta a more quality
feel, ditching the Nokia-esque centre console for a de rigueur
6
8i h
h
ih i h d i
d

|

Inside I’m dancing
Relief all round as the
Fiesta gets the new cabin
it so badly needs. Slick
touchscreen is standard,
better materials and lots
more tech – but broadly

Imagine this 15mm
lower, 20% meaner
and with 200bhp
and you have the
next ST

further down the dash. Vehicle line director Darren Palmer explains: ‘There are half as many buttons in the centre console and
it’s designed with no visible split lines or joints.’ There’s more
soft-touch in here too, while durability should also be better,
with materials tested under a decade’s worth of UV light.
The interior tech haul is befitting of the demands of modern
buyers: Ford’s Sync3 system, search for
destination via voice control, Apple Car Play
and Android Auto are all available. Ford has
The thinking behind also taken a big step up with its premium
Fiesta’s posh push audio offering by getting involved with
B&O, the optional system featuring a 675W
FORD IS playing it ultra-safe with the
digital processor with 10 speakers including
new Fiesta, refusing to tinker with the
a subwoofer.
recipe of a car that has crushed the
supermini competition even in its final
Narrower seats shared with the Focus
full year of sales, except in one regard:
aim
to increase space and comfort but the
its upmarket aspirations.
cabin space remains acceptable rather than
The newly introduced Ka+ is more
grown up than before and intended
exceptional. Knee-room in the back has
to take over from entry-level Fiestas,
been increased by 16mm and the side panels
while the Active and Vignale models will
are more sculpted to boost elbow space, but
see the Fiesta badge pushed further
choosing the optional full-length panoramupwards and outwards than ever
before. That’s because the B-segment
ic roof eats into headroom front and rear.
was just 200,000 sales behind the
Extra space has been squeezed from the only
C-segment across Europe last year,
slightly more generous dimensions wherevand while the mainstream slice of that
cake remains the biggest at 74%, so
er possible, but the 20% bigger glovebox and
far in 2016 sales of B-segment cars
one-litre centre-console storage won’t give
under €13k are up 11% and those over
rivals a headache. The Focus’s much-loved
€20k are up 24%; with the bigger Ka+
and Vignale in its portfolio, Ford will be
door protectors have made the step down,
ready to take on new Polo next year.
however, which is bad news for smart-repair
specialists everywhere.
One area where Ford is claiming to lead the pack is safety,
introducing a swathe of new tech with the aim of best-in-class
EuroNCAP scores. No fewer than 13 new safety tech features
10 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

have been added, including pre-collision assist with pedestrian
detection, which Ford says can pick up on road users who may
wander in the car’s path even in the dark. Park assist now
includes perpendicular parking and will also intervene with the
brakes if sensor warnings are ignored. Ford also claims a sector
first with cross-traffic alert, warning of approaching traffic
when reversing out of a space.
The seventh Fiesta range is broader than before right from the
off. First up is the fleet-special Style, with Zetec and Titanium
models expected to be the core sellers. The ST-Line models have
proved so popular that the Fiesta will come in this guise from
the start of production, getting its own lower bumper treatment,
re-shaped grille and interior trinkets, with a full-on ST to follow.
Where the Fiesta heads for new ground is with the Active
model, a pseudo crossover that will take over where the poor
EcoSport left off. Riding 18mm higher than standard, the Active
gets its own machine-finished alloy wheels, gloss-black roof,
unique grille and the obligatory plastic cladding around the sills.
Little actual off-road ability is likely, with the Active to remain
strictly two-wheel drive only. The Fiesta will also get a Vignale
version, wearing a flashy grille, 18-inch polished alloys, unique
badging and satin-chrome detailing. Inside it gets the plush
quilted leather and a full complement of toys including the B&O
audio system as standard, as well as the same improved dealer
experience as other Vignale models. Ford remained tight-lipped
over a pure electric version but renewed its commitment to offering 13 alternative fuel models by 2020, which puts Fiesta firmly
in the frame.
Prices are expected to start slightly above the current car’s at
around £14,000 with sales commencing next summer. Deliveries of the Active model won’t begin until the year after with a
price similar to higher-end Titanium models, and the Vignale
expected to approach £20,000.

WACKY RACES #2

The 24 hours of LeMons
Mix one part endurance racing to two parts scrapheap challenge for this charmingly mad blend
What kind of cars
compete?

And they race for 24
hours?

Do teams take the
racing seriously?

Basically, yes: it’s an
endurance racing series
open only to cars that cost
$500 or less (including
purchase and preparation,
excluding safety equipment),
and essentially an excuse
for a big trackside party.
Race weekends are held
across the United States,
and now in Australia and
New Zealand too.

Anything and everything. A
cavalcade of tired stuff from
eBay, Craigslist and ropey
neighbourhoods, usually
sporting outlandishly
inventive decorations.
The $500 spend limit is
enforced by a ‘BS-Factor’
judging panel, docking
teams one lap for every
additional $10 it believes
they may have spent.

At least once a year there’s
a full 24-hour race, but the
bulk of the calendar is
based around a series
of shorter enduros, with
teams of four- to six drivers
to a car. Racing generally
takes a break at night time
for sleeping, eating and
partying, with something
of a festival atmosphere at
each round.

Of course they do; put a
human being in a racing
car and they’ll try to win.
All the cars must be fitted
with properly welded-in
rollcages and pass safety
scrutineering, and racing
is a non-contact sport.
Drivers range from
complete novices to
seasoned pros, and cars
from glacial to rapid.

NEW CAR DEBRIEF > VAUXHALL INSIGNIA GRAND SPORT

1

What’s going on
here then?
This is Vauxhall’s
next Insignia, due
in the UK next June.
Its new Epsilon 2
architecture offers
fwd or awd and
downsized engines,
stretching from
109bhp to 247bhp.
A new five-link rear
axle and (optional)
torque vectoring
add smiles to the
sensible vibe.

12

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

2

Grand by name
and nature?
At 4.9m long,
it’s straying slap
bang into Skoda
Superb territory.
It’s the biggest
mid-sizer yet to
wear a Griffin
badge, yet up to
175kg lighter than
before. Choose
from hatchback
or Sports Tourer
estate; RIP fourdoor repmobile.

3

Where can I watch it?
Trackside, at circuits across
most of the USA and Down
Under, with proceeds in
aid of charity, or via links
at 24HoursofLeMons.
com. More than 30
competitions will run in
2017, including separate
‘Concours d’LeMons’
events. Sample categories:
‘Needlessly Complex Italian,
1974-Current’, and ‘Rueful
Britannia, pre ‘66’…

Tricks and toys
aplenty then?
Gadget and
gizmo tech is
arguably more
important than
the oily stuff to
fleets and families,
so Vauxhall has
bundled all-seeing
LED headlamps,
hushed doubleglazing and
adaptive dampers
into the range’s
upper echelons.

4

An alternative
to premium?
Despite winning
the 2009 Car of
the Year gong
at launch, the
outgoing Insignia
never set buyers’
pulses racing. But
the space of an
Audi A6 for the
price of an A3
presents a certain
appeal to those
willing to stray from
the premium flock.

WORDS: JAMES TAYLOR

Take it the clue’s in the
name?

STEP INSIDE
Interior design borrows
Giulia architecture and
infotainment but promises
higher-grade materials (praise
be) and a roomier, less cosy
cockpit layout, as befits an
SUV. Rear legroom still
snug, mind

TWO SIDES TO
THE STELVIO
Stelvio’s rear-biased awd
and ex-Ferrari engineering
team promise brilliance.
Propshaft is carbonfibre, QF’s
discs are ceramics. Does the

ALL THE
STOPS, PULLED
OUT
Lightweight materials aim
to take the contradiction out
of the term ‘driver’s SUV’.
Engine block, suspension
b k
li
d

BYEBYE MACAN
TURBO?
Sparkling twin-turbo
V6 from the hottest Giulia
powers the Stelvio QF; clever
torque vectoring will shift
grunt to the rear tyre with the
most grip. In the war with
Porsche, 503bhp plays
Macan Turbo’s
434bhp

and loose Race mode. Ride height
is more DTM than SUV, and the
Q4 all-wheel-drive transmission,
already proven in the Maserati
With the Stelvio, Italy’s builder of delicious rear-drive saloons
Levante (p98), is unashamedly
jumps on the SUV bandwagon. Die-hards will rant, but it should
performance-orientated. The sysunderwrite Alfa’s comeback plan. By Ben Miller
tem is 100% rear-biased in normal
driving but get giddier with the
DMITTEDLY, IT’S NOT the most beautiful Alfa 503bhp V6 and up to 50% of the torque can go to the front axle.
Romeo ever built. But the Stelvio might just be The system also uses twin clutch packs on the rear differential,
the best-looking SUV ever built, and the fact is Ford Focus RS-style, for smart and seamless across-axle torque
this is the car Alfa Romeo had to build: its sales distribution.
Lesser engine options will include a 276bhp, 295lb ft 2.0-litre
volumes should dwarf the Giulia’s and underpin the marque’s
turbocharged petrol four, also driving via a quick-shifting ZF
FCA-supervised renaissance.
As with the saloon, the Quadrifoglio version has been tasked eight-speed gearbox, and a 2.2-litre turbodiesel for Europe
with capturing hearts, minds and column inches, though in re- with either 178bhp or 207bhp outputs, available with rear- or
ality lesser, four-cylinder Stelvios will arrive here first. It takes all-wheel-drive transmissions.
Inside you’ll find a Giulia-esque cockpit big on frame-hugballs to benchmark anything against a Porsche but Alfa boss
Reid Bigland has done just that, openly and bravely targeting ging seats and performance design cues but light on next-gen
tech: no head-up display, no semi-autonomous systems.
its dynamic prowess if not – openly – its sales success.
First UK deliveries will be late 2017. While pricing is yet to be
The platform is as per the engaging Giulia, with front
double-wishbone and rear multi-link suspension plugged confirmed, expect Stelvio to undercut Macan – even Bigland’s
into the QF’s DNA drive mode controller, complete with fast not that brave.

Alfa’s SUV: pass or fail?

Family resemblance
not hard to spot:
meet the Grant to
the Guilia’s Phil
Mitchell

A

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

13

1980: Ron takes control
By 1980, McLaren hasn’t scored a win since Japan ’77. Ron
Dennis, however, has seen success with his Project Four
Racing team in Formula Two and Three, and hauls genius
designer John Barnard with him to merge with McLaren at
the end of the season. Ron assumes full control in 1981.

1984: McLaren back on top
With Barnard’s drawings and TAG-Porsche engines funded via Mansour
Ojjeh, Prost and Lauda micturate on the competition, taking 12 wins from 16
races and the latter winning his third drivers’ crown by half a point. For the
next two seasons, Prost and his immaculate perm are unstoppable.

1988: Ron seals victory
ke a perfectly blended Molotov, 1988 sees the
P4/4 paired with Honda’s 1.5-litre turbo and Prost
d Senna. Explosions ensue, with McLaren taking
st or second at every race bar one, and both on
occasions. Ron just manages to stop his drivers
ing each other; Prost leaves for Ferrari in 1990.

1993: The McLaren F1 bends our minds
On the racetrack Ron finds himself scrabbling around for a decent
motor: Ford, Peugeot and Mercedes can’t deliver with just five wins in
three years. They should’ve tried BMW.
Murray-designed McLaren F1 supercar
carbonfibre, BMW-powered ticket to
240.1mph. Still mind-blowing.

1995: The F1 wins Le Mans
Nigel Mansell proves too chubby to driv
continues, but the F1 supercar scores first, third, fourth and fifth at Le Mans.

1998: 98 Ron
The magic returns with the Adrian Newey-designed
MP4/13, a Mercedes V10 and the ace pairing of Häkkinen
and Coulthard. Brake Steer (braked the inside rear wheel,
helping turn-in) is banned, but Häkkinen is champion in ’98
and ’99. Meantime Ferrari stops being Italian for a decade.

2003: A big Mac from Ron
McLaren and Merc collaborate on the SLR. Purity
of focus diluted, we diss it; Prince Naseem stacks it.

2007: Spygate and Lewis
Double world champ Alonso and pet-project Lewis Hamilton seem an ideal
pairing for ’07, until the latter shows talent and the former bares claws.
Spygate scandal means the constructors’ title heads out the door, swiftly
followed by Fernando.

2008: That’s my boy!
A true rags-to-riches fairytale, Ron guides Hamilton from
council-estate rags to F1 podium riches when he clinches
the 2008 driver’s title aged just 23. It’s McLaren’s first in
nine years. Four years later, Hamilton quits for Mercedes

2011: Brave new world
MP4-12C road car goes on sale. It’s a
good start, but Ferrari’s 458 is better.

After a holiday from team-principal duties to focus on the
road-car business, Ron returns to the pitwall. The road-car
operation launches the P1; the F1 team orders Honda
power, then checks the purchase order to see if there’s
been some kind of mix-up.

2016: End of an era
Alonso lounges on deckchairs and plays TV cameraman between engine
failures while Button’s season-high is sixth. The boardroom tussle is more
exciting, with Ron elbowed from McLaren F1 after 35 years. He remains on
the boards of McLaren Technology Group and McLaren Automotive.
|

MARK FAGELSON, GETTY IMAGES, PA IMAGES

2014: Ron returns

I ve done a few cars in myy career,
but autonomous really is different’
Ford VP of design Moray Callum talks trends electric, autonomous and racing hot-rods too…

I
16

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

The car in question will be level four autonomous – an SAE
International definition denoting a machine capable of taking
on all aspects of driving, even if the human fails to respond to a
request to intervene… within most environments. ‘You won’t be
able to cross the Sahara in it,’ Callum qualifies, ‘but it will be autonomous within geo-fenced areas, and that area is pretty wide.’
Consequently, the vehicle won’t need a steering wheel. Callum
says Ford’s first foray into production-ready autonomous vehicles won’t be something the general public can buy though, but
rather ‘a transportation service, run by one company for another
company’ and expected to involve ride-hailing or sharing.
Exciting stuff and fast-approaching, but meantime Callum’s
got quite a job getting the existing range up to speed with
near-term relevant features like more intuitive infotainment

ILLUSTRATION: SENOR SALME

T WASN’T LONG ago that Moray Callum, Ford’s design
vice president and younger brother of Ian – the one who
runs Jaguar design – launched the latest fire-breathing V8
Mustang. But now he’s working on a project that will see
Ford launch its first autonomous vehicle by 2021. Despite a personal taste for things analogue – he’s a keen classic car collector
and tinkerer and didn’t send his first text until a few years back
– the affable Scot is palpably excited at the prospect.
‘I think the next ten years is probably going to be the most
exciting period ever in car design,’ he enthuses. ‘The whole
autonomous thing will be a real challenge. Electric vehicles
too, but the autonomous trend is the one that is really changing
our industry. I’ve done a few cars in my career, but autonomous
really is different.’

systems which could form the bedrock of
future autonomous vehicle and human
interaction. ‘We’re catching up,’ concedes
6 questions only
Callum. ‘The interface design part of our
we would ask…
job is the one that’s expanding most draTell us about your first car...
matically. We’re not just recruiting from
‘It was a Volkswagen Beetle. I
traditional car design schools anymore,
was 17 and planned to fix it but it
we’re looking at all industries, including
turned out to be an undrivable rust
film. Quite frankly I think all carmakers
bucket. My first drivable car was
are novices at this; we’re all learning how
a butcher’s old Mk1 Ford Escort
van. I remember finding maggots
to make that interface work better.’
in it, but after I’d done it up, with
Potential driver distraction from
wider five-and-a half inch wheels,
new
tech worries him though. ‘We’re
it looked great. I sold it to buy an
pummelling the public with more and
engagement ring.’
What achievement makes you
more information and there are elements
most proud?
we need to educate the customer on, like
‘Surviving. I’m very proud to be
Lane Keep Assist. We have had people
in the position I find myself in
bringing their cars back because the
now. It’s probably not something
steering wheels were shaking and they
I was looking for, but through
perseverance and luck I managed
didn’t know why. They’re all things that
to get there.’
contribute to the build-up to autonomous
What’s the best thing you’ve done
driving. But I think it will get easier as
in a car?
they get more intuitive.’
‘I drove at the Race of Gentlemen
at Wildwood Beach [New Jersey,
He’s also quick to fend off criticism
US] last year in my ’32 hot-rod. It’s a
of the Blue Oval’s ‘One Ford’ policy,
drag race on a beach. Superb.’
introduced by former CEO Alan Mulally
How did you screw up?
to rationalise the global product range
‘I’ve got a few of those stories… but
but which sometimes resulted in basic
when I was 19 I realised I wasn’t as
good a driver as a I thought I was
cars like the EcoSport designed more
when I managed to roll my father’s
for developing countries being sold into
Vauxhall Chevette into a field trying
Europe with mixed results. ‘I think we’ve
to race to Lockerbie.’
peaked with our One Ford strategy and
Supercar or classic?
‘Classic. The ’60s is my favourite
are tailoring cars a bit more now,’ he
period. I think that’s down to
reflects. ‘One Ford was the right thing
whatever you saw when you were
to do at the time, but we’re learning that
seven or eight years old. What I
we need horses for courses. If you know
saw were Jaguar E-types. A lawyer
you’re going to do a mid-size car of a
near me in Scotland had a dark
blue Series 1 coupe. I’ve got one
specific size, there’s no point doing
now too.’
different ones all around the world. But
Curveball question: do you
there might be cars for some areas that
know who designed the Ford
aren’t needed elsewhere. There are cars
Mustang Mk1?
‘Was it Joe Oros?’ (Sort of. He was
we sell in China we don’t sell anywhere
Ford’s design boss at the time, but
else for instance.’
the man behind the key sketch is
From a design perspective Callum
disputed. Gale Halderman, Philip
wants to push the Vignale versions
T Clark, John Najjar and David Ash
further too, although he stops short of
have all been given differing levels
of credit for the design, according
suggesting it could become a standalone
to whose version of history you
brand soon – like DS detaching from Citread and believe!)
roën. ‘We’re certainly designing Vignale
versions from the start [of the design
process] now which I think is helpful.
The Mondeo Vignale is a great vehicle
but as we move forward we’ll add more…’
As a Ford veteran of ten years straight
– and design VP since 2014 – he’s wellplaced to see how the brand has transformed, but where does he see it sitting in another decade’s
time, what with pressure from new tech upstarts and premium
Callum plans
to launch more
brands moving down into smaller car segments so beloved of
upmarket
Ford’s mainstream heartland?
Vignale editions.
‘I hope people will recognise Ford as a design leader, and
Mondeo Vignale
pictured
design in the true sense of the word, not styling, but bringing
usability back into design, problem-solving. That’s good
design to me, not just pretty shapes.’
GUY BIRD

CAR’S
CURVEBALLS

CONNECT 4

CONTINUATION CARS
Classic cars are worth more than new ones,
so why not make some new old ones?

Newport Pagnell, here we come
Aston Martin DB4 GT | 1959/2017
Aston is reviving the feistier, shorter, race-prepped DB4.
Continuing the original VIN numbers, the 25 track-only
specials (costing £1.5m) will again come out of Newport
Pagnell – the first Astons to be built there in 10 years.

Like a phoenix from the flames
Jaguar XKSS | 1957/2016
The E-type (see below) went so well, Jag’s doing the
timewarp again with XKSS. Only 16 were originally built
because fire gutted the Browns Lane factory. Nearly 60
years later, Jaguar’s completing the final nine cars.

It ll make you knobbly at the knees
Lister Knobbly | 1958/2014
Built using the same jigs as the original ’50s racecars,
the continuation Listers offer similar fire-breathing
performance with a choice of 4.6 V8 or 3.8 Jag engines. So
authentic they’re eligible for FIA historic racing.

A bunch of (six) Lightweights
Jaguar Lightweight E-type | 1963/2014
A painstaking recreation of the original Ferrari GTO-battling
racer complete the six ‘missing’ cars from the planned
production run. Not original enough for Lord March, though,
who won’t allow these cars to race at Goodwood.
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

17

Rolling out the red carpet
Stars of the LA motor show
Mid-sized SUVs from Jeep and Mazda, a Golf to vanquish dieselgate, and possibly the best
Lamborghini money can buy. They all vied for attention at the 2017 LA show. By Ben Miller

VW e-Golf
Want an electric car with a familiar
face to sugar-coat the weirdness?
That’ll be the e-Golf. The uprated
all-electric hatch uses a juicier
battery with 35.8 kWh, up from
24.2 kWh. The range increases to a
claimed 186 miles, with a charge time
of one hour to 80% capacity on a
public 40kW charger and a wallbox
charge to 100% in under six hours.

The uprated battery and motor
also make the e-Golf perkier off the
line, with 0-62mph in 9.6sec (down
0.8sec) and a V-max of 93mph (up
6mph). The new e-Golf also enjoys
all that comes with the 2017 update:
tweaked styling, configurable Active
Info Display, semi-autonomous
capability to 36mph and Discover
Pro with gesture control.

NEED TO KNOW

Jeep Compass
Mid-size SUVs sell like Lego in
December, a fact FCA is acutely
aware of following the success of
the Fiat 500X-based Renegade.
So in comes Compass, again on
FCA’s small-wide platform, to slide
between Renegade and Cherokee
when it lands here in early 2018. In
the US the Compass arrives soon
in four trim levels: Sport, Latitude,
Trailhawk (towing eyes, underbody

protection) and flagship Limited. The
Trailhawk should make it to the UK
and promises dirt capability to make
a 500X weep thanks to extra ground
clearance and Land Rover-aping
hill-descent- and terrain-response
electronics. Equipment more likely
to see regular use is the (optional)
panoramic roof and the Uconnect
touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/
Android Auto.

> What is it? The electric car you can buy without also having to join the cult of
Musk and treat your own sewage > Engine Front-mounted e-motor (no dual-motor
all-wheel drive here) now throbs with 214lb ft and 132bhp > Aimed at Very sensible
>

NEED TO KNOW
> What is it? Jeep’s biggest seller in-waiting > Engine and performance? Two
diesels and a 1.4-litre petrol powering combinations of auto and manual ’boxes
and front- or all-wheel drive > Aimed at Rugged individualists in PR
> On sale
e Spring 2018

Mazda CX-5
Producing a good-looking SUV isn’t
easy, just ask Bentley. So Mazda’s
pretty, almost lithe CX-5 stands
apart as a practical, capable 4x4
that won’t offend your eyes. The
second-gen car doesn’t mess
with the exterior much, choosing
instead to tweak dimensions for
extra presence and space (it’s 10mm
longer, 15mm lower and 10mm

broader). The face is defined by
narrower, neater headlamps but the
overall form is familiar. Inside there’s
a new high-definition infotainment
screen and a head-up display. The
CX-5 also gets G-Vectoring Control,
which imperceptibly cuts and then
re-introduces the engine’s power
and torque for lighter, more positive
steering and increased agility.

NEED TO KNOW

Lamborghini Huracan RWD Spyder
California is one of the world’s
biggest convertible markets, hence
Lambo’s customer preview of the
open-top, rear-drive Huracan. The
RWD Coupe (previously known as
LP580-2) has been busy obliterating
any reservations about Lamborghini’s
V10 supercar. Freed of driveshafts
that neutered front-end response
and textured the steering with drive-

related tugging, the RWD Huracan is
everything you want a Lambo to be:
pure, responsive and all-consuming.
It also suffers not a jot for its lower
price, detuned engine and marginally
inferior performance versus its AWD
sibling. The RWD Spyder is 34kg
lighter than the AWD Spyder and
shares the same light and handsome
soft-top that stashes in 17 seconds.

NEED TO KNOW
> What is it? The hedonist’s Huracan > Engine and performance? A naturally
aspirated 5.2-litre V10 good for 573bhp, 0-62mph in 3.6sec and 199mph. At
around £170k, it’ll be some £18k more than the fabulous RWD coupe
> Aimed at Not-shy thrill seekers with plenty of disposable > On sale
e January 2017

18

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

> What is it? A tweaked cash cow buffed to tackle Honda’s revised CR-V
> Engine and performance? A 2.0-litre SkyActiv-G petrol engine and a 2.2-litre
four-cylinder turbodiesel > Aimed at Aesthetes sold on the irrefutable good sense
>

PURE SUPERCAR
LOTUS EVORA SPORT 410

BALLYROBERTS

HEXAGON LOTUS

MURRAY LOTUS

STRATTON MOTOR COMPANY

Belfast, BT36 4X5

North London, N2 0NL

Edinburgh, EH11 4DJ

Norfolk, NR15 2XJ

BELL & COLVILL (HORSLEY) LTD

HOWARDS LOTUS

NEWTOWN LOTUS

WESTOVER SPORTS CARS

Surrey, KT24 6DG

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Gwent, NP44 1QX

Dorset, BH15 1JF

CASTLE LOTUS

HOFMANNS

OAKMERE LOTUS

WILLIAMS LOTUS

Stansted, CM23 5PJ

Oxfordshire, RG9 1HG

Cheshire, CW9 7NA

Bristol, BS37 6QG

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SNOWS LOTUS HEDGE END

Nottingham, NG2 4DP

Leeds, LS19 7DA

Southampton, SO30 2RA

DAVID HAYTON LOTUS

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STONEACRE LOTUS

Carlisle, CA3 0EW

Northamptonshire, NN12 8TN

Durham, DH7 8AB

W AT C H E S

Oris Divers
Sixty-Five £1300

Synchronise
your wardrobes
This trio of watches all stand out from the crowd.
Just make sure your clothes can stand them too

T

HIS COLUMN sees watches as tiny mechanical miracles, not fashion items. But very occasionally we have to
acknowledge that you (usually) wear your watch with
clothes, and while you should never, ever take fashion
advice from a motoring journalist, you have to consider how a new
watch will look with what you usually wear. A black-dialled stainless-steel watch goes with everything. These three brightly hued
new arrivals do not: but that might be exactly why you like them…
BEN OLIVER @thebenoliver

Breitling Navitimer
GMT Aurora Blue

Green is an oddly popular
colour for watches:
collectors fight over
versions of the Rolex
Submariner and Milgauss
with green dials and
green-tinged crystals. Oris
now also offers a proper
Swiss-made automatic
divers’ watch in green, but
at a fraction of the cost.
The retro-styled SixtyFive is inspired by Oris’s
original divers’ watch
from, you guessed it. It
also comes in blue, and
like the Breitling you can
tone it down with a steel
bracelet or a ‘distressed’
vintage leather strap.

TAG Heuer Formula
One Max Verstappen
Youngest Grand
Prix Winner Special
Edition

NEW CAR DEBRIEF > 2017 VW GOLF GTI

1

You look
different, Golf
GTI. Have you
done something
with your hair?
It’s facelift time for
the Mk7 Golf, and
in turn an overhaul
for the GTI. The gofaster Golf’s now
even punchier, with
a 10bhp power hike
and bigger-bore
exhausts. It looks
a bit fussier too,
with red hockey
stick ‘winglets’
encircling its dual
LED headlights.

20 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

2

Will there
still be a
go-even-faster
Performance Pack
version?
There will. The
regular facelifted
GTI now turns
out 227bhp, the
same output as
the old pre-facelift
Performance Pack
version. Equip
the new GTI with
the PP and power
climbs to a useful
242bhp, along with
bigger brakes and a
limited-slip diff.

3

What about
tech? Any
clever new
toys to play with?
Gesture control
– pick the top
touchscreen option
(now an Odeonspec 9.2in), and you
can swipe through
radio stations and
phone contacts
by dismissively
waving your hand
in front of the dash.
Animated digital
instruments, as per
Passat/TT, make an
appearance too.

4

Anything else?
And when can
I buy one?
The facelift also
gives the Golf selfdriving powers with
‘Traffic Jam Assist’
automatically
braking, pulling
away, and keeping
to its lane at up
to 37mph. The
renewed Golf range
should be available
in the UK from April,
a modest price
increase likely.
Expect circa £28k
for the Golf GTI.

WE ARE GINETTA

The innovations transforming our driving world

Autonomy in the UK
Never mind the driving… because your car will soon be doing
it for you. Phil McNamara reports on the government’s vision
– and the trials making an autonomous future reality

A45

M42

A46

s
M40

22

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Connected cars will talk
to each other and key
infrastructure, reducing
shunts and congestion

B

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

23

ILLUSTRATION: AERIFORM, GOOGLE MAPS

RITAIN’S AUTONOMOUS CAR
transformation will gather pace in
2017. If you’re driving around Coventry next year, your car could be running side-by-side with connected cars capable
of ‘sensing’ hazards hidden around corners,
reacting with autonomous braking. On Midlands test tracks, self-driving vehicles will experiment with automated intersection co-ordination, while a handful of driverless pods
will prowl downtown Milton Keynes, as they
continue testing ahead of starting to ferry the
public in 2018.
The government is pumping £27.1m into
two UK trials, in a bid to position the UK at
the vanguard of the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) revolution. British regulations allow car makers to test self-driving
cars on any roads, so long as they follow a code
of practice ensuring an engineer is always
poised to retake control. Civil servants will
regularly update the Highway Code to include
guidance on the latest autonomous features,
and compulsory motor insurance will be extended to cover product liability when cars
with autonomous motorway capability –
Teslas, BMW’s latest 7-series – are in control.
‘Over the next few years, advances in CAV
technologies will have a profound effect on
our transport system: fewer crashes; freedom
to travel to those who currently find that difficult; safer, smoother and swifter transport
networks; and new, high-value jobs in the tech
and autos sectors. Those are big prizes,’ says
Anna Soubry MP, business and enterprise
minister. The government expects the fastest
roll-out in three areas: automated highway
driving, remote-control parking, and running
HGVs in connected platoons to save fuel.
Jaguar Land Rover is at the heart of two key
UK trials, and is investing heavily in CAVs.
The first trial – UK Cite (Connected Intelligent Transport Environment) – majors on the
benefits of connecting cars with each other
and road infrastructure, to reduce congestion,
improve safety and disseminate information.
On a 41-mile loop running out of Coventry,
engineers are installing roadside equipment
to enable communication from vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (overhead
gantries, traffic lights). A 100-car fleet, including Jags and Land Rovers, will stress-test
linking technologies from Dedicated Short
Range Communications to mobile and Wi-Fi
networks for reliability and suitability. After
30 months, the consortium and government
expect to have amassed the data to shape tomorrow’s connected road infrastructure.

JLR is also a key player in UK Autodrive,
a £20m project to assess autonomous vehicles in the urban environments of Milton
Keynes and Coventry. One of the project’s
key goals is to create technologies and protocols that work across different makes of
car, and even varying types of transport.
‘It’s the communication across manufacturers, and looking at the implementation
of [connected and autonomous] functions
and features, that’s the important thing,’
says JLR research senior manager Chris
Holmes. Ford, Tata and JLR are all involved,
and connected their very different cars for a
proving ground demonstration. A Tata Tiago drove at the head of the multi-brand convoy connected by DSRC, with the supermini
obscured to the third-placed Mondeo by the
hulking F-Pace. The Tiago hit the brakes,
with an in-car alert instantly warning the
Mondeo’s driver about the hidden hazard,
enabling him to react. Such capabilities
would be hugely beneficial in thick fog.
The trials will move from the test track to
closed public roads in late 2017: smoothing
the interaction of cars at complicated junctions is a priority area. Meanwhile, UK
Autodrive member RDM has demonstrated
a self-driving electric pod, on pavements in
downtown Milton Keynes. Using cameras,
radar and laser scanners, the pod can see
and avoid pedestrians as it drives at up to
15mph. The next step is to get four or five of
them interacting on the streets next spring,
with up to 40 in use by 2018, booked and
accessed by the public with smartphones.
‘We’ll be demonstrating some of the autonomous functionality of parking next
year,’ says JLR’s Holmes. ‘And in Autodrive’s latter stages, we’d like to put together
connected and autonomous cars with multi-pod operation in an urban centre: then
you’ve got something that offers car drivers
a much better experience.’ Seamless
pre-booking of a connected parking space
and an onward journey to your final destination by pod? Now that’s a vision of the
urban future that everyone can buy into.

You’ll be able to hitch a ride through Milto
Keynes in an autonomous pod come 2018

24

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Does it work?

Tata Tiago: like
greased lightning
away from lights

Talking traffic lights

R

ALLY CO-DRIVERS HAVE admirable
skills, but I’d like to see one get me
through the Euston Road’s endless
traffic lights ‘flat’, without having to
stop once. The UK Autodrive project might just
have the answer: traffic lights that tell cars how
fast you need to drive to catch the green cycle.
It’s all due to V2X: not a youthful text sign-off,
but shorthand for vehicle-to-infrastructure
communications. As part of the UK Autodrive
project (see main story), Tata Motors has
demonstrated a Tiago supermini that can
communicate with a connected traffic light, in
a bid to keep traffic flowing.
In the trial, the traffic light’s location and
phasing is broadcast up to a kilometre away via
Dedicated Short Range Communications. A
receiver in the car monitors signals, and when
it’s within 500m, warns there’s a traffic light
ahead. Software then calculates the optimum
speed to approach the light, presenting it as
a green band on a digital speedo. It makes it
simple for the driver – keep within the band,
and you’ll pass through the light on green.
Clearly the faster you drive, the higher up the
green band you’ll be, and the more margin for
error you’ll have in reaching the light. Red rag
for speeders to avoid a red light? Nope: using
GPS (or a car’s speed limit recognition system),
the car should know what speed is legal, so

your digital co-driver doesn’t advise you to
break the law.
If you can’t get to that green light in time, the
system will coach you to lift off the accelerator,
saving fuel, and try to get you there as the red
light changes – unless you’d be crawling too
slowly. Jeffrey Archer will be a relieved man.
Jaguar and Ford also demonstrated cars that
worked with the Green Light Optimal Speed
Advisory system, but Tata Motors sees a clear
benefit for its home market: keeping India’s
megacities on the move would provide a huge
boon for cutting congestion and emissions.

PHIL McNAMARA

@CARPhilMc

DID IT WORK?
You bet! The beauty of Tata’s system
is its simplicity: the digital display is
so easy to understand – stay in the
green band for a green light – and
the hardware is commonplace and
affordable. Ford reckons it could
cut fuel consumption by 16% –
and Eurocrats believe it could be
available in 2019. Bring it on!

HOW TO GET THE GREEN LIGHT

1

2

3

CHEAP TRICK
For car-to-lights comms,
the Tiago requires a roof
antenna, GPS receiver and the
computing power to calculate
its closing speed to lights
and relay it on a screen

GREEN FOR GO
You get a warning of an
upcoming light as you
approach: simply check
the digital speedo, and stay
within the green band to pass
through before it turns red

TRAFFIC LIGHT GRAND PRIX
If you do get stuck at a light,
the system counts down the
seconds until the sequence
changes. Get ready by dialling
in 4000rpm and you’ll dust a
911 – in your three-pot Tata

Rich and
d brave?
Step this way
NIO’s EP9 is so extreme you need training and
a heart-rate monitor to drive it. By Ian Adcock

I

TS STATISTICS STACK
K up like a winning Top Trumps
card: 1341bhp; 7.1sec 0-124mph; 194mph, 2.4 tonnes of
downforce at 149mph; potential peak loads of 2.5g during
cornering and 3.3g under braking. Price? Each costs an eye-watering £970,000 to build – what the six customers who’ve commissioned one will pay hasn’t been revealed. And they’ll need
training to drive the thing. Welcome to the surreal world of the
EP9, an EV supercar from new marque NIO.
‘Customers will undergo training and a medical prior to having the car demonstrated to them by a racing driver on a series
of circuits next year,’ says senior design director David Hilton.
Wearable blood pressure and heart-rate monitors will keep on
eye on you as you try to get to grips with a car NIO claims ha
already done a 7min 5.12sec ’Ring tim

F1-SPEC AERODYNAMICS
Aero
with two UK-based consultancies specialising in computational
fluid dynamics to develop the overall shape, rather than honing it in
a wind tunnel. The adjustable front splitter and rear spoiler (which
deploys automatically above 18mph) generate twice the downforce
of an F1 car. Those huge intakes in the rear quarters feed air into the
electric motors and rear brakes; cooling air for the front brakes is
ducted through lower vents. Race car-style venturis also run the full
length
e gt of
o the
t e underfloor
u de oo for
o added ae
aerodynamic
ody a c g
grip.
p.
26 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

A TWO-SEAT FORMULA E RACER
The carbonfibre tub is laid-up and
assembled by the same team building the
NextEV Formula E monocoque. Design
director Hilton describes it as a ‘two-seater
version’ of that racer, built to meet LMP1
standards. ‘We designed th
r
inside o

MENSA SUSPENSION
Each wheel is independently damped.
Each electro-hydraulic shock absorber has
its own ECU capable of 200 calculations
a second; the driver also has a variety of
settings that can be dialled in from the
cockpit. 16-inch carbon discs with six-piston
calipers are tasked with bringing the 1735kg
ca to a halt.
car
a t.

TRICK POWERTRAIN
A battery of lithium io
fb

The fun will only last
10 minutes in Race
mode. But what a 10
minutes…

JENS
THIEMER

The next big things
Mercedes-Benz’s futurologist
Jens Thiemer is responsible for launching Merc’s EQ,
Stuttgart’s take on arch rival BMW’s Project i
> EQ IS our first electric car for the new generation of clean-fuel
Mercedes-Benz cars.
> WITHIN FIVE years we’ll have a whole family of EVs. By 2025, 1525% of the Mercedes range will be fully electric. Add in PHEVs [plugin hybrid electric vehicles], and they’ll make up 50% of our range.
> THESE NEW cars are purpose-designed; they will not be existing cars. Our
concept car at the Paris motor show was called Generation EQ because we wanted
to say it’s a whole family coming.
> THE MODEL you see here is very close to our first electric production car. You
will see it in late 2018 and the price will be comparable to a top-end GLC.
> WHY DO a mid-sized SUV first? Because this is one of the biggest segments in
the world. It’s the type of car modern motorists want.
> THERE ARE four megatrends disrupting our industry. We call them CASE:
Connectivity, Autonomous driving, the Sharing economy and Electrification.

FRESH THINKING: the self-loading wheelchair
Ford eChair does the heavy lifting for disabled drivers
Sounds clever…
It does. The eChair is an
autonomous lightweight
electric wheelchair that
removes the hassle from
getting in to and out of
cars for disabled drivers.
It moves itself, it loads
itself… It’s an ingenious
concept worked up by Ford
engineers Gunther Cuypers,
Robin Celis and David
Longin, one of 600 ideas
submitted for Ford’s Last
Mile Mobility Challenge.
26

How does it work?
? When
the driver gets out of their
wheelchair and into the
car, they push a button on
the vehicle’s touchscreen
or smartphone app. The
car and the wheelchair
communicate, car
suggesting wheelchair gets
its lightweight electric arse
to the tailgate pronto. A
platform motors down from
the car to meet it, picks it
up, and stows the eChair
away neatly in the boot.

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

What happens when you
finish your journey?
? They’ve
thought of that too, clever
blighters. It’s the same
process in reverse: press a
button and soon after th
eChair arrives next to
driver’s door like a
spaniel with the
Can I buy one?
concept for n
But come on
disabled driv
an autonom
wheelchair?

Understated concept
previews silent-running,
mid-size SUV that will
launch Merc’s EQ age

The challenges are the same for all car
makers.
> WE ARE respo
onding fast. We already
have partly au
utonomous driving in
many of our ccars. But you’ll see us
respond to CA
ASE much, much more
in the future. Itt will revolutionise our
world.
> BMW i is aan interesting project:
having
h
i
a d
dedicated
di
brand for your
electric cars gives you more focus and
allows you to speak to more people who
might not have been interested in your
existing brand.
> PEOPLE WILL still want differentiation in the new era. In fact, the brand
will be even more important in the
bold new digital-first era.
> WE HAVE to bring something new to market. And we have
to electrify the design too. We think the front end of the EQ is
a very strong signal of our intent.
> MERCEDES-BENZ SEES the end of car ownership
among people in metropolitan parts of the world. They want
to rent vehicles by the kilometre instead. Distribution will be
different too. We will not exclude our dealers, but there will
be a proportion of online sales.
> THE CAR of tomorrow becomes the digital device. Our
services must be completely integrated with it. People must
be able to borrow a Mercedes for specific journeys very easily,
booked through their smartphone.
> UBER IS a classic disruptor. We think of them as the
frenemy.
> IT WILL take us two to three years to establish the EQ
brand. But this process is already underway. We will have 10
PHEVs on sale by the end of 2017.
> WHAT OF hydrogen? We are still developing fuel-cell
technology. It’s just another type of electric car, don’t forget.
> EVERYTHING IS changing at present. We have to be bold.
We must not be like a big oil tanker. We must move quickly.
INTERVIEW BY TIM POLLARD
@TimPollardCars

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brake fluid & oil resistant

concours winning finish
best in class for durability

01733 390777
f: 01733 390778
t:

e: info@paintshield.co.uk
w: www.paintshield.co.uk

12 cars tested, starring Lexus LC, Lotus Exige Sport 380,
Mercedes-AMG E63 S, Renault Twingo GT, Skoda Kodiaq
LEXUS LC500

Lexus gets a clean
sheet of origami
The Lexus LC’s super-sharp design hides clean-sheet
underpinnings destined for all future Lexus models. They
really don’t want to mess this up… By Phil McNamara

28

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

F

LC500 has all-new
rear-drive platform,
naturally-aspirated
V8 and styling
sharper than a
samurai shoehorn

ORGET EVERYTHING you know
about Lexus. It’s easily done as the
LC500, the company’s new V8-powered 2+2 coupe, blips its throttle with
a lycanthropic howl, as you lift to
slow for a corner and the 10-speed automatic
transmission downshifts, keeping the engine
bang in its mid-range sweet spot. Line up the
delicate steering – light-ish, precise – to carve
yet another sweeping curve in Spain’s verdant
Huelvan foothills. Press the throttle and start
amping up the torque to the rear axle, which on
range-topping Sports+ models features rearwheel steering and a limited-slip differential.
The LC feels distinctly rear-driven, feeding the
power to the outer wheel to pivot the car into
a bend. The revs climb, the red-tinged digital
speedo flickers past 90, 100, 120kph, the lateral
loads are harsh but the multi-link rear suspension brushes off a bumpy camber change:
this new GA-L chassis, to underpin all future
Lexus models, is sweetly balanced and damn
stable. And so to the straight: more throttle, the
V8 roar building, more intense speed. There’s
some of the spirit of the V10-powered LFA
supercar in this Lexus, you know.
The intent with the LC, and its 500h hybrid
sibling, comes from the top down. Akio Toyoda, inveterate racer and company scion, has
taken Lexus under his wing, vowing to make
its cars more exciting to drive, more extraordinary to look at. It all starts with the Global
Architecture-Luxury platform, and the LC.
The engine is pushed back in the nose to a
front/mid position, the wheels pulled forward,
to get as much mass as possible between the
axles. Lexus claims a 52:48 weight distribution
front/rear. The centre of gravity is as low as a
Porsche Cayman’s, thanks to the targeted use
of materials such as a carbonfibre roof; Lexus
claims body rigidity is best-in-class.
It’s obvious how low the LC stands when
you abseil down into the seats: your hip-point
is a mere 200mm higher than your heel. You’re
surrounded by more sweeps than Victorian
London: the door cards are markedly concave,
and covered in draped material, the dash fascia
curves and twists around your passenger. But
all the buttons that VW Group has ditched
with its new touchscreens appear to have been
foisted upon Lexus, confusingly.
The suspension is a thing of beauty, particularly up front: it’s witchcraft how they packaged
double wishbones, standard adaptive damping
and aluminium shock towers beneath such
dramatically low front wings. The suspension
is ultra-stiff, to deliver the steering precision
and stability that’s apparent on the road.
In true Lexus style, the engineers have
ladled tech into the GA-L cradle. The naturally
aspirated, 5.0-litre V8 is linked to the world’s
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

29

first 10-speed automatic transmission. If you
worry that the auto mode will indulge in an
incessant game of hunt the ratio, fear
not. Second-, third-, fourth- and fifth
U P AG A I N S T
gears are shorter and more evenly
spaced than in the old eight-speed
BETTER THAN
BMW 6-series
’box, so you can enjoy the sound
Way more personality than ageing GT
and fury of a burst of acceleration, then change up and do it
WORSE THAN
Porsche 911
all over again. It becomes even
Though you can’t buy a hybrid 911…
more engaging when you select
manual mode, and pull the padWE’D BUY
Lexus LC500
dles to self-shift: the changes feel
There’s no finer
as rapid-fire as a dual-clutch ’box’s.
techy GT
The LC500h’s new, multi-stage
hybrid system was a fleeting 11 years
in development. Stung by criticism of the
infinite gearing – the CVT effect – of the electric motor/generator units combined with the
planetary gearset, plus the added damnation
of its accompanying mooing, the engineers
have grafted on a four-speed transmission to
create a distinct shift pattern for the V6 hybrid
drivetrain. The CVT now has three stepped
ratios, which in turn are multiplied by the auto
box’s first three gears, to effectively create nine
selectable ratios. Add an overdrive for highway
cruising, and you have a 10-speed transmission.
The first three ratios also deliver maximum
engine revs at much lower road speeds than the
GS450h’s hybrid system, yielding a far broader,
more usable wedge of power. Lexus says the
combined output of the 3.5-litre V6 and electric
motor is 354bhp, and that the hybrid can crack
standstill to 60mph in 4.7sec. That’s just threetenths behind the 470bhp V8’s time, despite
lugging an extra 50kg. One of the ways Lexus
Built on an all-new
has mitigated the hybrid system’s additional
platform, LC is
made from a mix
weight is by dropping nickel-metal hydride
of steel, aluminium
for a 310-volt lithium-ion battery, smaller in
and carbon fibre.
size but said to be superior at harvesting and
It’s a great drive
deploying its energy.
On the road, it feels like the Lexus hybrid
has gone through puberty. The bovine groan
under acceleration remains, but it’s more bassy
Lexus LC500 Sports+
> Price
e £90,000 (est) > Engine
e 4969cc 32v V8,
and encouraging, and typically preceded by
470bhp @ 7100rpm, 398lb ft @ 4800rpm
an electric motor whine, much like when you
> Transmission 10-speed automatic, rear-wheel
lift and the brakes harvest energy. The 500h’s
e 5.0sec 0-62mph, 168mph,
drive > Performance
n/a mpg, n/a g/km CO2 > Weightt 1860kg
power delivery reminds me of a high-pressure
> On sale
e September 2017
turbocharged four-pot: throttle response isn’t

Interior honed by Lexus’ Takumi craftsmen, features
alcantara, chunky stitching and magnesium shifters

30 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

similarly spaced, somewhat artificial-feeling
shifts, a bit like changing gear in a video game.
But the much decried rubber band effect is
successfully mitigated, mostly.
The 500h exhibits the same composed chassis balance as the V8. It’s as stable under hard
braking, though the hybrid doesn’t require the
weeks of leg-press training that the petrol’s
instant, but once it gets spinning it summons firm pedal demands. The 500h’s steering feels
a satisfying punch. But the key thing is that lighter and more numb, and its ride quality is
not as impressively supple. While
Lexus wants to add performance
Lexus may be positioning the LC
to the hybrid’s eco credentials. At
as a fresh start, the trademark
this prototype stage six months
LOVE
refinement lives on. At motorway
before production, the only fuel
Styling, thrilling V8
drivetrain, chassis
speeds, the cockpit is incredibly
consumption guide is a 30-50%
balance
serene, the faintest interference
improvement over a blown V6.
being a trace of wind noise.
The hybrid’s stepped transmisHATE
Not so much; hybrid
All in all, the LC is a successful
sion is at times successful: overtaktransmission still a
Lexus reboot. The 500h is Lexus’s
ing a truck on the city limits from
little artificial
best hybrid yet. But the V8-powlow speed, using manual changes
VERDICT
ered 500 is the best LC that money
to rev through second, third and
Lexus just got serious
can buy.
fourth, felt pretty natural. At high+++++
er speeds it can serve up a series of
PHIL McNAMARA @CARPhilMc

FORD KUGA ST-LINE

Big cat gently
sharpens claws

T

HE NEW TRAPEZOIDAL grille
Ford has punished the Kuga with
certainly makes it a more distinctive
proposition, and we guess that’s
better than looking like someone inflated a
Focus with a high-pressure air-hose.
Following its facelift, this ugly mug now
slots neatly between the mediocre Ecosport
– a car that somehow disregards all of the
endearing qualities of the Fiesta it’s based
on – and the more-Amercian-than-meatloaf
Edge.
But more interesting than that is the latest
trim on offer: ST-Line. Ford’s stopped short
of offering an actual performance version of
an already accomplished crossover, but this
warmed-up effort isn’t without merit.
One turn of the Focus-donated ‘wheel
and you’ll notice the steering’s had work.
A software reshuffle has the Kuga feeling
dartier than Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, and that
complements beefed-up anti-roll bars thicker
by 25% up front and 38% at the rear, and a
drop in ride height thanks to shorter springs
and retuned dampers. It’s firmer, but more
fun too, and makes the sculpted ST-Line seats
a meaningful addition.
Frankly, this all feels a bit weird in a
relatively tall family car, but that isn’t to say it’s
at all unappealing.
The driveline we’re testing is, however.
The 1.5-litre turbo petrol is great, but the
torque-convertor slushbox is forever waiting
for the planetary gearset to wake up and send
twist to the wheels. It’s a shame because the
manual is a fine thing, and so’s the twin-clutch
Powershift available elsewhere in the range.
If you’re after a sporting SUV, then, pick the
ST-Line. Just be sure to pick the right ’box.
GARETH EVANS @GarethEvansUK

ST-Line as close as you’ll get to a
performance Kuga. Warm, not hot

Ford Kuga ST-Line
> Price
e £30,180 > Engine 1498cc 16v 4-cyl
turbo, 180bhp @ 6000rpm, 177lb ft @ 16005000rpm > Transmission Six-speed auto,
all-wheel drive > Performance 10.1 seconds
0-62mph, 124mph, 37.7mpg, 173g/km CO2
e Now
> Weightt 1686kg > On sale
> Rating +++ + +
VERDICT: Mildly wild fugly family fun

LOTUS EXIGE SPORT 380

Even your wallet gets lighter
Ultimate Exige is lighter, faster and better… at a cost

I

T’S ONLY A year since the Lotus Exige morphed into the
lighter, faster Exige Sport 350 but the Sport 380 takes another
Nomex-booted stride forwards. As the name suggests, power’s
up by 30bhp but bigger wins come from added aero and subtracted weight. Those vicious-looking double canards protruding
from the Exige’s cheekbones, together with other spoilers, spats and
splitters, conjure 60% more downforce than the Sport 350 at top speed.
Plenty of carbonfibre, with spidery forged wheels, paper-thin racing seats and various other shavings, cut
a net 15kg from the kerb. Lightweight options include
Lotus Exige Sport 380
carbonfibre roof and tailgate, and a titanium exhaust.
e £67,900 > Engine
> Price
At Hethel’s test circuit, super-handy chassis engi3456cc 24v V6 supercharged,
neer Gavan Kershaw can get the 380 around a lap a full
375bhp @ 6700rpm, 302lb ft @
5000rpm > Transmission Six2.5sec faster than the 350. Most manufacturers allow
speed manual, rear-wheel drive
a handful of laps behind a pace car; it says everything
> Performance
e 3.7sec 0-62mph,
about Lotus that Kershaw tossed me the keys, showed
178mph, 28mpg, 242g/km CO2
> Weightt 1110kg > On sale
e Now
me how to switch the stability control off, and told me
the track was mine for 45 minutes. The brake pedal
didn’t go soft, the tyres didn’t overheat, and the Exige
felt as fit and strong at the end as it did on lap one. Few
cars have that kind of stamina. It’s a predictably spellbinding thing to drive, with surprisingly benign handling for a mid-engined car, superb brakes (borrowed
from the 3-Eleven) and, with the optional titanium
exhaust, quite a soundtrack. It sounds angryy. ‘It’s a
car you just want to drive fastt, isn’t it?’ grins Kershaw.
‘You don’t necessarily want to drift it, just go quickly…’
Which sums it up quite nicely.
On the road, behind the bowled windscreen and
wriggly unassisted wheel, the sense of occasion (and performance) is immense, but for Exige 380 is 2.5sec
such a focused machine it’s actually relatively faster around Lotus’
test track
LOVE
amicable, if noisy, transport. One with a sup- 2.2-mile
than even the 350.
Sound, handling,
ple ride too, more so than the outwardly less And it’ll do it all day
on-road manners,
extreme Evora 410 in fact.
on-track excitement
Yes, £67,900 is Quite A Lot of money. But
HATE
the Exige is easier to live with than naked
Fussier looks, road
track cars from Ariel et all, and the 911 GT3
noise, gearshift can
be tricky on track
RS you’d need to go as quickly is nearly twice
the price (and sold out). Think of the 380 as
VERDICT
More focussing than
a budget McLaren 675LT (albeit with a nicer
a quadruple shot of
exhaust note), and it sounds vaguely like
espresso
good value.
+++ + +
JAMES TAYLOR @JamesTaylor_5
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

31

Multi-function
widescreen and
Nappa leather dash
standard on E63 S

MERCEDES-AMG E63 S

The E63 went thataway, M5
More power, more torque and all-wheel drive traction too…
Merc’s E63 S will have its German rivals choking on dust

F

RIENDS WOULD LAUGH at you
and talk behind your back, wondering why you’d denied yourself the
clever electronic rear differential
and magnetic active engine mounts.
Those alone would mean you’d never be able to
show face in public again, but if you opt for the
non-S version of AMG’s new E63 then you’d
also have to settle for just 563bhp and a meagre
553lb ft of torque. So the E63 S it is then, its
603bhp and 627lb ft far more satisfying, the
standard E63’s 3.5-second 0-62mph time so
embarrassing slovenly the company didn’t
even bring one along to the launch. The E63 S
knocks a tenth off that 0-62mph, and adds a,
as yet undisclosed, bump in price. Oh, and the
ability to be seen in public driving it.
You might though, have some explaining to

For the first time, every E63 is all-wheel drive. But
press some buttons and it’s rear-drive only. Clever

|

do about the E63’s shift to all-wheel drive, the
E63 S able to have as much as 50% of its drive at
the front axle. On the manliness-quota that’s
surely some points lost, so you’d best roll out
AMG boss Tobias Moers’ line about the advantages it brings outweighing the disadvantages when dealing with such sizeable outputs.
Should that not work then tell everyone that
your start-up routine involves pulling both
gearshift paddles behind the chunky, flat-bottomed steering wheel together, then stabbing
at the right one to confirm you want Drift
Mode. Do that and the AMG Performance
4Matic+ system disengages drive forwards of
the new rapid-shifting nine-speed automatic
transmission. Obviously you’ll already be in
one of the more extreme modes in Dynamic
Select that allows you to do this, and have the
number of a friendly tyre fitter on speed dial.
With its heady power output now in the
realms of where tuners used to take E-classes,
it’s no surprise that the E63 S is
lunatic quick. There’s nothing
among its rivals that’ll keep
up, not even a fully optioned
Porsche Panamera Turbo. The
BMW M5? It’ll be left behind
in a cloud of can’t keep-up tyre
smoke. There’s even a quarter-mile timer, all manner of
lap timers and track aids within the massive double-screened
instrumentation to allow you
to shave seconds off your lap
time at the Grüne Hölle.

E63 S packs
603bhp/627lb
ft V8 power.
Chunky

The reality is you’ll more likely to be popping
out to Waitrose in it for parmesan shavings,
so among the AMG-specific kit is all the
autonomy functions that a standard E-class
delivers, too. As Oliver Wiech, director vehicle
development, Mercedes-AMG GmbH, points
out, the remit for the E63 is broader than that
of any other model, simply because customer
expectations of what it should deliver are so
incredibly disparate.
So here’s a luxury saloon that needs to be a
Mercedes-AMG E63 S 4Matic+
> Price
e TBC > Engine
e 3982cc bi-turbo V8
603bhp @ 5750-6500rpm, 627lb ft @ 25004500rpm > Transmission Nine-speed wetclutch automatic, all-wheel drive
> Suspension Four-link front, multi-link rear
with air suspension and adaptive dampers
> Performance
e 3.4sec 0-62mph, 155mph
(limited, 186mph with optional AMG Driver’s
Package), 30.7mpg, 203g/km CO2
> Weightt 1880kg > On sale
e Summer 2017

Hear that? Twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 still sounds like
thunder down a drainpipe. Take note M Division

hardcore track car, for the 0.1% of buyers that’ll
use it as such. Thing is, dial up Race Mode and
the E63 S is exactly that, managing to hurl its
near two-tonne mass around Portugal’s testing
Portimao circuit with enough authority to
ensure that multi-championship winning
DTM driver and all-round lovely man Bernd
Schneider out front in a GT S isn’t having a
holiday. The E’s got more power than the GT S,
thanks to the 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8’s adoption
of twin-scroll turbochargers in the engine’s
vee, revised internals and a new intake system.
They’ve done nothing to mute the V8’s glori-

ously guttural tone, which, when the exhaust’s consistency of the weighting of the steering,
sport button is pressed, is intense enough to the front axle’s keenness to turn in and some
have you consider sticking numbers and your actual feel at the wheel’s chunky rim. There’s
plenty of traction too, that 4Matic+ helping
name and nationality on it and going racing.
The track is flattering though, wide enough here, without being obvious while doing so.
Add the carbon-ceramic stoppers if your
to hide failings if still revealing some. There’s
a bit of push-on understeer if you’re ambitious commute involves a mountain pass, but
with your entry speed on hot tyres, but this sort otherwise the standard steel ones will do just
fine. Likewise, dial up Comfort
of stuff really isn’t relevant. What
and you get exactly that, the E63
is though is how the E63 S uses all
S doing a good impression of a
its performance on the road. EffecLOVE
luxury saloon as well as a racer.
tively is the short answer, the E63 S
Power, chassis,
power
It’s revelatory stuff from AMG’s
exhibiting a chassis sophistication
E. The company promised that its
that’s as deeply impressive as it is
HATE
version of Mercedes-Benz’s most
surprising. The standard Air Body
Not here until
summer 2017;
intelligent saloon would redefine
Control suspension manages its
no pricing yet
the segment. We’re not sure we’d
mass with remarkable ability,
go as far as saying that, but it’s
allowing a ride that’s supple, yet
VERDICT
Next BMW M5, this
redefined the E63, so long as you
controlled. Indeed, get in it and
is your benchmark
pick the right one, that is.
it’s not the massive power that
++++ +
KYLE FORTUNE
immediately dominates, but the
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

33

RENAULT TWINGO GT

A cut-price
Clio V6?
Not quite…
If a rear-engined, Renault Sporttuned Twingo sounds like a mini
Clio V6, the 108bhp reality is far
more sensible… if still quite likeable

T

HIS IS PRETTY much as hot as
the current rear-engined Twingo
is going to get. There won’t be a
full-fat RS version – predominantly
because a larger, more powerful engine simply won’t fit – so this GT version, mildly microwaved by Renault Sport’s engineers,
represents the high watermark for current-era
Stability control
Twingo performance.
cannot – repeat
Apart from a shiny set of 17-inch alcannot – be
disengaged
loys and optional go-slightly-faster decals, the main outward clue to the 898cc
turbo engine’s 20bhp power hike (up to
a cap-tip-worthy 108bhp) is a mini air
Renault Twingo GT
intake above the left rear wheelarch,
> Price
e £13,755 > Engine
e 898cc 12v 3-cyl turbo,
feeding cold air to the faster-spinning
108bhp @ 5750rpm, 125lb ft @ 2000rpm
turbo, aided and abetted by upgraded
> Transmission Five-speed manual, rear-wheel
drive > Performance
e 0-62mph 9.6sec, 113mph,
water- and fuel pumps. A freer-breath54.3mpg, 115g/km CO2
ing twin-tipped exhaust system helps,
> Suspension MacPherson front, De-dion rear
and manages a pleasantly bassy note.
Needle moving
> Weight 1001kg > On sale Now
around speedo
You feel the extra urge immediately,
is like watching
and there’s a little more body roll than you
with credibly eager response througha glacier melt
might expect. Though more nimble than the
out the rev range, helped as much by
regular Twingo, the GT still handles a bit like
a throttle remap and a shorter set of
ratios for the five-speed manual ’box (still no arm twirling is welcome, but feedback’s still a waiter carrying a stack of plates. Pity about
rev counter, though) as by the harder-working vague. It’s more direct than Twingo naturelle, the mushy-feeling brake pedal too, with the
turbo. Performance is temperate rather than but not exactly overburdened with feel. Still, standard stoppers carried over unchanged.
The
unswitchoffable
stability-control
blistering, but it’s more than pokey enough to with the geometry unchanged the GT shares
the same impossibly tiny turning circle, some- system’s been reprogrammed to allow a small
be fun. It doesn’t feel like it needs to be faster.
amount of oversteer at low speeds, but it still
A new variable-ratio, speed-sensitive rack thing of a Twingo party trick.
Suspension sits 20mm lower (not that you’d cut in swiftly during experiments on a small
gives the GT more responsive steering than the
ponderous set-up in our old long-term Twingo, notice – the Twingo’s still a tall car, even by handling course. You get the feeling it’s not
in which negotiating a roundabout felt much modern standards), on new dampers, with just space in the engine compartment that
precludes a full-on RS variant,
like opening a bank vault. The reduction in a thicker anti-roll bar. There’s
but physics too; it would probably
no increase in track – shame,
require a few more substantial
imagine how great it would look
LOVE
Peppy throttle
chassis revisions to cope with
with box arches? The new set-up’s
response, rorty
much more power.
a whopping 40% stiffer front and
exhaust note,
The Twingo as a whole remains
rear than the regular car, but ride
overall charm
a flawed but very enjoyable car.
quality is actually quite compliHATE
The yet more characterful, and
ant – if anything, Renault Sport’s
Vague steering,
more dynamically adept, GT is the
engineers reckon, slightly better
mushy brakes,
top-heavy handling
most likeable model of the range.
than the regular Twingo. Maybe
Just don’t expect it to drive like
these are the chassis settings it
VERDICT
a miniature 911 – or a miniature
should have had from the off. Like
Pick of the Twingo
range, but still not
Renault Sport Megane.
the standard car, it occasionally
a driver’s choice
gets
into
a
vague
front
to
rear
JAMES TAYLOR
Engine is behind driver, but Twingo GT is no Renault
+++++
nodding motion on uneven roads,
@JamesTaylor_5
R8 Gordini, 5 Turbo, Clio V6… Enjoyable all the same

34

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

OUR CUSTOMERS DEMAND
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SKODA KODIAQ

Coolly logical? It’s sub-zero
Take the group platform, stick on the biggest body yet
for seven-seat capability and appeal solely to the head

M

R LOGIC IS a character born
of the twisted minds behind
the comic Viz. A pimply nerd
with limitless knowledge
espoused in a reasoned, florid
and humourless manner, Mr Logic finds himself talking down to fellow citizens in everyday
situations, until he eventually provokes them
into violent retribution.
The Skoda Kodiaq is a seven-seat SUV born
of the rational minds at Volkswagen’s Czech
outpost Skoda. Perspicaciously, it’s based on
the group’s MQB architecture, which means
it shares its MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, transverse four-cylinder internal combustion engines and other
components with sister SUVs the Seat Ateca
Skoda Kodiaq Edition 2.0 TDI 4x4
e 1968cc four-cylinder
> Price £32,695 > Engine
turbodiesel, 148bhp @ 3500rpm, 251lb ft @
1750-3250rpm > Transmission Six-speed
manual, all-wheel drive > Suspension
MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
> Performance
e 9.8sec 0-62mph, 121mph,
52.3mpg, 142g/km CO2 > Weight 1752kg
> On sale Deliveries April 2017

36

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

and Volkswagen Tiguan, generating useful in the commodious Superb wagon.
To drive, the Kodiaq is a steady, accomeconomies of scale. Sensibly, the Kodiaq is diff
ferentiated by being the most elongated, which plished SUV. The range’s mid-ranking turenables Skoda to offer a seven-seat option, bodiesel – a 148bhp 2.0-litre – delivers sedate
progress, with adequate mid-range punch and
costing £1000 more than the five-seat version.
The Skoda has bounteous head- and leg- 0-62mph acceleration in 9.8sec. The six-speed
room in the second row of seats, which are manual gearbox has a rewarding mechanical
practically split 60:40 and traverse fore and feel, with an encouraging, springy gait. Duaft to create space for the third row. The pro- al-clutch transmissions and four-wheel drive
digious distance between the axles makes for are optional with this engine and the 1.4-litre
a decently sized aperture through which rear petrol, and mandatory on the range-topping
seat passengers can clamber; an adult
will be able to slide his feet under the
seat squab in front. It’s a well-optimised package indeed.
There are some commendably
logical touches. Plastic door protectors fold out to prevent scuffs and
scratches, the detachable parcel shelf
stows beneath the boot floor, and
there are useful umbrellas hidden in
door recesses. Fold away all but the
front row of seats and you’ll be able to
slide in 2065 litres of luggage; there’s
up to 765 litres behind the second row
Clever packaging – and the not-so-clever use of a very
bulkhead alone – 13.736% more than
big body – means there’s space to burn back here

So square you’re going to have to get yourself
some pretty wild hobbies to compensate

Lens flare standard
on all facelifted
Leons, conditions
permitting

SEAT LEON

Was Darwin Spanish?

F
Love black? Spend your
days down a mineshaft
with intermittent
lighting? Love Kodiaq

LOVE
Value proposition,
seven-seat space
HATE
Makes HAL 9000
look emotional
VERDICT
Compelling but
utterly pragmatic
family SUV

+++++

178bhp petrol and 187bhp diesel.
The lightweight steering is geared towards
effortless perambulations to the science
museum or library – Drive Mode Select, a £95
option on SE, adds desirable heft. The test car
featured adaptive damping (£980 Dynamic
Chassis Control): normal mode elicits a firm,
composed ride which you can noticeably
soften, cornering comes with a little measured
roll. Wind- and road noise are on par for the
SUV segment, build quality is typically Skoda:
solid and nicely durable.
The Kodiaq range costs from £21,495
– £1425 less than a base VW Tiguan – and that
four-figure differential continues up the range.
A Kodiaq SE comes with keyless go, cruise control, rear parking sensors, 8-inch touchscreen
with Smartlink phone connectivity and climate control, a spec that matches the similarly
well-equipped VW. The similarities don’t end
there: like the Tiguan, the Kodiaq is a polished
but unemotional conveyance.
If Mr Logic ever mated, he would drive a
Skoda Kodiaq.
PHIL MCNAMARA
@CARPhilMc

INALLY FINISHED PLAYING spot the difference with
the facelifted Mk7.5 Volkswagen Golf? Here’s another
subtle VW group product evolution to keep you busy.
This time around it’s easier to excuse; the Seat
Leon has always looked good and is certainly ageing
well – those jagged headlights sweeping into sharp side creases
wouldn’t look out of place on a military uniform.
It’s no surprise then than the Spanish manufacturer has
seasoned its hatchback recipe with restrained styling updates,
new tech and updated engines, rather than just chucking in a
load of garam masala and hoping for the best.
External changes include a remodelled bumper and grille, plus
LED headlights, front fog lights and indicators, depending on
trim level. Inside there’s a new multimedia system, in 5- or 8-inch
form, with a home button and different menu layout. The physical
volume knob remains but the secondary selector dial has gone,
so you have to zoom in and out of the sat-nav and navigate menus
by awkwardly jabbing at the screen.
Tech-wise there is a raft of new safety stuff to attract family
buyers including traffic-jam assist, pedestrian protection, trafficsign recognition, blind-spot detection and parking assist.
The most noticeable change is an updated engine range:
a more powerful version of the 1.6-litre diesel and this 1.0-litre,
113bhp petrol triple, launching in the UK with the facelifted car.
It’s a cracker, in short, with plenty of poke and a characterful noise
when pushed through its six long gears. The unit’s lack of weight
can be felt on turn-in, where this Leon is sharp and agile with nice
control of its body movements. It’s comfortable too, on standard
springs or the new adaptive dampers, although higher trim levels
come with extended sound deadening to help hush the cabin to
library-like calm.
The new engine is only available in second-tier SE Technology
trim, meaning it’ll likely be shunned by buyers with eyes for the
FR only. A shame, because it’s good value and a versatile choice.
ADAM BINNIE @adambcars

Seat Leon SE Technology 1.0-litre TSI Ecomotive
> Price
e £18,995 > Engine 999cc turbocharged 3-cyl, 113bhp @
5000rpm, 148lb ft @ 2000rpm > Transmission Six-speed manual,
front-wheel drive > Suspension McPherson front and semi-rigid axle
rear > Performance 9.6sec 0-62mph, 123mph, 64.2mpg, 102g/km
CO2 > Weightt 1202kg > On Sale Feb 2017 > Rating +++++
V E R D I C T: Better looking than ever and a fine new engine

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

37

TOYOTA C-HR

Fixed up, looks sharp
Toyota bounds out of nowhere with a scissor-sharp
crossover that drives as well as it looks

T

OYOTA COULD have built a
Qashqai clone like everyone else.
Instead it’s turned up way beyond
fashionably late to the family crossover party with the C-HR, which
not only looks almost exactly like the original
concept sketches, it features a roofline the GT86
would be proud of, more creases than an army
barracks in Corby and has already been racing –
not just testing – at the Nürburgring. If the RAV4
was worried about being replaced it can breathe a
sigh of relief, though it might also want to update
its wardrobe.
Such visual extravagance may date quickly –
and if you think the outside is loud wait till you
see the electric blue and dark purple interior

Name sounds like an order to visit your employer’s
people department – drive more than makes amends

Toyota C-HR Dynamic 1.2T
> Price
e £25,495 > Engine 1197cc 16v turbo 4-cyl,
114bhp @ 5200-5600rpm, 136lb ft @ 15004000rpm > Transmission Six-speed manual,
e 10.9sec
front-wheel drive > Performance
0-62mph, 118mph, 47.1mpg, 136g/km CO2
e January 2017
> Weightt 1320kg > On sale
38

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

option – but for now
w it’s ideal as a statement of intent. For the C-HR is also the
fulcrum about which Toyota hopes its
reputation for non-existent driving dynamics will pivot, having been developed
in Europe, for Europe, with our spicier
‘Nürburgring’
driving tastes firmly front of mind.
in ‘previous
It’s based on the same platform as
destinations’?
Amazingly, yes
the latest Prius – which means a low
centre of gravity, double-wishbone rear
suspension and a 120bhp hybrid at the
top of the range. But the one you want is the when it must instead of lurching into turns.
only other engine, a 114bhp 1.2-litre turbo with The weightier hybrid doesn’t quite have the 1.2’s
variable valve-timing so trick it can seamlessly sharpness of purpose, but it gets pretty close for
switch between Otto (for power) and Atkinson a car carrying an extra 60kg. In Toyota terms, the
(for efficiency) injection cycles; more critically, in C-HR is a revelation.
In fact, Toyota itself reckons it’s a ‘game changits most basic front-wheel drive form, this diddy
four-pot is the only C-HR equipped with a man- er’. Not for the crossover segment – that roofline
ual gearbox not a moany CVT. And yes, you read has an undeniable impact on practicality and
the tiny rear side glass will leave the kids feeling
that right: no diesel C-HR. Ever.
Clearly, neither powertrain is about to shock like cave dwellers – but in the way the company
you with speed – and indeed, the 1.2 needs to be thinks about presenting its cars. So while you’ll
kept fully stoked, as unlike many downsized tur- have to put up with a wacky, if still entirely usable,
bos it feels flat unless you’re being brutal. Instead, interior that employs super-funky trim elements
in an (unsuccessful) attempt to diswhat’s basically unprecedented for a
tract from the remaining swathes of
modern Toyota (GT86 excepted) is
dull black plastics, we encourage you
the consistency and keenness to all
LOVE
Strong looks,
to buy a C-HR and experience this
the chassis’s responses. It wants to
fine dynamics
dynamic revolution for yourself.
go round corners! And the damping
Because surely the only way Toyis really good! What the hell?
HATE
‘No really,
ota’s notorious bean counters will
Traction gets a bit scrabbly when
it’s a Toyota’
continue to sign off being fun is if
faced with abrupt camber changes
VERDICT
the initial examples prove a success.
at pace, but even the stability control
Long may the
The C-HR deserves to be.
acts with a caressing hand here,
madness continue
rather than coming down like a ban
CJ HUBBARD
+++++
hammer, and it leans with grace
@ir_427

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Sensible horses
y
y
,
p it under
wraps. Who’s got the alternative powertrain to woo the mainstream?
By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Volkswagen Passat GTE
‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have
said faster horses’
That’s what Henry Ford said, the inference being he knew
better than consumers. Does VW? With saloons currently
out of favour, do we need a plug-in hybrid Passat
(the only plug-in on test) and the Golf GTE?
Oh, yes; that diesel thing...

You can tell it’s
electric, it has a
blue stripe

Superthunderstingcar is go!
Not in the least. Nothing about the
design remotely yells futuristic, and
only distinguishable from a standard
Passat by dint of electric blue trim and
a recharging socket hidden behind a
plasticky radiator grille flap.

The elephant in the loadspace
There must be; how else can it weigh a whopping 352kg
more than the Ioniq? Still, ruthlessly well-made interior,
driving position excellent, seats comfortable, and more
room in the back than the others here.
40 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Toyota Prius
‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would
have said faster horses’
Fourth generation of the car that introduced hybrid
powertrains to the world. Efficiency and low emissions
remain the priority for Toyota, rather than
performance, but rumour has it that
this latest Prius actually handles.
Superthunderstingcar is go!
Easily the most Fireball XL5
styling exercise here. Even so,
with couture almost entirely
dedicated to aerodynamic
efficiency, that’s largely down to
front and rear lamp clusters lifted
piecemeal from a Klingon armoury.

You can tell it’s
a hybrid, it looks
wilfully ugly

The elephant in the loadspace
Fine, comfy driving position once seat lifted to mezzanine
level. Plenty of legroom astern, but four-seat option as in
plug-in variant preferable. Build quality terrific, but white
plastic trim a disaster – a Belfast sink in a Starck interior.

Hyundai Ioniq

Ford Mondeo

ALEX TAPLEY

‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would
have said faster horses’
...Or, in this case, the closest thing you can get to a Prius
without actually building a Prius. Boasts the world’s
first choice of hybrid, plug-in and allelectric powertrains in the same
model. This is the hybrid.

‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they
would have said faster horses’
I wonder what Henry Ford would have said to a
car that reeks of tailoring to the American market
going on sale in the UK. Where’s this hybrid
technology in a Kuga, or a Focus, or
even a Fiesta?

Superthunderstingcar is go!
All the styling cues of a
hybrid sharing the drag
coefficient of a Prius, even
the split rear screen with
view-obscuring spoiler.
But, frankly, hardly a thing of
loveliness from any angle.

Superthunderstingcar is go!
No it isn’t. Aston Martin Smith
front grille et al, this is identical
to a standard Mondeo but
for discreet badging and
low rolling-resistance tyres.
Surprising Ford doesn’t appear to
want to shout about hybrid tech.

You can tell it’s
a hybrid, it looks
like a Prius

The elephant in the loadspace
Conventional interior with quality and finish trailing Prius.
Driving position good, but firm seat the least comfortable
here. Rear seats suffer from limited headroom, but
battery under seat gives better loadspace.

You can tell it’s a
hybrid… ah, no, you
can’t actually

The elephant in the loadspace
Not as much of a porker as the Passat, but still far heavier
than the Prius and Ioniq. Standard Mondeo comfort and
space in every department except the boot, which suffers
from an infestation of lithium-ion.

CONTINUED…

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

41

CONTINUED…

Volkswagen Passat

Toyota Prius

Turn up The Eagles, the neighbours are listening...
Already pricey and well specced at £34,000. But once
again the VAG group pulls off that neat trick of adding
nearly eight grand’s worth of extras without anyone
really noticing, including flavour-of-the-month TFT
instrument binnacle.

Turn up The Eagles, the neighbours are listening...
Two tiers of comprehensive, dashboard-based
infotainment (neither in front of the driver), including
more eco driving assistance than you can shake a stick at.
Excellent JBL stereo. Wireless charging for a smartphone I
don’t own.

Take mind
off drivetrain
using… £8k
worth of kit

Take mind
off drivetrain
using… strange
plastics

Assault by battery or robbery with violins?
31 miles of all-electric driving at up to 81mph, then smooth,
punchy hybrid motoring thereafter despite the addition of
considerable lard. Hilariously optimistic mpg figure, even if
you do plug the GTE in every day.

Assault by battery or robbery with violins?
Smooth, quiet and frugal, as long as you’re careful with the
throttle. Lead foot still promotes cattle rustling under bonnet
as CVT transmission solicits peak power from engine, but
now less intrusive through better insulation.

Drive-by-wire or drive-by shooting?
Controls not so tainted by the application of hybrid
technology as those of Mondeo, and far nicer to drive in
every respect except ride quality. Better balanced, better
steering, and far less eager to squeal into understeer.

Drive-by-wire or drive-by shooting?
Everyday driveability better than ever. Ride smoother,
steering quicker and car more eager to tackle corners with
greater aplomb. Regenerative braking system has more
nuanced pedal feel too, but is still fierce at first touch.

VERDICT
Plug-in gives unfair advantage here, but Golf GTE offers
identical technology for a kinder price.

VERDICT
The Murray Mint of hybrids; not to be hurried if you wish
to get the best out of it.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT GTE
1.4 TSI PLUG-IN HYBRID
>
>
>

TOYOTA PRIUS EXCEL
>
>
>
>

>
>

>
>
>
>

|

>

+++++

>
>

+++++

WINNER

Hyundai Ioniq

Ford Mondeo

Turn up The Eagles, the neighbours are listening...
Straightforward, reasonably comprehensive equipment
specification. Plays half a cheery electronic symphony
at you at start-up or stop. Annoying. Passenger seatbelt
rattles constantly against scratchy plastic B-pillar. Even
more annoying.

Turn up The Eagles, the neighbours are listening...
Stout standard equipment specification. Two and a half
grand’s worth of extras include the Sony infotainment
system upgrade, numerous active safety features,
inflatable rear seatbelts and exorbitant white paint.

Take mind
off drivetrain
using… annoying
electronic music

Take mind off
drivetrain using…
nope,nothing can
do that

Assault by battery or robbery with violins?
Engine all too eager to start with ignition, with too much
vibration through controls. Easy to drive, with dual clutch
obviating heifer branding noises off. Sluggish under throttle
unless Sport mode selected to add double espresso.

Assault by battery or robbery with violins?
Claims to be a six-speed ’box, but drives like a CVT
with attendant bovine harmonies. Powertrain quiet and
comfortable for pottering, but unpleasantly indecisive when
pushed with engine revs all over the place. Sport mode?

Drive-by-wire or drive-by shooting?
Firm, fidgety ride at low speeds, but settles nicely into
a quiet cruise with tyre roar predominant. Steering and
body control both acceptable, but this isn’t a car you’ll
wish to lob around overmuch.

Drive-by-wire or drive-by shooting?
All the controls we usually enjoy so much in a Ford tainted
by the application of clumsy hybrid technology. Steering
heavy and numb, throttle response a day late, body roll
worse and understeer clamouring to be unleashed.

VERDICT
Scores over the Prius only on price and the absence of
CVT transmission.

VERDICT
Built for America; should have stayed there.

FORD MONDEO 2.0 TIVCT
HYBRID TITANIUM
>
>
>

HYUNDAI IONIQ PREMIUM SE
>
>
>
>

>
>

>
>
>
>

+++++

>
>
>

+++++

January 2017 | SUBSC RIB E & GE T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR

43

Gavin Green
T

‘I saw the p
pick-up
p for
onlyy a second before
I broadsided it.
I remember thinking:
g
“it’s a Nissan Navara”’
THE MONTH ended badly. I lay
unconscious in a cycle lane, after my
bicycle ploughed into a pick-up makk
ing an illegal right turn after crossing London’s Blackfriars Bridge.
And here is the sad car-spotting
part of my tale. Although I saw the
pick-up only for a second before
broadsiding it at probably 15-20mph,
I remember thinking: ‘it’s a Nissan Navara’. I can’t recall whether
it was a single- or double cab, or its colour, but it did have a hardtop. I know this because my helmeted head hit it.
Thank God I didn’t die. My epitaph could have been: here
lies Gavin Green, car writer, whose last thought was of a
Nissan Navara.
When I came to, about 15 minutes later, two nice policemen
explained what had happened. An ambulance took me to nearby
St Thomas’ hospital. There the NHS looked after me impeccably,
and Mrs Green later collected me and my single-speed Condor
in the trusty Benz estate and gave me a lecture on the dangers
of cycling in London. Which, after 29 years of accident-free
pedalling, I will of course ignore. Apart from cuts, bruises and a
chipped front tooth – fixed the next day through the wonders of
composites and modern dentistry – I seem to be okay.
Oh and the police drove a Focus. It’s amazing how car writers
remember these things. (In an unusual oversight, I can’t tell you
the make of the ambulance but by then I was rather obsessed b
my broken tooth, sore neck, inflamed hand and mangled han
made bicycle, which I can now happily report is repairable.)
The month had begun so well. Just over
three weeks before swatting the Navara, I was
in Paris and Citroën was showing a return to
form. Newish CEO Linda Jackson, showing
all the steely handbag-wielding resolve of Mrs
Thatcher at her most resolute, was lecturing
the (mostly French) journalists – in English!
– at the Paris Expo on how Citroën needed to
change, and how she was just the dame de fer
to do it. And indeed, the Citroën stand looked
superb, with a pleasingly stand-alone new C3
44 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

supermini as the star attraction, and much
homage to great old Citroëns of yore. Years
ago, Citroën’s PSA masters treated the
brand’s noble heritage with wilful disdain.
Praising the DS or Deux Chevaux at PSA’s
Paris HQ was like walking around Millwall’s home ground in a West Ham strip.
Now probably the saddest development in
my 35 years of car writing has been Citroën’s
decline. They regressed from avant-garde
maker of the world’s most modern cars,
to badges of convenience for cut-price
Peugeots. Comparing a DS or a GS with
a Saxo or a previous-generation C3 is like
contrasting Robert De Niro in Godfather II
with De Niro in The Adventures of Rocky
and Bullwinkle.
Jackson is convinced Citroëns must be different from the
mainstream. She prioritises comfort, distinctive design and
tech – but relevant functional tech, not the German Vanity durch
Technik, so often more braggadocio than customer benefit.
People often forget that great old Citroëns, like the DS, were
first-and-foremost supremely functional cars. The hydropneumatic suspension, directional headlamps that saw around
corners, brake button (rather than pedal) and slippery aerodynamics all gave big customer benefits. It was intelligent tech, not
techno intellectualism. It’s just a shame more customers didn’t
experience the benefits, and more rivals didn’t follow.
Anyway, soon after I was in Barcelona driving the new C3. The
styling is C4 Cactus-like, including the useful side air bumps, elevated stance and crossover cues. The ride is probably class best,
and the seats are unusually wide and comfy. The central touchscreen is easy to use and performs lots of clever connectivity.
Here, at last, is a C3 that offers something different, something
cheerful and characterful and, for many, something superior.
There’s a way to go, though. It’s a bit dull dynamically, so if
you value driving elan, stick with a Fiesta. But the Citroën renaissance is under way, and for that we partly have a 58-year-old
Coventry-born ex-MG Rover lady with no engineering qualifications to thank. Chapeau Madame Jackson!
Thinking about it, I wish my bicycle had hit a new Citroën C3
or a C4 Cactus instead. Those cushionFormer CAR
R editor Gavin Green
ing air bumps are surely a huge safety
loves bicycles almost as much
b
f
li t f t
t
h

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Mark W
Walton
T

‘A hydraulic
y
cylinder
y
leaked on myy tractor.
I changed
g the seals,
put it back together…
p
g
and it bloody worked!’
SWEDEN IS introducing tax cuts,
encouraging households to fix their
broken belongings instead of throwing them away. The VAT on repairs
will be halved, and people will be
allowed to claim back their own labour costs through income tax. The
ruling Social Democrat and Green
Party coalition believe this will help
turn the tide on our wasteful, throwaway society, where a washing machine needs a 35p rubber grommet, yet somehow it’s still
cheaper to stick it on the council tip and buy a new one.
I like this idea, this ‘march of the menders’, and I hope it
spreads. In fact, I hope our government goes further and provides a generous ‘Man Cave Grant’, a £10-billion stimulus packk
age to subsidise millions of garden sheds across the country.
There’s a limit though, isn’t there, to fixing? The Swedes
might mend their push-bikes and their two-stroke Saabs; the
Brits will tinker with their lawnmowers and their valve radios;
but no-one’s going to fix a Tesla or a BMW i8. That would be like
trying to mend the internet with a pair of pliers and a hammer.
This limitation was brought into sharp focus recently, when I
completed two unrelated DIY jobs. Compare and contrast: first
of all I mended the hydraulics on my 1968 Massey Ferguson
tractor. Thank you for your applause, thank you – and apologies
to engineers who mend JCBs every day for breakfast. To me, this
was a big deal: hydraulics have always seemed intimidating,
the pipes and pumps all shrouded in mystery, as though only
members of a secret sect of old farmers could attempt a rep i
after an oily initiation ceremony.
But then a hydraulic cylinder sprung a
leak and I needed to change the seals. And
you know what? Once I’d bought the correct
tools (any excuse!) and watched a couple of
YouTube videos (naturally), it was easy. With
the ram removed and clamped firmly in a vice
on the workbench, you just unscrew the collar,
pull the shiny arm out, revealing the piston
inside; then dismantle the piston with a great
big spanner. I did this, and held the nut in my
48

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

hand – a big one, the size of a small crab
apple, heavy as a ball of lead and beautifully
machined out of solid steel. I stared at this
nut for about three minutes. It represented
all of Man’s greatest achievements: the Industrial Revolution, the machine age, the
world of steam- and internal-combustion
engines and pulleys and gears and our
mastery over the physics. Then I changed
the seals and put it all back together again
and IT BLOODY WORKED! The Swedish
government would have been proud of me.
Now fast forward two weeks, and I’m
sitting at my kitchen table with a soldering
iron. This time I’m not technically mending anything, I’m putting together a kid’s
toy made by a company called Technology Will Save Us (don’t ask why, it’s a long story). They make
electronic kits aimed at ten-year-olds who use a soldering iron
and an online step-by-step guide to make things, like a simple
speaker or a miniature synthesiser. You painstakingly solder
the diodes, resistors and capacitors into a printed circuit board,
connect a 9-volt battery, and as a reward you get a beep and a
blinking light. Or not. I spent about two hours burning my
hands and in the end I couldn’t get it to work. There were no ten
year olds around to ask for help.
I’m not being negative about the toy – it was fun and fascinating, and of course there are plenty of scientists (and ten year
olds) who’d point out that circuit boards are still physics, still
a manifestation of ‘the machine age’… only it’s all voodoo and
invisible. Electronics are soulless; hydraulics are life-affirming.
It all made me wonder: are we the last generation of fixers?
In 40 years’ time, if the Swedish government is still offering
tax breaks for mending household appliances, will anyone be
able to do it, even if they wanted to? Will anyone be capable of
soldering the quantum chip in an Artificially Intelligent Smart
Kettle, as it slowly talks you through the operation with a Dalek
voice: NOW. SNIP. THE. BLUE. WIRE. NOT. THE. RED.
ONE. HUMAN. MORON. IF. ONLY. I. HAD. HANDS.
Maybe we’ll still be fixing the vintage kettles and dishwashers from 2016, because we know how to do it, like Cubans fixing
their Cadillacs; like I’ll still be fixing
Editor-at-large Mark is fond of
my 1968 Massey Ferguson tractor. And
tinkering. He’s unqualified to fix
probably still banging on about it all
everything from leaky domestic
appliances to hydraulic systems
the time too.
on agricultural machinery, but
k

l

hi

ble

GET THE
PERFECT
PRESENT

Everyone
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S P O N S O R E D BY

Return to
Sant’Agata
> VIA EMAIL

I really enjoyed reading Mel Nichols’ article
on Lamborghini (CAR
R, December). I think
that the authority of CAR
R magazine is
underlined when it runs a story written
by a journalist who can provide a
40-year perspective. I also appreciated
the consistency of pairing him with the
photographer John Mason and running
some of the 1973 photographs. For me,
it’s this sort of article that sets your title
apart from others. Securing the services
of Mr Nichols was an inspired idea.
Barry Clark
Mel Nichols (middle)
visited Lamborghini
in the 1970s. Things
had changed a bit
when he recently
returned for CAR

On the Jaguar i-Pace
> VIA FAC EBO O K

The Jaguar i-Pace (CAR
R, December) is
bold and strikingly good looking. Who
cares if it adds 10 bucks per month to the
electricity bill? It’s way better than paying
four times the money for fuel, plus it’s
good for the environment, easier on your
wallet (tax cut) and silent.

How to
have your
say:

@
VIA EMAIL
CAR@
bauermedia.co.uk

Ryan Angel
> VIA EMAIL

After reading the i-Pace article, I still can’t
be convinced that electric is the way to go.
So Jaguar may think they have fixed range
anxiety but I think it is charge anxiety
that’s putting people off electric cars. The
petrol station is a multi-server queue with
a quick service time. At worst, I should
be refuelled and on the road again in 10
minutes. But the thought of waiting 90
minutes at a motorway service station
to recharge is purgatory. And when I get
there, the charge points may be all occupied so I have to wait 90 minutes for it to
become free; and there could be someone

VIA TWITTER
@CARmagazine

in the queue in front of me.
What is needed is a very small,
lightweight petrol or diesel engine to use
for emergency charging and to provide
a limp-home mode albeit with lower
performance. (A range-extender, as
offered in the likes of BMW’s i3 - ed
d).
Such an arrangement would go some
way to addressing concerns about the
ability of the battery to provide the same
range in 10 years’ time and hence improve
the appalling residual values of electric
cars, something you never mention.
Martin Walker

VIA FACEBOOK
facebook.com/
CARmagazine

VIA POST
CAR magazine,
Media House,
Lynchwood,
Peterborough
Business Park,
Peterborough
PE2 6EA

A mostly terrific issue
> VIA EMAIL

The December issue was terrific. Great
to read Mel Nichols again visiting Lamborghini, plus the 488 and Huracan test.
However, I’m bored rigid by electric-car
coverage; I still don’t understand why
hydrogen is ignored if manufacturers are
serious about ‘green’ power. Keep maintaining the standards of a great magazine.
Neil Davey

> VIA CAR O N LI N E

It will be very interesting to see how the
i-Pace’s sales fare against the Tesla Model
X. The i-Pace looks like it’ll be offering
some similar specs for substantially less,
and the general consensus so far (which I
think I agree with) is that it’s prettier.
Vertigo

A Superb buy
> VIA EMAIL

Nice to see your longterm test on the Skoda Superb L and K. Sadly even CAR
R testing this marvellous car will not convince
the badge snobs who will default to the
so-called ‘premium’ brands in this sector.
On British roads they are as rare as
hen’s teeth. Earlier this year I was in the
market for a big roomy estate. But finding
a less than one-year-old Skoda Superb
with the most powerful petrol engine
proved almost impossible and I ended up
with a Mondeo.
I would’ve loved a top-of-the-range
Skoda, a brilliant car and great value.
Bryn Owen 
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 49

You can’t Defend(er) it
> VIA EMAIL

On the Mercedes G-class
> VIA T WIT TER

Just how can Mercedes keep the G-wagen
going when JLR say the Defender can’t
meet modern regs?
Christian Pratt
> VIA FAC EBO O K

I love that they camouflage it. Proof they
have a sense of humour.
Anthony Aspiridis

On Alfa’s product plans
> VIA CAR O N LI N E

I’m not shooting Alfa down, but can any
car company these days survive without
at least one EV or hybrid? None are being
mentioned. And a £35k SUV is no way
to kick-start sales, especially without a
hybrid option.
The Stelvio has got a mountain to climb
thanks to F-Pace, Macan. Audi has just
launched a new Q5, and the next X3 is
around the corner too. What’s going to
nail the Stelvio fatally is the all-electric
Jag i-Pace. It will be a massive hit in
China and Russia.

They don’t make
’em like that anymore
> VIA EMAIL

I am on my third Land Rover
Discovery and I also own a
Defender so, at the expense
of sounding like a moaning
Luddite, I almost laughed out
loud at the arrogance of your interview with Gerry McGovern
(CAR
R, December).
I find his attempt to
justify the new Discovery
design direction as a load of
pretentious nonsense and a
hackneyed attempt to justify
his design terrorism after the event.
‘Our customers have been telling us they
want Discovery to be more premium,’ he
says. Really? I’ve never been asked. Buy a
Range Rover Sport if you want premium!
Jonny Horsfield

LETTER OF
THE MONTH

Nick Dawson’s
letter in your
November 2016
issue helps explain the amazing
911 auction price story in the same
article. Today’s new cars simply do
not engage or challenge drivers any
more. Like Mr. Dawson, I stepped off
the new-car treadmill recently, finding
the latest RS and M models too big,
too remote, and too artificial. Instead,
I spent six months tracking down a
pristine, low-mileage 2007 B7 Audi
RS4, which is small, powerful, and
challenges me to drive well every
time I start it up. Today’s mainstream
performance cars
are great to own but Letter of the month
wins £25 worth of
just not great to drive. tickets for the Dream
Car competition held
Carlos Alvarenga by botb.com

Beware the automatons
> VIA EMAIL

We have to be positive: first the Giulia
and now the Stelvio. Paired with Jaguar’s
resurgence things start to look really
threatening in a marketplace where the
Germans had things all to themselves.
(Sorry Lexus!) However, I have a bit of
caution about the styling. I am sure it is
fine in the flesh but every time I look at it
I see scaled up 147. Surely they could have
got it to look a bit more 21st century!

‘Would you trust your car to make the decision to change lanes at 70mph?’ asks your
excellent article on Jaguar Land Rover’s
autonomous highway-assist system (CAR,
December). The answer is an emphatic no.
No matter how dependable the radar and
camera systems, no matter how cautiously
the software has been written, technology
is not infallible.
If there is potential, however slight, for an
accident to occur, we should be cautious in
our acceptance of any technology that creates that potential. Human lives should not
be considered grist to the mill of progress.
The more car manufacturers invite
customers to place their trust in semi-autonomous systems, the more it becomes
tacitly permissible for drivers to lose
concentration, to place their trust in intrinsically fallible technology, and to leave the
safety of others to computers.
If an autonomous driving future truly is
inevitable, we surely face a period of danger
in the interim, for no test scenario can
uncover shortcomings in technology in the
same way the public road can.
We should take every opportunity to
question it, to critique it, and, where necessary, to fight it.

JLConsult

Jon Andrews

Jonathan Clarke

Alfa Stelvio. Mountain it needs to climb
shown left of shot
> VIA CAR O N LI N E

50 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Come on you Reds!
> VIA T WIT TER
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01858 438884
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EDITORIAL
Editor
Phil McNamara
Managing editor
Greg Fountain
Features editor
Ben Miller
Associate editor
Matt Joy
Digital editor-in-chief
Tim Pollard
Online editor
Lewis Kingston
Staff writer
James Taylor
Art director
Matthew Tarrant
Designer
Rebecca Wilshere
Editors-at-large
Chris Chilton, Mark Walton,
Ben Barry
Contributor-in-chief
Gavin Green
European editor
Georg Kacher
Contributing editors
Ben Oliver, Ben Whitworth,
Anthony ffrench-Constant,
Steve Moody
F1 correspondent
Tom Clarkson
Office manager
Leise Enright
Production controller
Hollie Swift

ADVERTISING
Commercial director
Stuart Adam
Digital commercial director
Jim Burton
Key account manager
Dan Chapman
Motor-related/aftermarket
Claire Meade-Gore
Regional sales
Graham Roby

PUBLISHING
Marketing manager
Rachael Beesley
Direct marketing manager
Julie Spires
Direct marketing executive
Rebecca Lambert
Editorial director
June Smith-Sheppard
Managing director
Niall Clarkson
Group MD
Rob Munro-Hall

Enjoyed the Reds 2 article by @mark
kwalton_ in @CARmagazine this month
(CAR
R, December). I remember reading the
Countach/Testarossa review too!
Meilyr Williams

Audi’s inside story
> VIA EMAIL

Yet another Audi is praised to the skies
for its interior (CAR
R, December). Really?
When Audi is still incapable of designing
a dash that doesn’t leave the iPad-alike
screen looking like it’s held in place with a
five-quid air-vent bracket from Halfords?
If Tesla can manage to build-in a 17-inch
screen, surely Audi could do it with only a
12 incher.
By the way, I’m pleased that Tim Pollard
acknowledges the damage denim does
to light-coloured seats in his long-term
Volvo test (CAR
R, December)
Keep up the good work. I’ve been

buying CAR
R since the early ’70s.
If the Tifosi are
scared by Ferrari’s
recent results, the
team is quaking

CAR ONLINE
5 most read stories on carmagazine.co.uk
Alfa’s six-step revival plan: Stelvio is
just the start, CEO tells us
Latest BMW X3 spy shots: all the details
on codename ‘G01’, due in 2017
Skoda Kodiaq review: it’s roomy, it’s
affordable, but is it desirable?
Seven things you need to know about
the facelifted 2017 VW Golf
Still got it: Aston Martin reveals
595bhp Vanquish S stunner

Geoff Dougherty

The fear of Ferrari
> VIA EMAIL

Fascinating to read your story on Ferrari’s
F1 woes (CAR
R, December). After flashes of
promise last season, Arrivabene’s squad has
taken up a familiar holding position of so-so
pace and occasionally clunky-looking tactics. Unlike Red Bull or Mercedes, you never
feel the Scuderia has a hope of orchestrating
their clearly strong-rather-than spectacular
car to a finish higher than it truly deserves
through clever tyre management or a welltimed pit stop. And it’s fascinating to think
the pressure to succeed from above might
well have had the opposite effect, leaving
those on the pitwall too scared to gamble.
All of that said, Ferrari is still Ferrari and
F1 without them is unthinkable. What’s
more, if you set aside the Schumacher/
Brawn blip, isn’t floating around the bottom
of the podium (if they’re lucky) the Scuderia’s natural position? Unfailing perfection
race after race, without error, just wouldn’t
be as much fun.
James McTavish

On the Vanquish S
> VIA FAC EBO O K

Aston has managed to milk that platform
for every penny. Still looks beautiful and
classic. Good on ’em.
Ian Miles

THE CAR POLL
first team would you pick?
ALFA ROMEO GIULIA 36%
BMW 3-SERIES 25%
JAGUAR XE 20%
MERCED
DES-BENZ C-CLA
ASS 19%

Aston Martin’s VH platform – more
milking than an automated dairy

SUBSCRIPTIONS To take out or renew a subscription to CARR visit greatmagazines.co.uk/car. For enquiries or problems call +44 (0)1858 438884. Lines open Mon-Fri 8am-9.30pm, Sat 8am-4pm, and Sun 10am-4pm. Fax number: 01858 461739. Or write to: CARR Subscriptions, Freepost (MID 16109), Leicester LE16 7BR (UK enquiries) or Bauer Media Subscriptions, CDS Global, Tower House,
Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough LE16 9EF. BACK ISSUESTo order call 01858 438884. If you can’t find CARR via your regular outlets call 01733 468000. COMMERCIAL REPRINTSIf you require multiple reprints of a feature, tel +44 (0)20 7295 5470. PRINTING & DISTRIBUTION© CAR ISSN 0008-5987. Printed in the UK by Southernprint Ltd. Distributed by Frontline Ltd, Park
House, 117 Park Road, Peterborough PE1 2TR tel: 01733 555161. International distribution by Seymour International Ltd, 86 Newman Street, London W1T 3EX, +44 (0)20 7396 8000. Published 12 times a year by BAUER CONSUMER MEDIA LTD Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough Business Park, PE2 6EA tel: 01733 468000 © All material published remains the copyright of Bauer Automotive
Ltd. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher.CARR can’t accept responsibility for unsolicited material. COMPLAINTS Bauer Consumer Media Ltd is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (www.ipso.co.uk) and endeavours to respond to and resolve concerns quickly. Our Editorial Complaints Policy
(including full details of how to contact us about editorial complaints and IPSO’s contact details) can be found at www.bauermediacomplaints.co.uk. Our e-mail address for editorial complaints covered by the Editorial Complaints Policy is complaints@bauermedia.co.uk THIS ISSUE ON SALE: 14 DECEMBER 2016. NEXT ISSUE ON SALE: 18 JANUARY 2017

Your month
The place where you let us peek into your weird and wonderful automotive lives
1

A H I G H - O C TA N E R E A D

SHARE YOUR PICTURES –
WIN THIS £600 WATCH!
Send a picture and 50
words to CAR@bauermedia
co.uk, labelled ‘Your Month
The best entry this month
wins an Elliot Brown
Bloxworth watch worth
£550. We’ll also publish a
selection of your entries…

1

2

Recently spent a fantastic weekend at the
Nürburgring. Great mates, great cars and the
R. Probably the best 40th birthday ever.
latest CAR
NEIL ROBSON

2

D E A D - C O O L B E E TLE

Visited Mexico during The Day Of The Dead
festival. Luckily blocks were in front of the tyres
to stop this chap joyriding his Beetle!
ALEX HALSEY

3

3

TICKET TO E-RIDE

Waiting for the streetcar in Oranjestad, Aruba.
These trams’ batteries are recharged solely from
renewable sources. It’s part of a plan to be the
first nation with a totally sustainable zero-carbon
footprint, including all road vehicles by 2020.

OURER
WINN

GAVIN HARRISON

4

D O P P LE B I M M E R

On my way back to Norway from the wonderful
Solstrand Hotel, I came across this BMW
3-series pick-up with Touring trailer.
PER EINAR OLSEN

5

M AC A N H E R D O I T

4

5

Driving over Kylesku Bridge in my Porsche
R magazine wrapped
Macan GTS in the rain. CAR
up to keep dry but my wife got wet taking pics!
CAMPBELL NEWELL

6

B E N TAYGA VA N M A N

Ettore Bugatti once said Bentley made the
fastest lorry. So is this Bentayga the fastest van?
JOHN SHERRATT

7

B AC K T O B A S I C S

No ABS, no power steering, close-ratio manual,
750kg, 122bhp, perfect proportions, sublime
analogue driving pleasure… I remember reading
the Lotus Elise S2 piece in CAR in 2001. Still
relevant.

6

7

JON ESTELL

8

H AV I N ’ IT W ITH H A M I LT O N

Being driven around Mercedes-Benz World
by Lewis Hamilton was a once-in-a-lifetime
experience as he threw the C63 AMG around.
He’s a genuinely nice bloke too.
IAN PIGGOTT

9

10

9

G 0 - FA S T E R FA R M E R

It appears Shell V Power can be used in other
vehicles other than my Audi S4!! No wonder
there was a queue at the pumps.
TIM EARL

10

PERFECT SHOT

Sitting outside a bar in Ypres, Belgium, my car
mechanic friend told me of all the merits of this
Tesla. Seemed aptly parked so I took this shot.
ROBIN CLARKE

58 SUBSC RIB E & G E T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR | January 2017

8

T H E T Y N E H A M A U T O MA T I C

Elliot Brown Tyneham Aut omatic 305-005-L15: £795 to £845. For stocki sts see www.elliotbro wnwatches.com
Miyota 9130 Automatic, 4 0 hour power reserve with indicat or at 1H, 2mm sapphire crystal , case-hardened bezel, be adblasted stainless ca se,
dual stage shock protect ion, triple sealed crown, ha ck and hand wind, depth tested at 30 0m in water, fitted deploya nt calf leather strap.

REASONS
TO
BELIEVE
IN
NEW
DISCOVERY
|

Big drive
e

|

Discovery is
promised to be the
most capable Land
Rover ever off-road.
After a day’s driving,
we wouldn’t argue

56

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Big drive New Discovery
Coming to a village
pub car park near
you from February,
and from £43,495
(entry-level S trim
with Sd4 power)

ITS FOR M FOLLOWS LOW-DR AG FU NCTION,
A ND BOXINESS WAS ‘HOLDING DISCOVERY BACK’
If change gives you the jitters, new Discovery is
not a piece of design to instantly settle the nerves.
Parts of it are nicely resolved, others less so (those
rear lights, that token offset rear numberplate,
the odd surfacing as contoured metal tries to
disguise the car’s vast rear mass) but if you love the utilitarian
cleanliness of the third and fourth-generation cars, deep down
you also know that they carved through the air like a shipping
container. A drag coefficient of 0.33, while no VW XL1, is a vast
improvement over Discovery 4’s 0.4.
‘Aerodynamically this is a better design than the outgoing
model,’ says chief creative officer Gerry McGovern. ‘Don’t get
me wrong, I really like the last Discovery, but [that kind of
design] isn’t appropriate anymore. It would have held us back.’
‘That co-efficient of drag improvement from 0.4Cd to 0.33Cd
[on four-cylinder Discoverys fitted with the ‘aero’ wheels; the
Td6’s is 0.35] is a step-change that really helps drive fuel-efficiency,’ continues vehicle line director Nick Collins. ‘It’s about
the plan-shaping, the airflow down the sides and the separation at the rear, all of which are the result of some very detailed
simulations. We couldn’t ignore the issue of drag.’
So there is at least a satisfying, function-derived logic to the
new car’s shape. But for its Iron Age aerodynamics there were
advantages to Discovery 4’s blunt form. Its squared-off corners

made tight squeezes easy to judge while the asymmetric rear
screen made Discovery 4 a full-size, seven-seat SUV you could
reverse by turning around and looking behind you, rather than
relying on cameras and sensors.
The fourth-gen Discovery was, by McGovern’s own admission, an iconic shape, a distinctive monolith on (and off) the
world’s roads. ‘Discovery 4 had quite a specialist following but
that industrial look did polarise opinion,’ continues McGovern. ‘Some people – myself and other product designers included – liked it but it was alienating. The wheelarches for example,
that constructivist design; they aren’t modern anymore, they
were of their era. The acid test for me is when you look at the
two side-by-side: new Discovery makes Discovery 4 look old.’
Certainly you can’t argue with the improvements in drag
and fuel efficiency (on the V6 diesel, CO2 drops from 244g/km
to 189g/km while combined mpg rises from 30.4 to 39.2), nor
the truth that the Discovery makes sense with Land Rover’s
range, complementary to Range Rover above and Discovery
Sport below rather than a rectilinear rebel in their ranks. Still
unconvinced? Collins: ‘Slots in the rear spoiler also allow us to
work the air pressure over the rear of the tailgate, improving
cleanliness, so it won’t get as dirty as it did.’ A Discovery that
doesn’t endlessly foul its rear screen with turbulent road grime?
That, at least, is progress. 
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

57

OFF-ROAD AT
LEAST, IT STILL
FEELS LIK E
A DISCOVERY

THER E’S NE A R LY H A LF
A TON NE LE S S OF IT
Some carmakers, particularly
in the luxury sector, will tell you
a good slug of excess weight
is a good thing. A heavier body
makes for a better ride quality, and
because luggage and occupants
represent a smaller component of
the overall mass the suspension
set-up can be more focused
and less compromised. While
both of these things are true, the
advantages of making a vehicle
lighter dwarf those of it remaining
heavy. Just ask Chapman. Or line
director Nick Collins.
‘The lightest new car is 480kg
lighter than the lightest Discovery
4,’ says Collins. ‘But we are
also introducing a four-cylinder
diesel for the first time [making
that weight advantage slightly
misleading]. If you compare a
new V6 model with an old V6 the
saving is around 350kg.’ Leaving
aside the lighter coil-sprung,
five-seat cars some markets will
get, the V6 diesel seven-seater is
now 285kg lighter than before. In
other words new Discovery with
four adults aboard will test physics
in the same way as a Discovery 4
containing only its driver.
‘Taking nearly half a tonne of
weight out versus the old car lets
you start downsizing, and you then
get into a virtuous circle of weight
reduction, removing weight from
the front of the car and creating
a better weight distribution,’
continues Collins. ‘It’s a lighter
driving experience, and it’s
allowed us to really drive comfort
as we set up the suspension.’

|

nuary 2017

Plump sidewalls on the
20-inch wheels help
smother bumps. Stepchange in weight and
body control dominate
the driving experience

Big drive New Discovery

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

59

‘Make it more
plush!’ we
screamed, so they
did. ‘But now my
off-white leather’s
irrevocably soiled!’

Tidier, slicker Terrain
Response controls unlock
a world of off-road ability

Interior big on convenience
and storage

A BIT OF R A NGE ROVER
INSIDE IS NO BAD THING
Where Discovery 3 was black plastic exterior
armour and hose-it-out utilitarianism inside, the
fourth-generation car kickstarted the move upmarket, towards Range Rover, with body-coloured exterior parts and swathes of fine leather.
According to Land Rover, the pressure to continue that move
has been acute, and, as befits a car many are optioning up to
around £80k, the new cockpit is all space, light and luxury,
not matted dog hair and hard plastic.
The driving position remains imperiously comfortable:
climb in (fortunately it is still a climb, despite the curtseying
air suspension) slide into the captain’s chair, let left elbow
find armrest and you realise you haven’t sat this comfortably
in years. The wheel is lovely: handsome, with logical, neat
symmetrical controls for your thumbs (cruise control on the
right, infotainment on the left). The thinner, more elegant
wheel rim feels entirely appropriate, too. Discovery 4 was a
steel-framed workhouse you wrestled; this is an altogether
more refined conveyance.
Land Rover’s quick to point out the leather, timber and
luxury descends only to a kind of watermark halfway up the
doors – like someone’s opened the roof and poured in black
plastic until it reached the desired height. That, apparently, is
the difference between Discovery and Range Rover. Sounds
token – it does feel almost embarrassingly plush in the
Discovery, and certainly too good for dogs or children – but
after a very wet and muddy day climbing in and out the logic
is borne out. The leather’s unmarked; the plastic of the lower
doors is in need of a good wipe.
On the dash the chunky gear-wheel climate controls are
gone, replaced with jewel-like rotaries, and the ZX Spectrum
of Terrain Response buttons ahead of the drive selector has
been superseded by a far neater rotary. Both float on a sea of
glossy piano black, ahead of a vast armrest/central stowage
compartment that can be optioned as a fridge (£235). Poke
around and there’s an embarrassment of storage, from a secret one behind the ventilation controls for your revolver, fake
passport and wad of used notes to another stash between the
front seats deep enough for the family iPad collection.
Driving instruments are nicely no-frills, the two analogue
60 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

clocks sandwiching a multi-function
display (including speed, temp, speed
limit – courtesy of traffic sign recognition – fuel and temp) that comes
into its own off-road, with graphics
showing your steering lock angle (much
more useful than it sounds), selected
Terrain Response mode, whether or
not low-range is selected and your
chosen hill-descent speed. Making its
debut on Discovery is head-up display,
though it needn’t have bothered. It’s
JLR’s familiar laser system, complete
with oddly dated and unattractive red/
green graphics. It’s not particularly nice
and never has a car needed a head-up
display less. By contrast the InControl
Touch Pro 10-inch touchscreen is
everything you hoped it’d be: crisp of
display, with sharp, responsive haptics
and intuitive functionality.
Aft of the front seats is a vast space to
configure as you see fit. Key to this is the much-vaunted Intelligent Seat Fold (standard on top-spec HSE Luxury), which
lets you stash or deploy the five rear seats using either the
InControl Touch Pro interface, a bank of switches in the left
side of the boot or the InControl app on your phone – sounds
like a gimmick, until you’ve actually tried wrestling seats into
submission, in the rain, with a large and impatient audience
watching on. Fold all five rear seats to create the world’s nicest
van and you’ve 2500 litres of load space. Stash the third row
and you’ve still 1231 litres. Legroom in row two is more than
generous, even with 6ft-plus adults up front.
All three rows get heated seats (cooled too on the first- and
second rows), climate control and USB charging ports. Needless to say there’s also onboard Wi-Fi, for peace and quiet.
Interior trim options include a choice of seven material
finishes, from brushed aluminium to charcoal oak, with five
standard interior colour combinations from vaguely practical
Ebony to indulgent, destined-to-be-besmirched Glacier. 

Myriad clever offroad displays look
like gimmicks…
until you get into the
really rough stuff

Big drive New Discovery

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

61

Big drive New Discovery

IT’LL STILL CROSS A N Y THING YOU AIM IT AT
It’s a dead end, surely. Ten minutes ago we slowed, selected
neutral, pushed the button for low-range (all UK Discoverys
get the two-speed transmission as standard, but for peak
off-road performance you’ll also want the active locking rear
diff, part of the Capability Plus Pack) and popped Terrain
Response 2 into Mud and Ruts, the third of the five modes,
between
bet
een the icons that look like ‘Drifting
Drifting In A Sno
Snowstorm
storm’
– Snow – and ‘Traversing a Native American Reservation’,
actually Sand. As the car rose on its pneumatics to 283mm of
clearance and Terrain Response’s brain recalibrated power
delivery, steering response and traction control algorithms, I
pointed the Discovery at a gap in the trees that looked to offer
only enormous potential for getting stuck.
But you soon realise it’s actually very difficult to get the new
Discovery stuck, even when it’s on standard all-season rubber
and your off-road CV includes such highlights as reversing
your lightly damaged Peugeot 205 out of a field in 1997…
Incongruously and surreally twinning serious off-road
ability with almost embarrassing luxury and civility (Range
Rover, anyone?), we ploughed on, the car’s belly occasionally
planing the muddy ridge between ruts while the traction control sent just enough of the V6’s smooth, generous drive to the
wheels. The dense, damp woodland blotted out the sun and
all sound bar the engine’s whisper and the occasional squelch
as the 255/50 R20 Goodyears moved aside mud and meltwater
to find purchase.
62

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

And all for nothing: it’s a dead end, surely… Ahead lies a
monstrous rockery of boulders; some the size of armchairs, all
encrusted with the overnight freeze this sun-forsaken corner
of Scottish wilderness looks destined to hang onto until May.
Terrain Response 2 goes into Rock Crawl and, in deference to
the seriousness of the situation, I knock off Radio 5 Live and
terminate my seat massage
massage.
The first metres are, relative to what’s to come, easy. Somehow the Discovery finds grip on a surface my spotter’s struggling to walk on while the air suspension keeps the precious
aluminium bodywork clear of the rocks. Then the boulders
get bigger, the gaps between them yawn to chasms and we’re
into the kind of stuff that’d make a Qashqai cash-out. We’re
making full use of the Discovery’s clearance angles (34°
approach, 27.5° breakover, 30° departure) and its generous
500mm of wheel articulation, its wishbones and driveshafts
splayed like the limbs of a crash-landed ski jumper. But the
real star is the Terrain Response system, and how it can tease
forward motion from 2.3 tonnes of metal.
‘This is definitely the most capable Land Rover off-road
ever, and a good step on from the previous generation,’ Collins says. ‘We’ve got fantastic wheel articulation, the weight
saving helps, and we’re bringing in a lot of the electronic
technologies – Terrain Response 2 allows us to take hardware
to another level. We have the twin-speed transfer box and a
permanent four-wheel-drive system – a lot of our competition

effectively use torque-on-demand systems. We can bias
torque from the extremes of 63:37 front/rear to 23:77, so we
can really play tunes on- and off-road with torque distribution round the car.’
The real juice here is the systems’ sensitivity and clarity
of communication with you, the squishy human with your
foot nervously twitching on the loud pedal. Discovery is not
a vehicle lineage built on crisp man/machine interaction
but right now, the car spread-eagled over what looks like
a quarter-scale model of the Himalayas, I can feel it all: the
point at which the transmission begins to ever so softy take
up the slack. The nudge forward, then a slur of wheelspin. The
positivity as the rear differential locks up. The extra drive the
car needs as I breathe a litter harder on the crisp throttle. And

the triumphant but gentle rise and fall as we clear the rock
upon which moments ago we were foundered.
Here, in this beautiful wilderness, the Discovery goes on
impressing. When the track plunges into a muddy pool that’d
be chest-high to wade on foot, I don’t think twice. Hill descent
takes the reins on the way in, the car’s 900mm wading depth
gives the confidence to use some speed and, as floating ice
parts around our prow like lily pads displaced by a swan, we
sail serenely through. Out the other side water plumes from
the two exhausts like jet washes while gallons more flood
from the underside of the car like Skywalker’s X-wing raised
from the dank lakes of Dagobah.
Gone soft? Not a chance. If you’re brave enough, the car’s
good enough.

900mm wading
depth? Somerset
Levels ’ere we come

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

63

YOU CA N BU Y ONE
W ITHOUT H AV ING
TO OW N A R EFINERY
The marked weight reduction sees the
introduction of a four-cylinder engine
in the Discovery for the first time, the
sequential, variable geometry twin-turbo
2.0-litre Ingenium four-cylinder diesel
with 237bhp.
‘It’s the first application of this engine,
which emits 159g/km CO2, so a 22%
improvement over the existing diesel
engine,’ explains Nick Collins. Cylinder
snobs might want to pause a moment
before strutting past the four for the
3.0-litre V6 diesel. Peak torque for the
Sd4 engine is 368lb ft at 1500rpm, so
hardly a kitten compared with the six’s
443lb ft from 1750rpm, and 44.8mpg
(combined) and 165g/km CO2 are of
an altogether more affordable order of
magnitude. 0-60mph still comes up
in a hardly tardy 8.0sec – the V6 diesel
Discovery 4 took 8.8sec. New V6 diesel
Discovery does it in 7.7sec.
If you do happen to own a
petrochemical refinery, perhaps you
should consider the Si6 petrol V6:
335bhp, 0-60mph in 6.9sec and 26mpg
if you’re very, very lucky. ZF’s superb
i ht
d t i t d di

IT’S STUFFED
WITH TECH, MOST
OF IT USEFUL

Land Rover Discovery Td6 HSE Luxury
>

>
>
>

>
>
>

Switches in boot
let you fold the
seats and lower air
suspension

64 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Big drive New Discovery

THE STAGE IS SET FOR DEFENDER 2
In the past Discovery’s been a more
ned Defender with road manners.
w Defender’s dead and Discovery’s
ved toward Range Rover without
rificing its off-road ability, and the
ge is set for one of the toughest
quels in history: Defender 2.
We’ve got this thing called Defender
ming, and we might find that some
scovery 4] customers move to that,’

explains McGovern. ‘Discovery [4] was
out of whack with creating a family of
Discoverys that are more universally
appealing and sexier. Our customers
have long been telling us they wanted the
car to be more premium. With Defender
out there you’ll see the bigger picture.’
But whatever happens with Defender in
the future, Discovery is a hugely capable,
very convincing car right now.

| SUBSC RIB E & G E T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR

65

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Mini’s limited-run John Cooper Works
Challenge is a race-bred, track-ready
hatch with a thing for corners. And on
the way up to the highest road in the
Alps there are one or two of those…
B

W

|

| Ph

hy B

d

Hard drive Mini JCW Challenge

T

WO DECADES OF conditioning
are not easily shrugged off. UK
roads nurture a certain paranoia
when it comes to speed; you learn
to pick your time and place, and to
heed gut feel. So when the autobahn signs south of Munich give
us the all clear, I’m not quite sure
what to do. Moments later, as I’m
pondering what kind of a number
to dial up on the Mini’s speedo, an
LP610-4 Huracan screams past in
a wall of noise, chasing its 8500rpm redline in fifth gear down
the hot, white concrete.
A double-press of the Bluetooth controller stashed in one
of the Challenge’s cupholders cranks the JCW Pro exhaust’s

baffles wide open. Doing so doesn’t give the thing any more
power (the Challenge leaves the JCW’s 228bhp turbo 2.0-litre
four unchanged) but when you’re up against a Lamborghini V10
you need all the noise you can get.
Foot to the floor and we blast past the ton, unlimited motorway snaking away in the mirrors at a surreal rate. 120mph.
Beyond the distant trees, mountains jut into the flawless blue
sky like an unconvincing movie backdrop. 130mph. The Mini is
reassuringly composed, hunkered low on its gum-sticky Michelins and dealing with bumps and compressions admirably for
a car developed for the track. 140mph. Ten seconds ago my
mirrors were clear. Now there’s a white E-class tucked so tight
into my slipstream we’re kissing numberplates.
Deferentially, I slide out of his way. Unleashed, he sets off
after the speck of red Lamborghini on the horizon. And I bide
my time. Out here, on these straight lines, we’ve no hope
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

69

Race Minis:
3 ways to
Challenge
Which tier of
Mini’s one-make
series has your
name on it?

JCW
The car: 275bhp,
lightened ’shell,
Quaife sequential
’box, limited-slip
diff, adjustable rear
control arms and
3-way dampers,
17-inch rims
How much? £9000
entry fee, £45,540
for the car

ar: 1.6-litre
turbo engines,
220bhp, slick tyres,
adjustable toe, ride
height and camber,
limited-slip diff, 17inch rims
How much? £7200
entry fee, £17,500
for the car (used)

ooper
The car: Singleway adjustable
dampers, 1.6-litre
engine, adjustable
toe and ride height,
15-inch rims
How much? £7200
entry fee, £10k for
the car (used)
70

against either the Lamborghini or the 35 other 350bhp+ sports borghini and Audi V10s, force-charged Ferrari V8, sonorous
cars on the rally we’ve gatecrashed, the Allgäu Classics rally; a AMG V8s and the snarl of a pack of V6 Jaguar F-types. Thanks
kind of smaller, much friendlier Gumball as keen on over-eat- to the traffic we’ve caught the pack again, and just in time: this,
ing as oversteer. But we’ll be into those playing field-levelling finally, is the good stuff.
From Sellrain our route works its way west and upward, the
mountains soon enough.
The Mini JCW Challenge is an intriguing animal. The world growing brighter, more starkly lit and wilder with every
name’s borrowed from Mini’s long-established one-make race mile climbed. The AMG GTs are on point up front, either ignoseries, which aims to both build the brand’s sporting credentials rant of the many police speed checks we’ve passed or entirely
and, via its class-based structure, take drivers from racing debut unfazed. Being Munich men it seems they’ve simply got local
to near Touring-Car pace on a smooth if expensive learning knowledge: stick to the limits on the busy valley routes and let
curve. The upgrades permitted on the racecars have inspired the the cars off the leash on the climbs. With this new-found freeJohn Cooper Works Challenge road car, a very limited edition dom they’re gone, their engines’ thunderous reports echoing
(likely 100 in total, with 2016’s 50-car build run sold out) halo across the stillness like an invisible storm.
Ahead of me the yolk-yellow R8 hasn’t disappeared and we’re
model and the brainchild of a couple of enthusiast engineers at
Mini UK and Nicholas Griebner, who’s been in charge of Mini in a nice seven-tenths groove, or at least he is – I’m flat-stick.
product in the UK since March 2015 and who races in Germa- Long uphill drags feed into knotted coils of hairpins. I’ve had
the windows down since we left the autobahn: out here, today, a
ny’s VLN series.
The Challenge road car is both intriguing and spiced with snooze and sunburn are bigger threats than exposure. And the
intriguing contradictions. The specification of the additional noise is fantastic, his V10 short-shifting lazily but loudly while
race-proven componentry is top drawer: multi-adjustable my turbo four-cylinder blares under full load like a BTCC racer.
dampers (damping, ride height, front camber) from British sup- And when we slow for corners both cars cackle and pop like a
pliers Nitron worth some £2750, Mintex fast-road brake pads crate of dropped fireworks. The tang of hot brakes hangs in the
within the JCW’s already vast Brembo calipers, forged black otherwise pristine mountain air.
At the top of the pass is the town of Kühtai: refuge and ski
17-inch Team Dynamics wheels wearing Michelin Cup 2 tyres
and a Quaife limited-slip differential. Were you to try to build destination in winter, sun-soaked idyll today. Out in the sun
a Challenge from your JCW (which you can’t – Nitron build on the terrace, lunch is inappropriately enormous. If we’d
the dampers for Mini, not for general sale), Mini reckons you’d walked here we’d be able to justify the calories. As it is, a bit of
spend at least £10,000. But the fact remains this is a 228bhp wheel-twirling and gear-shifting hasn’t made enough room
front-wheel-drive hatch that costs moree than a 345bhp Focus RS for a surfboard of cured meats and cheese, a goulash you could
and comes in just £2k shy of the 306bhp VW Golf Clubsport S, build walls with and a plate of Kaiserschmarrn, a stodgy delight
current front-drive ’Ring record holder, no less. And while the comprising shredded pancake, mountains of whipped cream
Challenge’s ethos and limited build run call to mind cars like and token fruit.
Half asleep, the Mini and I line up for the day’s best road:
the R26R and Trophy R Renaultsport Meganes, not to mention
Mini’s own GPs, the Challenge retains its rear seats, sound a ribbon of fresh black tarmac laid as a private road to the
deadening and infotainment, so while it’s more practical, it dammed reservoir high above the town, Speicher Finstertal. We
run one car at a time, hillclimb style. Here, with open sight lines
lacks their sense of occasion.
But there’s method in the madness. After all, if you’re going and a liberating lack of oncoming traffic, I can really start
to put up with just two seats, why not just buy a
sports car? And while the Challenge may be all
but unsilenced with the exhaust in race mode,
The Alps on days
double-press the Bluetooth button and it drops
like these: half
quiet. The seats offer strong lateral support but
driving bliss, half
dawdling behind
they’re also deeply padded and all-day comfortacampervans
ble. The adjustable suspension may let you tweak
the balance and stance of the car when you’re
chasing tenths but it also delivers an acceptable
ride on its road settings. And the strong residuals
of Mini’s GP specials would suggest depreciation
on the Challenge will be exceedingly mild.
The wide-open, fuel-slaying speeds of Germany ended half an hour ago at the Austrian
order. Suddenly 70mph feels like walking. The
oing’s stickier as we skirt the towns of Reutte
nd Garmish Partenkirchen before curling south
st Innsbruck and on towards the mountains.
he main routes are clogged with tourist traffic:
clumps of campervans and tour coaches being
endlessly leap-frogged by packs of motorcycles
and brave souls in sports cars. The weather is
perfect, the sun flooding a landscape of forests,
lakes and peaks with light and warmth. Between
the campervans lower, noisier silhouettes move
when they can, seizing upon gaps in the oncoming traffic to surge ahead in a wall of noise: Lam-

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Hard drive Mini JCW Challenge

Heckling cattle:
‘But you could have
a Focus RS for the
same money!’

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

71

Speedy company
includes F-types,
AMG GTs and a
couple of 911s

Challenge’s bumbasic, screen-less
infotainment saves
a bit of weight and
feels right

Adjustable Nitron setup neutral as standard.
Mechanical handbrake
comes in handy

‘The Challenge is my baby’: Mini man Nicholas Griebner
> ‘I’ve been two decades
with Mini. I started with BMW
group in 1997 and I remember
the discussions around the
original new Mini that was
in development, the Frank
Stephenson car.’
> ‘Originally I worked in the
French and German markets,
and when I started to race the
R60 and R63 Cooper S, this is
where my love for the brand
started. This was the early
days of JCW tuning kits. Since

72

then John Cooper Works has
evolved into a separate entity.’
> ‘228bhp in a car that weighs
about 1200kg gives strong
performance, and if we’d
increased the power we’d
have had to look at things
like cooling, meaning a much
longer development time.’
> ‘In some ways it would
have been easier to put in
polycarbonate rear windows
and remove the back seats but
for me the hot hatch is a car

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

with compelling performance
that isn’t compromised for
daily use. I have two kids and
I drive my JCW on a daily basis.’
> ‘I wanted additional feeling
through the seat and steering,
and this is something you
mainly achieve through the
additional camber. We’ve got
-2° degrees on the front, so
when you go into a corner
you’ve got much more feel
because you have grip across
the whole width of the tyre.’

> ‘The base set-up lets the
less experienced driver enjoy
the car, but when they’ve
done some trackdays and got
some experience they are also
able to adjust the suspension,
whether in terms of ride
height or damping. Separate
adjustable damping is too
complicated – we thought
the best compromise to give
adjustment in an intelligent
way was to offer combined
compression and rebound.’

Hard drive Mini JCW Challenge

|

At 2830m the
Ötztal glacier
road is the second
highest in Europe

The road soars
steeply from Sölden
to the highest
road in the Alps

the power just as soon as you
can, however counter-intuitive that may feel. The Quaife
is a marvel, leaving the car all
but uncorrupted by tugging
or torque-steer but pulling the
front end round neatly and, on
warm tyres, deploying all 228bhp to the road with just a smear
r Shift. Bang. Bwarrr.
r
of over-rotation. Shift. Bang. Bwarrrrrr.
Next morning the hotel car park hosts a compelling collection: dust-caked R8, bug-smeared 911 GT3 and grime-streaked
Maserati GranCabrio in the clear-as-meltwater dawn light.
This morning’s drive is another hillclimb, the road soaring
steeply from Sölden to the highest navigable road in the Alps.
Keen for the freedom to go at my own speed, the Challenge and
I muscle in near the front of the queue and roll with the AMG
GTs when the convoy moves out. Drive selector to Sport (a twist
of the big plastic ring around the gearlever), off with the stability control (a long press of one of the chunky switches either side
of the ignition switch), securely stash the peanut M&Ms and
we’re set.
I do hope he’s on commission. As Matthias Lenz and his
AMG GT S pass you can feel the data demand surge – phones
fly from pockets and AMG GT finance packages are hurriedly
looked over. I’ve been hitherto unconvinced by Affalterbach’s
911 rival but I now realise that’s simply because I haven’t seen
one being driven properly before. But Lenz is letting it all hang
out, his progress punctuated by clouds of kicked-up dust where
he uses the road’s full width and the happy screams of his pretty
passenger. And I’m tucked in behind, working hard.
We fly through dense pine, the morning light flashing
through the gloom. You’d think the AMG’s filthy V8 rasp
would obliterate my turbo four but the Mini’s Pro exhaust is
at least as loud and as laugh-out-loud silly. We dart along the
mountainside, still well below the treeline, skipping past timber
trucks and tractors and trying not to imagine leaving the road
on the drop-off side: they’d never find the black-box recorder, let
alone the car.
Braking is my chance to shrink the gap. Leaving it late, I’m

74

close when Lenz pivots the GT S into another uphill turn, its
twisted topography instantly setting the AMG’s rear axle wide.
That V8 does the rest, its easy shunt easily overwhelming the
Pirellis with a flare of revs and the screech of struggling rubber.
A flak-burst of sand further blots the smoke-filled air at the apex
and when it clears the AMG’s already pulling away, its impossibly curvaceous rear end squatting as the engine slung low in the
car’s apparently endless nose fires it up the road.
In truth we’re no slower through the corner, the Challenge
just as low on its equally sticky tyres and, with nearly half a
tonne less weight to control, less demanding on the laws of
physics. With barely a flourish of wheelspin we’re out of the
bend and flying again, that exhaust bark punctuating each shift
with a satisfying thud.
On we pile, upward, the palette turning from dark green
through sunlit grasses to bare rock, dirty white glacier and
scree. At the top, when Lenz and I kill the engines, the silence is
deafening. ‘It’s the S, the one with all the horsepower,’ he says
of the AMG. ‘It’s an Edition 1 car; I’ve owned it four months.
Before this I had a BMW i8. I love it but it’s more difficult to
drive fast than a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. They’re mid-engined, easier. When the tail comes around on the AMG it does
it quickly; it’s a dirty car!’
He spends a couple of minutes looking over the Challenge,
intrigued by its performance and bemused by the mix of serious
race componentry and cheesy Mini detailing, like the pointless
multi-coloured glowing ring around the infotainment. A
stripped and caged interior may be less practical but it’d be a
better fit with the Challenge’s ethos.
With the rally over, home is over 600 miles away across some
of Switzerland, most of France and half of England. Tomorrow
the Challenge and I will spend a long but painless day cruising
at the speed limit, the Mini bobbing purposefully on its springs
and proving pretty refined for a car destined to live between
painted kerbs and gravel traps. But first I’ll go for one last latenight run up today’s road, the Challenge relishing the cool air
and the chance to gorge on empty corners one more time before
the motorway monotony. All of which sounds like a balancing
act beautifully judged.

SUBSC RIB E & GE T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR | January 2017

Hard drive Mini JCW Challenge

Twist the ring
around the
gearlever to
switch drive
modes

FIA-approved
bobble hat not
a genuine Mini
accessory

>

>
>
>

>
>

>
>

+++++

Peak Mini excels in
Peak Europe, but
secretly craves the
flat smoothness of
the race circuit

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

75

INSIDE PEUGEOT SPORT

3008,
is that
76

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Inside Peugeot Sport

you?

Words Matt Joy | Photography Mark Riccioni

This Dakar racer’s claim to Peugeot 3008 DNA may be tenuous,
but its link to an illustrious past of rally, Le Mans and Pikes Peak
victories is not. CAR visits Peugeot Sport to find out more
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

77

Inside Peugeot Sport

E’RE SITTING JUST
200 yards from the Arc de Triomphe in a restaurant as comfortably Parisian as it is possible to be. Our companion for lunch is
Bruno Famin, director of Peugeot Sport. Tomorrow, his 3008
DKR racers will be shipped to Paraguay, ahead of the 2017
Dakar rally raid, which starts on January 2. Once there, the cars
and drivers will face a fortnight of abject misery, as Famin well
knows. On the 350-mile second stage of day two on Dakar 2016,
he recalls, in the middle of Argentina, the temperature was 55
degrees centigrade. Inside the car it was a mere 70 degrees.
‘The drivers were destroyed; [Stéphane] Peterhansel was
very slow at the end of the stage. I asked him what was wrong
and he just didn’t remember the last 30 miles; he was dead.
We didn’t believe it was important but now
we’re fully convinced it’s very important: air
conditioning.’
That might seem like a straightforward
decision but this is motorsport. An air-conditioning unit costs 10kg in weight and robs
precious horsepower, but Famin is wholly
convinced that the drop in driver performance without it is far more costly. These are
the challenges that come with the job.
Relocated to a nondescript office block
across Paris at Velizy-Villacoublay, we walk
through plain ’80s décor that could just as
easily be the home of a finance house or
Slough paper merchants. It’s not until you
wander into Famin’s office that the small
differences become apparent. Rather than
ISO9001 awards, behind his desk sit his
most prized trophies: a trio of statues from Le
Mans, two second places and overall victory
in 2009. On the wall opposite are winners’
trophies from the 2016 Dakar and Silk Way events. ‘Sébastien
[Loeb] has both trophies from Pikes Peak,’ says Famin: ‘One for
first place, and one for fastest rookie.’ You’d think he’d have run
out of space.
Peugeot might not be the first name that springs to mind if
you’re drawing up a mental list of manufacturers with glorious
motorsport histories, but that’s only because you’ve not given
it enough thought. Peugeot has significant victories on its CV,
most notably being the first non-American manufacturer to win
the Indy 500 in 1913, ’16 and ’19 as well as significant history with
the Safari Rally in the 1960s and ’70s.

But it was the formation of Peugeot Talbot Sport in 1981 with
Jean Todt at the helm that marked a turning point. Todt had
just won the World Rally Championship constructor’s title and
finished runner-up in the driver’s standings as co-pilot to Guy
Fréquelin; PSA CEO Jean Boillot recognised how his tactical
and organisational nous could be applied to running a motorsport arm. Within three years Peugeot’s first in-house WRC programme was ready to go, and it ignited the sport in an instant.
Thirty-five years on and there’s been plenty of wins across
several disciplines, but Peugeot Sport has a special relationship
with the Dakar, taking the fifth of its five overall victories in
January 2016. ‘We are doing our cross-country programme with
two main races, the Dakar and the Silk Road Rally,’ explains
Famin. ‘It’s for two reasons; to communicate about our brand
and to communicate about our products. With the 905 [Le
Mans] programme we raced 32 times against Audi – we won 24.
Nobody knows. Even inside the group nobody knows. The aim
is to communicate. Motorsport is a media, we are competing
against other media – it’s very special media of course.’
We head downstairs and cross a narrow courtyard to the other
side of the building. It’s narrower than usual today because there
are three support trucks parked outside, each one being loaded
with enough kit to keep four cars on the move
in the most challenging conditions on Earth.
Through the workshop door and you’re
struck by thatt smell; the smell of motorsport;
warmed oil and the smell of hand-cut tyres
mixed with thousands of hours of zealous eff
fort. It’s busy like a rail terminus on a Friday
evening here, as three of the unfinished 3008
DKR rally cars are being worked on while
other team members are bubble-wrapping
and packing away enough carbonfibre body
panels to reclothe an armada of them.
There’s also a palpable sense of history
within these anonymous walls. It was the
birthplace of some of the most spectacular
and successful competition cars ever conceived, their achievements immortalised in
the giant chrome trophies scattered among
tools and personnel.
The 3008 DKR is the car created to defend
Peugeot’s Dakar crown, and it is not a machine without purpose. It’s all meat and no pastry, staring you
squarely in the eye as you go nose-to-nose with it, the Peugeot
grille squeezed and stretched into a sinister grin. Famin explains
how the looks aren’t designed just for intimidation: ‘We worked
on the body to give it the new shape of the 3008 SUV and to
improve the aerodynamics. We believe this is very important
because the average speed is not so slow and because adequate
cooling is a big problem. We need very good cooling without
having drag.’
As well as the aero changes, the 3008 has revised suspension
over 2016’s Dakar winner, the 2008 DKR, and an engine 

‘Peugeot
Sport took
the fifth
of its five
overall Dakar
victories in
January 2016’

78

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Unfashionably for a
Dakar car, the 3008
DKR is rear-wheel
drive, not AWD

205 T16 established
Peugeot Sport’s
fearsome reputation

Pug’s rallying pedigree
Peugeot Sport first entered rallying in
1984, during the white-heat of Group
B, a period dominated by the Audi
Quattro. The 205 T16 had two key
advantages: it was significantly lighter
and it was mid-engined, the 205 being
more manoeuvrable than the noseheavy Quattro. It also had a significant
power advantage thanks to its fierce
turbocharged inline-four engine. The
205 T16 took three victories in ’84,
seven the following year and with it
the drivers’ and constructors’ titles
with Timo Salonen at the wheel. The
E2 T16 repeated the twin titles in 1986
with Juha Kankkunen taking the spoils.
There were yet more trophies in the
WRC era, with the Peugeot 206 taking
the drivers’ title in 2000 and 2002
with a hat-trick of manufacturers’ cups
over the same period. If you want a
fast rally car, you know where to come.

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

79

Inside Peugeot Sport

Former Dakar biker
Despres, happily
pictured with both
legs pointing in the
same direction...

Composite
bodywork weighs
nothing but it’s
fragile – team takes
beaucoup spares

Peterhansel –
proven Dakar
hard man and ace
reverse-parking
supervisor

80 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Climb dancing at Pikes Peak
Peugeot Sport’s first tilt at the legendary
Pikes Peak hillclimb was with a heavily
modified 205 T16 featuring a longer
wheelbase and loads more aero,
packing 550bhp into just 850kg.
Mechanical maladies meant Walter
Röhrl and Audi pipped Ari Vatanen to
first place in ’87, but second, third and
fourth showed the potential. Peugeot
Sport returned the following year with
a bigger weapon; the 405 T16 allowed
an even longer wheelbase for more
stability and a bigger engine with
variable valve-timing now nudging
700bhp. Vatanen was not to be denied,
shaving 0.6sec off Röhrl’s time to set a
course record that stood for five years,
his run was immortalised in the film
‘Climb Dance’. Robby Unser won it again
in 1989.
As with most of the motorsport
disciplines it’s entered, Peugeot Sport
came back for a second crack, this time
rocking up with the 208 T16. Weighing
a paltry 875kg but sporting a 3.2-litre
twin-turbo V6 with 875bhp – yes,
that’s 1000bhp per tonne – as well as
the wing, transmission and carbon
brakes from its 908 LMP1 car. They
also brought along Sébastien Loeb,
presumably bored of winning WRC
titles, who promptly took 1min 33sec off
the course record.

Inside Peugeot Sport

Pug’s Dakar programme
targeted reliability,
drivability and improved
suspension on this year’s car

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

81

Rear-drive
allows lower
weight, bigger
wheels and
more ground
clearance

3.0-litre V6
twin-turbo
diesel offers
modest 343bhp
but 590lb ft

Unstressed
body panels
are thin for
lightness and
keep spares out
of airflow
Twin
springs and
dampers at
each corner give
absurd 460mm
of travel

905, 908: track and field
Peugeot Sport proved its talents
went beyond rallying with the 905
endurance racer, which combined
a carbonfibre monocoque with a
3.5-litre V10 unit that would go on
to power McLaren’s F1 cars in 1994.
The car really showed its potential
with the 905B – better aero and more
power gave the 905B the pace to
take consecutive 1-2 finishes at the
final two races, enough to secure
second place in the 1991 World
Sportscar Championship. The 905B
Evo won Le Mans in ’92 and ’93.
After a decade off, Peugeot
returned with the 908, Bruno Famin’s
personal highlight of 20 years with
Peugeot Sport: ‘I was there at the
very beginning of the project as a
technical director. I came back in
2005 to start the 908. I have a special
personal feeling with that project.’

Tyre pressures can
be tweaked on the
fly for maximum
grip – clever

82

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Peugeot Sport
removals – cool
trucks, faster than
Pickfords

Inside Peugeot Sport

Air-con
essential to keep
the crew in peak
condition in the
desert heat

Multiple
displays
include rearfacing camera for
escaping from
sand dunes

tuned for dune-slaying low-end torque.
Dakar 2017 throws a curveball into the already challenging
mix with a dramatic increase in altitude. Half the race will
take place at around 4000m (13,000ft) as it skirts the Andes.
Every 100m of altitude costs one percent of engine performance
while the stipulated air restrictor means you can’t just ramp up
the boost; at times competitors will be running on 60% power.
The reduced density of the air also has an aerodynamic impact,
reducing downforce.
‘But the main point is the brakes,’ says
Famin. (Less dense air at altitude is less eff
fective at cooling the brakes, while the fluid’s
boiling point is also lowered). ‘The drivers
have to be careful because you have to brake
earlier, but the brain also has less air so the
time of reaction is not the same. They have to
allow for these things. This is why experience
is so important on the Dakar.’
Scan down Peugeot’s driver list and you
can see what he means. Stéphane Peterhansel
has missed only one Dakar since 1988, taking
six wins on motorcycles. Last year he added
his sixth victory in a car, making him the
most successful Dakar competitor in history.
Cyril Despres has ten Dakar podium finishes
including five wins to his name, plus the Silk
Way victory in 2016. Carlos Sainz you may
have heard of, and then there’s Mr Loeb.
‘It’s quite a long time since Sébastien has
surprised me anymore; he is amazing, incredible,’ says Famin.
‘The fact that he was fast was everything but a surprise [Loeb’s
first Dakar was the 2016 event, with Peugeot]. As a newcomer he
made a couple of mistakes, which is normal. But his capabilities
and adaptation are incredible.’
Peterhansel may have passed his 51st birthday but his enthusiasm for the event is borderline undignified for a man of his age
and success. ‘It’s never the same!’ he says. ‘In the beginning it was
in Africa, but also in Africa every year was different conditions,

now we are in South America and it’s also different every year.
You never know what will happen! It’s still an adventure, it’s still
my passion and a big part of my life.’
Teammate Cyril Despres knows all about this, having been
through his fair share of adventures during his motorcycle years.
His first Dakar in a car with Peugeot saw him finish 34th, but last
year he came in a highly creditable 7th. He explains it’s harder to
navigate in the car, less comfortable with the heat and has lost
2kg of muscle from each leg, but his record of
finishing 13 Dakars from 14 starts on a bike
speaks for itself. ‘In 2002 I broke a little part
of the handlebar and crashed, dislocating
my hip. I was lying on the floor thinking,
“Oh, I’m lucky, everything is okay!” I tried to
stand up but couldn’t.’ Despres mimes one leg
pointing one way and the other facing in an
entirely different direction…
Peugeot are one of the favourites for the
2017 Dakar, with proven technology, the full
backing of the company and an incredible
talent pool behind the wheel. But Famin
has been here before and knows that the
rear-wheel-drive concept flies in the face of
conventional logic. ‘The goal for 2017 is victory of course,’ he says. ‘Dakar 2017 is going
to be very hard because of the new route and
because of the competition, which is very
strong. We are going to fight for the victory
first. All we know is that before we get to the
finish many things will happen. There is a saying that it is the
race that chooses the winning driver; it’s not true but there is
some truth in it. Last year Stéphane did well but he also made
some mistakes, he was quite lucky at that time. If we have at least
one in the right place at the right time I will be happy.’
@MJMattJoy

‘Stéphane
Peterhansel
is the most
successful
Dakar
competitor
in history’

The 2017 Dakar starts on January 2 and finishes in Buenos Aires on
January 14. More information at dakar.com

January 2017 | SUBSC RIB E & GE T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR

83

Twin test BMW 530d vs Merc E350d

|

|

Remember, semi-autonomous
Driving Assistant Plus is optional

Optional Display Key allows remote operation
of climate control, and to check if windows or
doors are open, fuel level and more

86

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Twin test BMW 530d vs Merc E350d

HE MERCEDES E-CLASS laid down
quite the marker when it launched
earlier this year. Buyers got more space
thanks to a 43mm longer body with an
extra 65mm between the wheels; more
power and better economy; a similarly
giant leap in interior quality that we
witnessed with the C-class; and there
was tech galore, with a widescreen
instrument display, autonomous lanechange capability, car-to-infrastructure communication and
much more. Mercedes called it ‘the most intelligent business
saloon’, and with some justification.
Along with the refreshed C- and S-class, the new E has been a
key weapon in Mercedes’ – likely successful – battle to overtake
BMW for the global premium sales crown by the year’s end. Munich, clearly, has not taken this lightly. It’s been busily re-loading
the arsenal in a product counter-attack: first the 7-series, now
this, the new 5-series.
The 5-series might not have the exotic carbonfibre core of the
latest 7-series, but the seventh-generation model is up to 100kg
lighter than its predecessor thanks to a multi-material mix of
aluminium, high-strength steel and even magnesium. That’s
despite it being some 36mm longer, 6mm wider and 2mm taller,
with a 7mm stretch to the wheelbase to unlock interior space.
It’s roomier, faster, more frugal, and, says BMW, more refined
and quieter too. It’s also loaded with tech, including a 10.25-inch
touchscreen that you can interact with via the iDrive rotary
control, Gesture Control or by talking at it. There are endless
driver-assistance systems too, including stuff to keep you in –
and autonomously steer you from – your lane.
At launch, a 530i, 540i xDrive or 520d or 530d (the diesels both
offered optionally with xDrive) are available. For this showdown, we’re pitching 530d xDrive against Mercedes’ E350d.
The BMW’s 261bhp/457lb ft straight six plays the Mercedes’
254bhp/457lb ft. But, more importantly in this battle for your
company-car cash, 60.1mpg and 124g/km CO2 (or 53.2mpg and
138g/km CO2 in xDrive trim) plays the Merc’s 55.4mpg/133g/
km. Prices start from £43,835 for a non-xDrive BMW, £44,130
for the Mercedes.
The top three brand values typically associated with the
three-pointed star are quality, safety and comfort. In contrast,
the BMW roundel stands for performance, driving pleasure and
design. But if this match is anything to go by, these parameters
require revision. Design? Like the 7-series, the new 5-series is a
textbook example of nicely put together blandness. Timeless
styling may be a good thing, but not when a brand-new product
looks three years old. The E-class is a bigger C-class or a smaller
S-class, depending on the eye of the beholder. While it may be
pretty, functional and well proportioned, distinctive it is not.
Inside, BMW has finally caught up with the level of material
quality and craftsmanship Audi and Mercedes have been
cultivating for decades. While the cockpit of the 530d tends to
prioritise driver-focused essentials, the cabin of its opponent is
a beautifully executed exercise in flamboyant traditional luxury.
What about the driving dynamics? We’re about to find out.
The first leg of our journey takes us to the autobahn, where
it’s a dead-heat between Munich and Stuttgart. Top speed is
electronically capped, directional stability gives no reason for
concern and in-gear acceleration kicks butt relentlessly. This is
also a chance to put both cars’ infotainment systems and myriad
semi-autonomous driver aids to the test.
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

87

5-series might have
all-wheel drive, but
it still throws shapes

|

Twin test BMW 530d vs Merc E350d

Design even safer
than driver aids.
Could be last-gen
5-series vs S-class

The 530d collects extra Brownie points for its comprehensiveErgonomically, both leave much to be desired. Although
BMW in particular has pushed voice control to a new level, ly soundproofed running gear, the well suppressed wind- and
complexity remains the name of the game, distraction is a big- tyre noise, and the trademark straight six, which drinks diesel
ger-than-ever issue, and safety is suffering in an age that should but talks with almost the same velvety voice as its petrol sibling.
Although Mercedes has over many years done a fine job
be more safety-conscious than ever. The BMW’s electronic epicentre, for instance, can be accessed via touchscreen, iDrive and evolving the legacy of Rudolf Diesel, the V6 tested here is still a
steering wheel, but the process is a real challenge for uneducated relatively old-school powerplant, frugal but not exactly smooth.
Idle speed is vaguely reminiscent of a distant truck at tickover;
fingers and a confused brain.
Both cars are crammed with super-intelligent assistance noise, vibration and harshness are undercover brothers-in-arms;
systems capable of mapping the route to fully autonomous plentiful low-end torque (457lb ft from 1600-2400rpm) has
driving, introducing new automatisms to change lanes or stay in priority over high revs (254bhp at 3400rpm) and brisk throttle
lane, accelerate and brake while respecting distances and speed response. Of course, that’s all fine and dandy for coasting at
leisure, watching cobwebs grow around the shift paddles. But
limits, parking the car and later helping you find it.
Temporary eyes- and hands-off the wheel is an integral part in terms of finesse, quietness and seamless performance, the
of the so-called Driving Assistant Plus BMW is introducing BMW engine has the edge. Note that Mercedes will switch from
with the new 5-series. Although it covers speeds up to 130mph, V6 to straight six later in 2017.
Few will demand more from their mid-sized execs than a
I find myself sweating at 50-70mph in self-driving mode, eyes
alternatingly roaming the small steering-wheel symbol in the high-speed autobahn schlep and a quick-ish cross-country run,
instrument panel, the green-lane demarcations next to it, and but in the name of research we headed to a secluded six-mile
climb from the river Danube to the lower edge of the picturesque
the real road ahead for reassurance. Brave new world, indeed.
Swapping cars means briefly adjusting the approach, but Mühlviertel, a perfect staging ground for ‘The great German
the underlying technology is similar. Like the 5-series, the torque versus French tyres shootout’. The topographic menu inE-class can be equipped with numerous driver aids designed to cludes fresh blacktop, zero traffic and long straights followed by
make life easier and safer in heavy traffic. Active cruise control fast sweepers which invariably climax in second-gear hairpins.
accomplishes both missions, except the system tends to mistake If you wanted to put a number on paradise, it would be the B2367
slip roads for a clear piece of motorway, which forces you to from Jochenstein to Gottsdorf.
In the BMW, the stability-control off button and the drive
brake twice as hard to slow the self-accelerating vehicle. Computer-controlled lane discipline works well until the lane starts mode selector required to dial in Sport or Sport Plus are posito bend and tighten, at which point Scotty must swiftly re-take tioned next to the gear lever. In the Benz, the stability-control
control. Closing gaps automatically is another well-intentioned function can be found on the first level of the menu labelled ‘car’.
feature, which tends to be thwarted in real life by queue jumpers On the transmission tunnel, there is a direct-access toggle switch
to tweak the dynamic DNA. Piece of cake.
and late brakers.
The V6-engined Mercedes is an entertaining bit of kit. It
Not surprisingly, confidence dips as car and driver disagree
on whether, when and how to react. Since software and sensors approaches the first right-hander with stoic steadfastedness,
are of the essence here, 530d edges slightly older E350d in terms puts the nose down under hard braking and turns-in with
of smooth, progressive action. But after several
hours of semi-autonomous trial and error, frustration sets in, off buttons are pressed, and we seek
TECH VOODOO DEMYSTIFIED
out roads to reveal how these cars actually drive.
While the BMW has conventional springs and
BMW’s Integral Active Steering
dampers, the E-class is, like C- and S-class, availaFour-wheel steering isn’t new – Skylines and
ble with air suspension. It’s only on second-rate BPreludes were fitted with it over two decad
and C-roads dotted with corners, dips and crests
– but Integral Active Steering is relatively fre
to BMW. Instead of being fixed, the rear whee
that the 530d starts pulling away. Grip is not the
move by up to three degrees. Below 36mph, th
decider here, but the BMW’s more switched-on
front and rear wheels turn in opposite directions
handling does make a difference. More surprisfor extra manoeuvrability. Above 36mph, they
turn in the same direction, enhancing stability.
ingly, the new 5-series is also quieter and smoother
riding. While the E350d copes very well with long
Merc’s widescreen infotainment
undulations and longitudinal grooves, it feels less
Available optionally, Merc offers twin 12.3-inch screens
comfortable over ripples, edges and cracks.
under a shared glass cover. One is the instrument
Although the absorption talents of the E-class
binnacle with digital dials, the other the infotainment
are devoid of uncouthness, the Mercedes feels
display. You can tailor the layouts to your liking. These
aren’t touchscreens. Instead they’re controlled by the
a little more wooden, a trifle less composed,
rotary Comand dial or you can scrawl characters – a
plop-plopping more audibly through potholes.
postcode, say – on the touchpad hovering over it. Or
Switching the set-up from Sport to Comfort
use the touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel.
increases wheel travel and overall suppleness, but
The battle of the straight-sixes
fails to pad the air suspension with extra pillows.
The Mercedes loses the engine war this time, it
Stepping back into the BMW means shaking
inherently less smooth than BMW’s creamy stra
your head in disbelief. The 5-series feels tauter
six. But Mercedes were once fitted with straigh
and better connected, and it filters irritations
and will be again soon. The new straight-six die
and impulses more efficiently, not by means
will use a 48-volt electrical system and, in its se
iteration, may switch to an e-compressor (right)
of eiderdowns but through enhanced physical
Working in tandem with the regular turbo, it wo
compliance. The above-par ride quality degrades
deliver extra boost from 1000-3000rpm, elimin
only from excellent to good as you flick the drive
lag, and any need for a sequential turbocharge
controller from Comfort to Sport.
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

89

Both superb quality, both laden with tech
you‘ll still be fathoming come facelift time

Twin 12.3-inch
widescreens are
optional in E350d

obedience, the front-wheels eyeing the apex, the rear wheels
screaming for entertainment. It definitely stimulates one’s
hooligan vibes. Taking off a bit of lock whilst adding a little
more torque is all it takes to stage a gracious four-wheel slide
undisturbed by an electronic watchdog that cannot be entirely
disengaged.
In spite of the optional air suspension labelled Air Body Control, lean and roll are quite emphatic, and so is the brief wriggle
that terminates the cornering performance.
Our 530d is fitted with xDrive, which duly steps back a couple
of paces the instant stability control exits the stage. Reeling in
the road between bends, the BMW feels flatter and better tied
down than the E-class as well as more focused and less like a
four-door notchback. Its steering is quicker, lighter and more
switched on, even if the fat rim could do with less padding.
The key difference is that this particular 5-series steerss as well
as drives with all four wheels thanks to Integral Active Steering.
A feature worth having? Yes, not necessarily for the quicker turnin but for the more inspiring interaction between axles. Instead
of following a set radius, the rear wheels live, within limits, a life
of their own. The bottom-line benefit is a mix of higher cornering speed, better agility, quicker feedback and enhanced grip.
While ticking boxes, one should also specify Dynamic Damper Control, which comes with the adaptive drive-mode selector.
The benefit of Dynamic Drive, BMW-speak for adjustable anti-roll bars, is on the other hand less obvious. It adds weight and
won’t work in combination with Integral Active Steering.
Stability still deactivated, the new four-wheel-steer 5-series
requires smaller steering inputs to change direction, and there
is no pronounced weight transfer needed to kickstart the skating
action. Creaminess is the first word that comes to mind when the
530d morphs from carving to drifting, describing one clean arc

90 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

after the other as if guided by a pair of curve templates,
signing the road here and there with fine black rubber
crescents. While the E-class requires a heavy right foot
and two quick arms to shed its in-built stateliness and
composure, playfulness is second nature to the BMW.
The damage? During our two-day journey through
Lower Bavaria, Upper Austria and the Czech Republic,
our tyres were a little more worn than 600 miles would
suggest, and BMW edged Mercedes at the pumps 29.0 to
27.4mpg. Not bad for a pair of hard-charging upmarket
repmobiles, but the fact that our own numbers virtually
half the makers’ claims is cause for concern.
So, time to choose our winner. Splendid isolation
used to be a cornerstone of every product signed off in
Untertürkheim and Sindelfingen, but that was at a
time when many Mercedes owners wore coat and tie,
a hat and, more often than not, a full face nourished by
r In 2016, the marque wants to
the Wirtschaftswunder.
be young and trendy, cool and digital, progressive and
future-oriented. No wonder that current Mercedes are
emphatically extrovert, aggressively techy and, on demand, expressively sporty. Matching this brief to perfection, the new E-class has become more driver-oriented,
efficient, sustainable and chic. Compared with A6 and
XF, the Merc remains comfort king, but the new 5-series
has got what it takes to upset this ranking. Not only does
it offer a more convincing ride-and-handling balance, it
is also quieter and more refined.
So after two days and 600 miles through three countries, the 5-series gets our vote, and this endorsement
extends beyond the xDrive variant. The new BMW deserves
a bottle of bubbly even in four-pot 530i guise, without extras
like fancy steering, trick suspension or autonomous driving
ballyhoo. True, it could be sharper, tail-happier, louder and
stripped of some supplier- or marketing-induced filters and
irritations. But as time moves on, connectivity and digitalisation
are catching up fast with power and g-force. This paradigm shift,
still a work in progress, could have been an opportunity for the
E-class to seize the lead and defend it all the way to the chequered
flag. Instead, the Mercedes comes second in vehicle dynamics
and high-technology. It was a close race, but not a photo finish.
The BMW wins on merit, and because it has learned to beat its
arch-rival at its own game.
SPECIFICATION
BMW 530d xDrive SE
> Price £45,965
> Engine
e 2993cc 24v turbodiesel straight-six,
261bhp @ 4000rpm, 457lb ft @ 2000rpm
> Transmission Eight-speed auto, all-wheel drive
> Performance
e 5.4sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 53.2mpg, 138g/km CO2
> Suspension Double-wishbone front, multi-link rear
> Weight/made from 1770kg/aluminium, steel, magnesium
> Length/width/height 4936/1868/1479mm
> Rating +++++
Mercedes-Benz E350d SE
> Price £44,130
> Engine
e 2987cc 24v turbodiesel V6,
254bhp @ 3400rpm, 457lb ft @ 1600rpm
> Transmission Nine-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
> Performance
e 5.9sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 55.4mpg, 133g/km CO2
> Suspension Four-link front, multi-link rear, air suspension
> Weight/made from 1890kg/aluminium, steel
> Length/width/height 4923/1852/1475mm
> Rating +++++

Twin test BMW 530d vs Merc E350d

BMW drives and
cossets better. And
the Merc is still
excellent

If our boat came
in, we’d splash
out on the BMW.
Enough!

January 2017 | SUBSC RIB E & G E T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! GRE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR

91

G O R D E N WA G E N E R
S AV I O U R O F
MERCEDES-BENZ
DESIGN
Car design is a lot of hot air until it shifts more cars,
and Wagener’s work has helped Mercedes close
the gap to bitter rival BMW. CAR finds out how
Words Guy Bird | Photography Andrew Shaylor

92

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

The interview Gorden Wagener

|

Who is
Gorden Wagener?
Age 48
Current job
Chief design officer,
Daimler
Education
Essen University,
London’s Royal
College of Art
Breakthrough design
Mercedes SLK (2004)
Latest design
Mercedes EQ (2016)

WA G E N E R I S E F F E C T I V E LY
O N LY T H E F I F T H D E S I G N B O S S
MERCEDES HAS EVER HAD
94

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

The interview Gorden Wagener

T

URN-OF-THE-CENTURY
Although job titles weren’t so clear-cut or equivalent in decades
Mercedes-Benz design is past, Wagener is effectively only the fifth design boss Mercedes
perhaps most memorable for has ever had. But Wagener got plenty of flak from some quarters of
being hard to remember; cer- the media in the early years of his design leadership as they blamed
tainly not as special as many him for cars designed under previous management but launched
of the famous brand’s previous under his. The memory doesn’t seem fond but it’s tempered with
eras. In years to come will any- realism. ‘First of all, your job is to support the company, this is
one sane collect examples of an what you’re paid for. You take responsibility even if it’s work that’s
early 2000s A-, B- or R-class not from you. What do your personal feelings count? But of course
for their exterior charms, or it feels much different when you show things from yourself that
indeed get misty-eyed over the you truly believe in. Since the [Mk3] A-class that’s been the case.
less than stellar aesthetic and It takes five years until your first car comes out and almost another
functional qualities of that five years to change an entire brand. We managed to do it in eight.
decade’s range of interiors? Design is one of the main factors that has changed Mercedes-Benz,
Doubtful. Compare any one financially and in its perception.’
of those cars with its current
But Wagener didn’t fly into Mercedes’ top design job from outer
range though, from the rakish mk3 A-class – now a proper sporty space in 2008. He’s been at the firm since 1997 after brief stints at
hatchback attracting younger customers – and the regained Opel, VW and Mazda – drawing the second SLK among many
elegance of the current S- and E-class, plus a slew of even more others – before advancing through the ranks in various key roles,
exciting concepts previewing what’s to come, and it’s fair to say the latterly as head of the firm’s North American advanced design
brand that invented the automobile in the 19th century is having studio. So isn’t it a bit rich to be complaining about the previous
something of a design renaissance in the 21st. Indeed, the design era, given he was involved in it?
changes are already playing out in customer demand. In 2016, the
‘I was in the USA for a few years before I took over but of course
luxury German marque recorded its best ever ten-month sales fig- I tried to make as much of an impact as I could. It was different in
ure (1.71m) and is tantalisingly close to overtaking its bitter rival so many ways then. Look at the holistic approach we are taking
BMW by the year’s end.
now. When we do one car we think about every other car, like a
The man leading the design team that’s making the difference chessboard – we have clear rules. We changed the tools too. Before
is 48-year old Gorden Wagener. Tall, Teutonic-looking and brim- everything was modelled in hard plaster and I said, “we can’t do
ming with a self-confidence some take for arrogance, once you get that, we need to use clay on full-size models”. When you have such
to know him he’s funny and self-deprecating. And his voice goes a hard material like plaster it defines the shape and feeling.’
endearingly high when he’s excited. Taking time out
to chat with CAR
R in London for a few hours before
the launch of his shiny new book, Sensual Purity, we
take him back to one of his old stomping grounds, the
How to design a Mercedes
Royal College of Art in Kensington where he trained
in the early ’90s.
He remembers his time here fondly, catching
the Northern Line tube from his rented room in
South Clapham most days or driving his mum’s
square-fronted Ford Fiesta to one of the few spaces
right outside the college. ‘It was easier to park then!’
he recalls, smiling, ‘and it was so inspirational being
in London. We’d go down to the art bar at college
every evening and meet people. I once modelled in a
fashion show for another student and Karl Lagerfeld
was in the audience. It was wearable stuff… [he
laughs again].’
Now he’s sort of the Lagerfeld of Mercedes-Benz,
having held the top artistic job at parent company
Daimler since 2008, as design vice president of Mercedes-Benz cars, vans and trucks as well as Smart.
And on the day we meet, the formal announcement
of his promotion to chief design officer has just been
made, so he’s in a particularly chipper and affable
mood. ‘The new title made what we already did
official,’ he explains, ‘but it means my job becomes
more 360 degrees. It’s a big commitment from a major
company to promote a chief designer to the board,
which is a great compliment to design, not only to
myself but to the whole design team and the design
industry in general.’

|

where design is only one element. ‘Doing good design is one thing
but getting it through a huge organisation is the way harder part;
it’s a big part of my role. [Daimler chairman] Dr Zetsche has been
the architect, changing the company from a conservative hierarchical one to a really cool one, and we are not even there yet, we
need to go further.’
Wagener’s recent concept vehicles provide clues to what ‘further’
might mean. Extremely clean body shapes mixed with innovative
but pared-back interiors have recently featured on cars as diverse as
the autonomous F 015 to the adjustable-tailed aero IAA. He’s even
managed to apply the approach to commercial vehicles, from the
smooth-sided 2016 Vision Van to the space-age 2014 Future Truck.
They’re all examples of what he calls ‘sensual purity’ design
language. Fear not, he can give substance to back up the marketing
tag, and laced with a little humour too. ‘I not a big
fan of Bauhaus or the design principle that “form
follows function”. You know why? Because it’s just
rational. It’s typically German – we have to have
The ages of Mercedes design
a reason for things. But that’s not everything.
Today things like the iPhone are very much about
simplicity. But while we like simple things they
have to be sensual too, to press human buttons.
The purity thing is the intellectual part because
you have to think, to understand it. The other part
is the natural part, natural attraction.’
Flowing lines and running boards
The first motor car
For such a sparse approach, proportions are
key. ‘You need to have everything in the right
place,’ Wagener confirms. ‘The current E-class
has a couple of lines but the next car we’re showing [expected at the Detroit show, January 2017]
will be the first with no lines at all. So you will
see how we develop our ‘sensual purity’ design
language and vary it. On the smaller cars you can
execute it more wildly but on the bigger cars, like
the S-class, it’s a bit more calm and tasteful. The
EQ shown at 2016 Paris motor show was totally
clean but it’s even more than that. It’s seamless,
which brings purity to the next level; it’s sexy
and alive. In the future we will take care of proportions even more. Car architectures can affect
Wedges and edges: The Sacco era
Gullwings and Pagodas
ten cars or so, so if you mess it up, you mess up ten
cars. So we make damn sure they’re exactly right.’
Despite having to manage some 600 design
staff across five car studios (and even more for
truck and vans) in locations as far-flung as Beijing and Sunnyvale, Wagener still gets involved
in the detailed nitty-gritty of design too. It’s a
sign that eight years on from getting the top job,
he’s as keen as ever to take Mercedes design to
even greater heights in the coming years.
Towards Wagener’s ‘sensual purity’
‘Right now I think we have the right people
in the right places. Great people, but design is
a hands-on job and so I still put tapes on the
models [to show where sections of clay should be
removed or surfaces adjusted] and decide wheth‘The expanded portfolio’: Pfeiffer’s era
er a turning wheel has 33 or 34 “riffles” [grooves]
on it. That’s my level of detail. It might be a bit
of micro-management but I think you have to
be obsessed with this perfection if you want to
chieve something extraordinary, beyond the
verage. If you don’t want that, there’s no point in
ven starting.’
Adjusting the method of design wasn’t the only change Wagener implemented, he also reorganised it. As referenced earlier,
most Mercedes cabins in the early 2000s weren’t up to scratch. ‘We
didn’t have a dedicated interior design department, so that was one
of the first things I changed. I put Hartmut Sinkwitz in charge of
interiors, with specialists for colour and trim, buttons, digital…
The achievements we’ve made in interiors are probably even
greater than the ones on exterior. I think we are the benchmark
for interior design now. To get all the gaps and shutlines right, the
visual finishes, you have to fight for them, and in terms of content,
you have to put money into the car where the customer sees it.’
Have a sit in the latest E-class and you’d be hard-pressed to disagree, Audi cockpits notwithstanding. Wagener’s a great salesman
of design too, an attribute that is crucial in such a big business

|

The interview Gorden Wagener

‘ I ’ M N O T A FA N
OF BAUHAUS.
IT’S SO
R AT I O N A L ,
SO GERMAN’

Wagener is a hands-on
boss. ‘It’s a bit of micromanagement, but you have
to be obsessed’

He sketched the 2004 Mk2
SLK. Pictured below on
stage with the latest model

CAR’s Guy Bird
(right) with
Wagener in
London

January 2017 | SUBSC RIB E & G E T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR

97

98

CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Giant Test Maserati Levante vs rivals

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK

99

T

HERE’S NO HIDING from
SUV territory any more. The
doubters who hurled abuse at
Porsche for selling out with the
first Cayenne are now revelling
in the success of a company
saved from the dustbin, and
rivals who stood on sidelines
awaiting disaster were sent
scurrying in search of a clean
sheet of paper. The rules have
changed.
Maserati has spent the last two decades slowly stretching
out its model range with the Ghibli and GranCabrio, but the
Levante sees it entering entirely new territory. Whether the
traditional Maserati buyer is interested in an SUV is something of a moot point, as even at the more expensive end of
the scale it’s the booming market, taking over 50% of luxury
car sales. If anything the Levante represents the most likely
route to Maserati ownership for new converts.
Not that the Levante is any kind of surprise. The Giugiaro-designed Maserati Kubang concept appeared at Detroit
in 2003 and there’s still plenty of that car in the Levante, if
sadly not the name. Based on the Ghibli platform with a 6mm
stretch in the wheelbase, the Levante adds in air suspension
to the Q4 four-wheel-drive system – not available on the

100 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Ghibli in the UK – and th
he Skyhook adaptive damping system, giving a claimed 50//50 weight distribution as well as a
semblance of off-road abiility. With the sole engine option of
the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, the Levante starts from £54,335.
Possibly the only SUV mooted for longer than the Levante
is Jaguar’s F-Pace. Anotheer brand with a heritage of sporting
cars daring to enter the hiills of SUV land, Jaguar finally took
the plunge with a car thaat carefully missed the toes of sister
brand Land Rover. Availaable with a greater range of engines
including the F-type’s spaarkling supercharged 3.0-litre petrol,
here it comes in S trim with the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged
diesel offering up 296bhp,, priced from £51,450.
Rounding off the trio iss arguably the first SUV that didn’t
handle like a wardrobe fi lled with blancmange: BMW’s X5.
The Bavarians would ratther you called it a Sports Activity
Vehicle, but in truth the X5 has been popular due to its robust
image, spacious cabin an
nd road behaviour that still bears
some semblance to the driving-machine ethos. The xDrive
40d M Sport comes with
h a 309bhp version of the 3.0-litre
straight-six diesel and starts from £56,925.
An early start for our east coast rendezvous means the
Levante needs to be forg
giving of a semi-functioning brain;
thankfully the early sign
ns are good. The cabin immediately
feels special, helped by the better leather of the optional
Luxury Pack and wood triim. It’s a step up rather than a climb,
and once you’re aboard, the driving position mixes trad

Giant Test Maserati Levante vs rivals

KEY TECH: MASERATI

Skyhook suspension
Maserati’s Skyhook active-damper
system has been around since the
late 1990s, but the Levante is the
first Maserati to combine it with air
suspension. In normal drive mode
the ride height is 207mm, dropping
automatically by as much as 35mm
for improved aero at speed. It can
also be raised by 40mm should you
be mad enough to take your plush
Maserati off the beaten track. The
maximum drop of 45mm for easier
unloading disengages above 15mph.

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 101

Giant Test Maserati Levante vs rivals
Unlike Maserati’s rivals, columnmounted gearshift paddles
aren’t free, but for £245 you get
large shifters crafted from
tactile aluminium

Luscious leather trim comes as
part of the pricey Luxury Pack at
£5950 but also includes the cold
weather pack, 19-inch wheels and
surround-view camera

SUV and sports car; you sit naturally reclined but the view
out is better than that of the hoi polloi. Much of the cabin is
carried over from the Ghibli, including the single-plane auto
gearshifter which makes getting reverse more of a headache
than it should be. The infotainment system will look vaguely
familiar if you’ve ever sat in a Grand Cherokee, but it works
well enough if you opt for touch control rather than the counter intuitive i-Drive-like device.
Your eyes won’t believe it but it’s the longest and widest car
here as well as offering the longest wheelbase, which Maserati says delivers best-in-class interior space. It doesn’t feel quite
as generous as that from the inside, chiefly because the design
department delivered the tapered window line and sloping
roof that eats into space a little, most obviously the rear headroom. The boot is a decent shape and offers 580 litres of space
– less than the other two – with the buttons for the electric
tailgate handily placed at the base of the rear pillar.
The Levante’s V6 fires with a multi-cylinder thrum outweighing any diesel-like chug, and at lower speeds at least
there’s a surprisingly soft response from the throttle with the
drive mode in Normal. Push a little harder and the acceleration is there, with an encouraging snarl from the exhaust,
and although it never really feels as fast as the headline figures suggest, the Levante rarely feels lacking in motivation.
Punching the Sport button ramps up the responses from the
steering, gearbox, engine and suspension, but offers the best
compromise in the standard mode.
More encouraging is how the Ghibli’s sporting spirit has
been successfully transferred into Levante. Around the
straight-ahead position the steering initially feels a little
sluggish, but the old-school hydraulic assistance comes alive
once you have a few degrees of lock on. Tipped into a bend it
102 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Rotary control has two levels –
lower dial for infotainment, upper
dial for volume. Not immediately
obvious, and can leave you
fumbling on first acquaintance

50/50 drive split means a little oversteer is available in the
right conditions, and with the more aggressive of the two
Sport modes engaged, roll is kept in check. Within the practical limits of its dimensions and physical mass the Levante
is fun, and shouldn’t leave you pining too much for the Gran
Turismo you had to replace with it.
It also appears to carry a similar cachet
to the sportier Maseratis too. Whether it’s
that imposing grille or iconic badge, the
Levante turned heads wherever you go.
In some ways it might be a familiar shape
now given its long gestation period but it
succeeds in blending the family baubles –
grille, front-wing vents – with sufficient
KEY TECH: BMW
ground clearance and butchness to justify
i-Drive improved
its 4x4 status. Standard air suspension
automatically drops the ride height at
Finally bowing to peer pressure,
BMW has added touchscreen
higher speeds and allows you to jack it up
functionality to the standard
for off-road excursions, however unlikely
Professional navigation system.
they may be, especially if you’ve forked out
With the perfected i-Drive system
the necessary £2,695 for 21-inch wheels.
now including its own touch
interface plus voice control there’s
Parked next to the Levante, the F-Pace
really no excuse for not being able
is immediately modern and fresh, seemto operate your X5, aside from
ingly an escapee direct from a motor-show
the sheer number of menus you
can navigate. You can add Apple
stand. Admittedly aided by the ludicrous
CarPlay but it’s another £235.
22-inch wheels (a £1600 option of debatable merit) it is the best-looking car here,
the body stretched tightly over those massive rollers. Shorn
of its easily recognisable grille it might not be so clearly a
member of the Jaguar family, but in a flash it makes the newer
Maserati seem a fraction staid and the X5 look carbuncular.

XE-on-stilts cabin is dark
and a little claustrophobic.
Lighter roof lining and leather
will help but dash
is available in Henry Ford
shades only

Twisting window line is part of
Jaguar’s familiar ‘Riva hoop’
design theme and looks sharp
– but you can’t rest your
elbow on it

Almost universal Jaguar
steering wheel does the
turning bit well but rocker
switches feel cheap and it’s
no design classic

X5’s cabin is due for retirement
but teaches the younger two
how it should be done: easy to
get to grips with, understated
but still plush feeling

Another old piece of design
now but X5’s gearlever works
a treat. Easy to shift quickly
between Drive and Reverse, a
quick flick to Manual and Park
is a button-push away

M Sport wheel is chunky
and attractive but still
accommodates useful
audio and system controls.
Take note Jaguar

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 103

If there is a core of Jaguar buyers who will privately admit
to
requiring additional room but are unwilling to openly
X5 was first to give
us car-like dynamics
declare a need for an SUV then the F-Pace is targeted right
in an SUV. Rivals
at them. Other than its physical height and increased ground
now glued to its tail
clearance it is the least obvious car with a pretence of off-road
ability, even if in reality it is more than capable of exceeding
the owner’s expectations.
The almost anti-SUV tack continues inside, where occupants are greeted by a virtual carbon copy of the interior from
the XE. The layout is refreshingly simple but lacks a little
charm; the Jet/Light Oyster colour choice of the test car does it
no favours, creating a gloomy cabin and
making it hard to distinguish between
leather elements and cheaper plastics.
The vaunted InControl Touch system
isn’t always as slick as you’d like, but the
major touch points are a pleasure to use
– even if the wheel trades looks for feel.
You sit much higher in the F-Pace
than in the Levante, although your view
out isn’t necessarily any better. Those
show-car looks result in the slimmest
glazed area here, and from inside it feels
KEY TECH: JAGUAR
less like a sports car and more like a
Off-road, easy as ASPC
fast first-floor flat. Against the tape the
F-Pace is accommodating even with the
In the Jaguar F-Pace, All Surface
Progress Control is a fancy name for
sunroof fitted, although up front the
low-speed cruise control. It’s designed
width of the transmission tunnel can
to make light work of slippery,
make first-row occupants feel a little
challenging conditions. You simply dial
hemmed in and even more so in the
up the required speed and the Jaguar
will pick its way across the surface,
back as the amount of light coming in is
continually managing the traction and
reduced still further. The F-Pace’s boot
just leaving you to steer whether you’re
is significantly up on the Levante with
going up hill or down dale. Low Friction
Control manages output when pulling
650 litres available, even if the space
away on difficult surfaces too.
itself is a little shallower. Only the Jag
offers the Activity Key, which you can
wear next to your iWatch and FitBit the next time you’re in
desperate need of an exercise selfie.
On paper the F-Pace’s 3.0-litre diesel unit looks to have the
advantage. It has an advantage of 25bhp over the Maserati
and give away just 13bhp to the BMW, but more telling is
the monstrous torque output – 516lb ft from 1750rpm puts it
almost 10% ahead of its rivals, although out on the road the
104 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | June 2016

difference isn’t so clear-cut. Throttle response is a little soft
but once into the meat of the rev range acceleration is rapid,
deceptively so thanks to the eight speeder’s smooth auto
shifts. Less appealing is the noise delivered in the process,
which isn’t completely dulled by the noise insulation.
Even in its standard settings the F-Pace offers the sportiest
driving experience here. The ride – on 22-inch wheels at least
– feels slightly biased in favour of cornering prowess, picking
up more surface irregularities than the Levante, although
things improve as speed rises. The upside is that the F-Pace
feels remarkably light on its toes, keen to change direction
and disguising its bulk if not so much its height. The steering
isn’t helped by the large wheels either; fine once a quarter
turn of lock has been applied but curiously weighted until you
get there. Regardless, for a back-road blast the Jaguar is the
obvious pick of the bunch.
There was a time when the X5 was seen as a paragon of
SUV handling, but the sheer number of rivals it now faces
illustrates just how quickly the landscape has changed. In
xDrive 40d M Sport guise there are still two rungs of M-related madness to go in the X5 hierarchy, but it is still clearly
designed to have some semblance of sportiness as well as
practicality.
One area in which the X5 more clearly lags behind the
other two is appearance. Yes, it still holds an indomitable
appeal for those keen to present an angry face to the world,
but if you’re blessed with a keener sense of aesthetics then
time has not been kind to BMW’s full-house SUV. While its
rivals sacrifice some cabin space for beauty, the X5’s chunky,
imposing glasshouse and boxy wheelarches contrive to make
the optional 20-inch wheels look undersized and lost, which
is almost a perverse achievement in itself.
The predictable flipside to this is that the
BMW is the most practical proposition by
some margin. From the driver’s seat the view
out is spectacular, even with the chair in its
lowest position, thanks to a big windscreen
and deeper side windows, and the space on
offer feels like something from a class above
even though the X5 is only the tallest car here,
not longest or widest. It’s also the only one of
the trio offering a third row of seats, with the
second row splitting 60/40 for folding and
sliding fore and aft. Throw in a two-piece tailgate and you can rub wings with the RangeRover-set like nothing else here.
The cabin itself isn’t as pretty to look at as
the Levante’s but in terms of functionality
it’s hard to fault. Most of the materials are of
a high standard and the clarity of the instruments and the controls is instantly reassuring.
The i-Drive system has now been boosted by
the addition of a touchscreen facility, which
makes address entry much quicker, but the
i-Drive itself is so well honed these days that
you could survive without ever leaving fingerprints on the 10.2-inch screen.
More of a surprise is the X5’s sheer glee in
leaving its rivals choking on its dust. It gives
away 301kg to the F-Pace as well as 51lb ft of
torque yet it can beat it to 62mph by 0.3 of a
second, the Levante by a whole second and is
the only car here to perform the sprint in
Not long ago, a diesel SUV from either Jaguar or
Maserati sounded implausible. Now they’re a necessity

Giant Test Maserati Levante vs rivals

‘You’re telling me
we’ve driven all this
way and we don’t
have a tow hook?’

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 105

BMW X5 xDrive
40d M Sport

Price | £54,355 (as tested £70,645)
Engine | 2987cc 24v six-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission | Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Suspension | Double-wishbone front, multi-link rear
Made of | Steel/aluminium

Price | £51,450 (£59,665 as tested)
Engine | 2993cc 24v six-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission | Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Suspension | Double-wishbone front, multi-link rear
Made of | Aluminium

Price | £56,925 (£62,325 as tested)
Engine | 2993cc 24v six-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission | Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Suspension | Double-wishbone front, multi-link rear
Made of | Steel. aluminium

1651mm

1762mm

Jaguar F-Pace
3.0D S

1679mm

Maserati
Levante

5003mm

1968mm

4731mm

1936mm

4886mm

1938mm

Power and torque

Weight

Power to weight

We say: Figures don’t
tell the whole story

We say: Jag’s high aluminium
content pays off

We say: Most power and least
weight equals a clear win for Jag

271bhp @ 4000rpm
443lb ft @ 2000rpm
m
Jaguar

1
1884kg

296bhp @ 4000rpm
Maserati

516lb ft @ 1750rpm

BMW

2205kg

2185kg

309bhp @ 4400rpm

Maserati
per tonne

We say: X5
works miracles
and pips the Jag
across the line

Official mpg

Top speed
We say: Maser loses the
autobahn showdown

W

Officiall
39.2mpg

28.6mpg
6m
6mp

BMW
147mph

Official
O
al
47.1mpg

20
0

U

BM

G

R

Official
O
al
47.1mpg

Jaguar
150mph

BMW
T t
Test

0

SE

JA

A

28
8.4
4mpg
mp

I

27.1mpg
.1m
mp

0
15

MA

Maserati
M
ati
Te
Test
est

100

Maserati
143mph

Jaguar
T t
Test

AT

per tonne

We say: Nothing to split
the German and Italian

Maserati
6.9sec
Jag
6.2sec

per tonne

50

0-62mph

R

BMW

123bhp 157bhp 141bhp

465lb ft @ 15
500rpm

BMW
5.9sec

Jag

Fuel tank

Range

CO2

Lease rate

We say: Largest tank here gives X5
advantage, unless you’re paying

We say: There’s no way seven people
could stay friends for 880 miles

We say: Maser’s real-world mpg
suggests CO2 figs will be closer too

We say: BMW wins, but only £1.2k
between cheapest and dearest

Jaguar
Maserati
Maserati

Jaguar

BMW

80 66 85
litres

litres

litres

189
g/km

1 9
159

£679

Jaguar

£657

g/km

BMW

1 9
159
g/km

106 CARMAGA Z NE.CO.UK | January 2017

Maserati

BMW

48 months
£2037 deposit

48 months
£3940 deposit

£634
48 months
£3803 deposit

Giant Test Maserati Levante vs rivals
less than six. The feel from the driver’s seat backs up the figures too, with the 3.0-litre unit overcoming initial wooliness
to belt relentlessly forward accompanied by an unmistakable
straight-six snarl. You can shift gears yourself but the eightspeed unit is best left to get on with it.
Start to throw the X5 around however and its bulk can’t
be disguised. Ultimately its behaviour is well within reasonable bounds and still fun to a degree but you’re left in
no doubt that there’s a lot going on beneath the surface: the
weight shifts around as the road flicks left and right, and
the cornering attitude defaults to understeer almost without
fail. The steering, unfussy and acceptably sharp in normal
driving, suddenly feels too disconnected and fails to give you
enough info about what’s going on below. Best to exploit the
flexible engine on the straights and go a little easier through
the bends while still making pleasingly rapid progress.
On paper there is barely an ignored parking ticket between
these three SUVs. Each one sports a 3.0-litre six-cylinder
diesel and they are within £5k and 7mph of each other, but in
execution there’s a clear dividing line between them. The
BMW fits the traditional template of an SUV to the letter,
being big in all directions inside and out, practical and easy
to live with. It also comes as standard with that imposing
presence you’ll either love or hate, and for some buyers that
will be enough. But the original premise is an SUV that can
still satisfy on a good bit of road, and apart from the thunderous straight six the BMW falls a little short. It’s still an
i
impressive
i car in
i many respects,
t b
butt iin thi
this company it h
has tto
come third.
The remaining two have a more obvious sporting bent;

in many ways the Jaguar is the complete opposite of the X5,
feeling like an SUV for someone not fully prepared to give up
on their XF saloon. It’s the most like a sports car here, with
its dramatic looks, strong performance and keen chassis, but
in hitting those targets it makes compromises elsewhere. The
cabin is disappointing, both in how it looks and the space
on offer, while those huge 22-inch wheels don’t help the
steering feel or the ride quality. It too is a strong package,
but would suit someone prioritising style and the drive over
genuine practicality.
The Levante is far from perfect. It has the smallest boot,
is the slowest car here and has the
worst official fuel consumption figure,
although it finished second in our test
figures and 2mpg separated all three
cars. After options it is also the most expensive car here, but it at least feels like
it. What the Levante does surprisingly
well is tread a fine line of compromise
between its two rivals. It’s more comfortable and offers more space inside
than the Jaguar as well as being much
more fun to drive than the BMW. The
Levante looks and feels special
inside and out, and successfully
carries the weight of the Maserati name on its shoulders.
A successful argument can be made for all three of these
cars as potential
t ti l purchases,
h
b
butt it iis th
the M
Maserati
ti th
thatt mostt
closely matches the tough brief of a sporting luxury SUV.
@MJMattJoy

On paper
there’s barely
an ignored
parking ticket
between these
three SUVs

1st
Not perfect, but
super-comfy and a great
compromise: nicer,
roomier interior than
the F-Pace; better to
drive than X5

3rd
2nd
F-Pace wins the design
and dynamics wars.
Interior lets the side
down. Could be more
refined too

Still a satisfying bit of
kit thanks to high levels
of practicality and
refinement, but X5 no
longer the ultimate
driving SUV

January 2017 | SUBSC RIB E & G E T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR 107

Convo

FLIGHT FROM SANT’AGATA!
108 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Our Lambo adventure revisited

y 2:

Forty years on from ‘Convoy!’ –
CAR’s epic road trip from Italy to
London in three 1970s Lamborghinis
– Mel Nichols retraces his steps
with the original cars… and a
spanking new Huracan Spyder
Words
s Mel Nichols Photography
y John Mason

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 109

Cover story: Civic Type R

Yes, that’s 160mph
on the Urraco’s
speedo as it hangs
onto Countach
and Silhouette
back in 1976

This time it was different. This time, we
couldn’t belt up through France with
our speedos on 160mph. This time, the
gendarmes wouldn’t drink in the spectacle
of a convoy of Lamborghinis howling past at
imperious speed; they’d nab us. This time,
there wouldn’t be three, there’d be seven.
And where, in 1976, we went hell-for-leather
from Sant’Agata Bolognese to London and
were home in a day-and-a-half, this time
we’d have six days on some of Europe’s best
roads. The result, though, would be the
same: an indelible set of memories spawned
by driving Lamborghinis hard.

Bronze-gold paint
increased the threeLambo spectacle on
the original Convoy!

110 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

Last time, it started with a phone call and culminated in a
story called Convoy!! I wrote for the February 1977 issue of CAR
when I was editor. It told how four of us drove a Countach,
Silhouette and Urraco flat-out from the Lamborghini factory to
England. On a Thursday afternoon in October 1976, Roger Phillips, the UK’s Lamborghini importer, rang to say he was flying
to Italy with two pals (Steve Brazier and David Jolliffe) to fetch
three Lamborghinis for the Earl’s Court Motor Show. If I got to
Heathrow in two hours I could join in.
At Sant’Agata, we waited a day while the Silhouette was finished. We took off on Saturday morning. We got into our stride
at a steady 110mph or so on the Autostrada del Sole up to Milan,
and used the cars’ grunt to nip-nip-nip past the trucks in the
Aosta Valley up to the Mont Blanc Tunnel, and clear the gaggles
on the D-roads beyond Geneva. At nightfall, after a struggling
Citroën 2CV on the wrong side of the road nearly took out the
Silhouette, we called it a day and stopped at a hotel near Nantua
in France. We fired up the Lamborghinis at six next morning.
They were properly warm when we struck the D979 that swoops
in and out of the River Ain valley. It’s the kind of road you dream
about. And that day it was magical: mist turned the valley
below us silver, and as we zoomed down we stayed nose-to-tail,
windows open, relishing the thunder of 28 cylinders, 12 cams,
14 Webers and eight exhausts bouncing off the banks in the still
air. It was an anthemic prelude to the glories ahead.
When we picked up the A6 Autoroute du Soleil at Mâcon for
the 450-mile run via Paris to Calais, Roger flattened the Countach. Steve and I, in the Urraco and Silhouette, tried to stay with
him but ran out of steam when the speedos touched 165mph. The
Countach thundered past a stationary motorbike cop and faded
into the distance. The gendarme watched the V8s go by too, then
mounted up. We stopped at the next service area. He pulled in,
sauntered over, nodded hello and admired the cars. Two more
bike cops did the same and then a group of gendarmes from a
bus came over to look. Word was spreading.
But we knew we were going to be okay. France was still
without motorway speed limits and the cops’ demeanour said
‘fair enough, chaps’. So, after breakfast, we accelerated away and
gobbled the long, lazy curves where the A6 climbs through the
Côte-d’Or’s soft hills. From the Urraco’s passenger seat while

Our Lambo adventure revisited

David was driving, I took the picture of its speedo on 160mph
with the Silhouette and Countach drifting along ahead. It was
a surreal experience seeing those dramatic bronze-gold shapes
glittering in the sun as they ate the empty pale grey ribbon of
motorway and speared into the blue of that Sunday morning.
When we switched off in London, we knew we’d experienced
something unique. Steve Brazier, who spent 56 years working
with fast cars, says: ‘It was stunning; the best driving experience
of my life. Roger Phillips: ‘We were lucky to be in the right place
at the right time. It was truly epic.’
THIS TIME, IT
T started with Silhouette owner Richard Head. He
was re-reading the Convoy!! story and realised it was 40 years ago.
Over a bottle of Malbec, Richard and fellow Lamborghini enthusiast Alan Robb hatched a plan for a re-run with a Countach,
Silhouette and Urraco. Alan is aftersales manager for Super
Veloce Racing, a high-performance car sales, service and events
company in High Wycombe. They’re the sole agents for the Noble M600 in the UK and Europe, and among the marques they
handle have a particular passion for Lamborghinis that started
when SVR’s owner, Ben Adnett, bought a Countach when he
was 23. Alan emailed me, started talking to Lamborghini owners keen to participate and we put together a plan for Convoy 2.
We needed a different route. In 1976 the fastest way was
through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to Geneva, then Nantua and
along the D979 to Bourg-en-Bresse for the A6 at Mâcon, and on
via Paris to Calais. Now, there are several all-motorway options.
We wanted as many miles on pristine roads as possible – and I
had two in mind. My friend Peter Robinson, who lived in Italy
for 16 years, reckons the SP85 over Monte Bondone, near Trento,

is Italy’s best driving road. And it was he who, with former Fiat
design boss Pete Davis, established in 1996 that those opening
scenes with the Miura in The Italian Jobb were filmed on the SS27
Colle del Gran San Bernardo north of Aosta. Irresistible.
So the six privately owned Lamborghinis of Convoy 2 – Countach 5000 QV, Silhouette, Urraco 3000, Diablo SE30, Murciélago
SV and Espada – went by transporter to a hotel near Bologna,
along with the £235,308 UK-based Huracan LP 610-4 Spyder
that Lamborghini lent me, and the Noble M600 Ben couldn’t
resist bringing. We flew down, and were set to start our drive
from the Lamborghini factory on Monday morning.
They say bad things happen in threes. Before we got to
Sant’Agata Bolognese, we lost the first of the cars, Tadek and
Verna Lipinski’s Countach. A coil lead started arcing. A recovery
truck took it to former Lamborghini engineer Vigorito Biago’s
garage Autofficine Bielle. Then the front brakes on Richard
Head’s Silhouette started binding; and the very moment we
reached the factory, Chris and Sandra Notley’s Urraco dumped
its clutch fluid. Old cars…
Lamborghini’s workshop, normally dedicated to restorations
and soon getting new premises as part of the expanding Polo
Storico programme, willingly squeezed in the Silhouette to fit
new front brake callipers. So work could run in parallel on the
Urraco to speed us on our way, the
manager arranged for Vigorito to
help with Chris’s car. We waited,
and eventually phone calls brought
good news: the Countach would be
ready tonight and the Silhouette and
Urraco 24 hours later.

Forty years on,
Silhouette once
again shadows
Countach – this
time a QV

|

Murciélago and
Huracan cut a
mean-looking
swathe through
northern Europe

Our Lambo adventure revisited

Huracan’s digital
dash a sharp
contrast to the
analogue Urraco
on p110

Meanwhile, we had a date with a road 125 miles north, the
SP85. So The Huracan, Diablo, Murciélago, Espada and Noble
left in the late afternoon sun for a hotel at Riva del Garda, our
base for the SP85 jaunt. As we sat down to dinner, we heard the
Countach arrive. One back; two to go.
Next morning, the SP85 showed us its delights – a 35-mile mix
of visually clear hairpins, zig-zag sequences and fast open bends
interspersed with straights. We soon had the stirring sight of the
Countach, its exhausts spitting sparks on the over-run, hounded
by the thunderous Diablo and sinister Murciélago, braking hard
into the bends, squatting onto their fat rear tyres to power out
and bolt through the gears to triple-digit speeds. In the SE30,
and especially the Countach, unassisted steering, hard brakes,
meaty clutches and gated gearshifts that can’t be hurried made
that a physical experience. The more recent SV, despite its paddle
shifts, was stirringly tactile too. The Huracan delivered today’s
kind of supercar experience where the driver has more performance than all but the SV with little effort.
I knew by now how well it rode and behaved – and why its
stonking 5.2-litre V10 need suffer no inferiority complex in the

All part of the fun!
Owner Richard
Head tightens a
belt on his 1977
Silhouette

No guardrail? If you went over the
edge your clothes would be out of
fashion before you hit the bottom
112 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

company of V12s. As we climbed towards Monte Bondone, it
gripped and tore through the bends and felt accurate, dependable, and very fast: the Spyder might be a smidgen slower than
its coupe sister yet its 602bhp torrent of power will still whip
you from standstill to 120mph in 10 seconds.
But it was coming back from the top of SP85, on the 11-milelong stretch that’s been one of Europe’s best hillclimbs since
1925, that I learned what the Huracan is about. Switching the
ANIMA setting from ‘Strada’ to ‘Sport’ sharpened the engine
mapping, seven-speed gearbox, all-wheel drive, steering
and stability control systems. The exhaust note snapped to
spine-tingling, with fortissimo
o pops and crackles on the overrun, and ferocious ‘heel-and-toe’ blips on the downshifts. With
the throttle flat between bends, the V10 hung onto its gears to
9000rpm, well past its 8250rpm power peak. It’d flash up two,
three and even four gears (the ratios max at 44mph, 66, 87,
110, 140, 175 and 201mph). Initially, I underestimated the carbon-ceramic discs’ voracious bite and braked too soon. When
I got braver, in the then amazingly short braking distances the
transmission would snip down – blam, blam, blam – to whichever gear it decided was right. It always seemed to be correct for
stability through the bends, and optimum response coming
out. For a while, I flicked the paddles manually but, frankly, I
couldn’t do it as fast or perfectly as the system itself. It was very
different from driving an old-school manual like the Countach
or SE30. Without time to shift so often, you’d stay in second or
third and utilise the V12s’ flexibility and engine braking. Same
in the V8s had they been here.
I’d been mindful of comments that early Huracans understeered. With the Spyder’s introduction, Lamborghini recalibrated the front-rear torque split. In ‘Strada’, the settings are still
towards understeer but I wasn’t getting run-out at the nose. Both
ends’ grip matched the speed and power and the Huracan flowed
around accurately. In ‘Sport’, where Lamborghini anticipates
a higher level of driver skill and desire for fun, the attitude will
tighten to the verge of oversteer, and if there’s enough room and
power the tail will move. But not much. ‘Corsa’ delivers dogged
neutrality for optimum cornering speed. The message I got was
of a car that allowed me to access as much of its prodigious power
and capability as I wished, with supreme safety and dependability, to enjoy a thrilling drive, with my daughter beside me, on an
exceptional road.

T H E C O N VOY ! L A M B O R G H I N I S
CLASS OF 1976

SILHOUETTE
2996cc V8, 250bhp
@ 7500rpm, 195lb
ft @ 3500rpm,
0-62mph 6.6sec,
158mph
Its story
One of only three
RHD Silhouettes for
the UK. Shown at
Earl’s Court in ’76.
Sixth owner Simon
Hutson-Flynn
bought it in 2005:
‘I love knowing it
was in the 1977 CAR
article that got me
into Lamborghinis.’

URRACO P300
2996cc V8, 250bhp
@ 7500rpm, 195lb
ft @ 3500rpm,
0-62mph 6.6sec,
158mph
Its story
Built in 1975 as a
P250 with 2.5-litre
V8. Unsold and
returned to factory
to be converted
to a P300 (one of
four). Consigned
to Berlinetta Italia,
London. Bought
by Australians and
exported.

COUNTACH
LP400
3929cc V12, 375bhp
@ 8000rpm, 270lb
ft @ 5000rpm,
0-62mph 5.6sec,
180mph
Its story
Written off on demo
drive after Earl’s
Court. Salvage sent
back to Sant’Agata
to be rebuilt as a
Countach LP400
S in 1980 using the
original engine and
transmission. Still in
the UK.

Back in the bar, Nick Tranter reckoned it was the best day’s
driving he’d ever had. He’d discovered new aspects of his
518bhp Diablo SE30. ‘Given the Diablo’s size, the thing that
surprised me,’ he said, ‘was how nimble she was through the
hairpins and how quickly she restored balance under full
power out of them. That huge whoomph of torque kicked in
early and stayed there all the way to the limiter. Second’s versatility was fantastic for acceleration and engine braking – so
different from moderns like the Huracan or my Porsche 991
Turbo, which would also have gone up several gears on the
short straights. It’s an analogue experience versus a digital experience.’ Glenn Brooks in the Murciélago SV, with its paddle
shifts, was using the gears more as he laid down all his car’s

661bhp and, not surprisingly, found it just as soul-stirring.
Ben’s feet were dancing in the all-manual 650bhp twin-turbo
V8 Noble. ‘It’s the quickest car I’ve ever driven – phenomenally
fast, and I’ve always had ferocious cars. When those turbos
spooled in, it hunkered down and shot for the horizon. It’s so
well planted: you feel you’re capable of anything. But you have
to be careful. At those speeds, she was twitching. My feet were
like a tap dancer’s.
The Silhouette and Urraco arrived and we left next morning
for the 240-mile run to Courmayeur. Top down (dropped in
17 seconds), the Spyder was a quiet, comfortable, unbuffeted
cruiser at 90-ish in the autostrada traffic. Near Courmayeur,
we peeled onto SS26, the serpentine road through La Thuile

On days like these…
You’ll remember the
Dardanelli Viaduct
from The Italian Job

CLASS OF 2016

ESPADA SERIES III
(1974)
3929cc V12,
350bhp @
7500rpm, 290lb
ft @ 5500rpm,
0-60mph 6.5sec,
158mph
Its story
Owned by Richard
and Lynne Bull since
1977. Restored to
concours-winning
standard in 2006.

URRACO P300S
(1976)
2996cc V8, 250bhp
@ 7500rpm, 195lb
ft @ 3500rpm,
0-62mph 6.6sec,
158mph
Its story
One of four CKD
Urracos assembled
by Intermotormaker
in Cape Town.
Stayed there
30 years before
coming to the UK.
Owned by Chris
and Sandra Notley
since 2012.

SILHOUETTE
(1977)
2996cc V8, 250bhp
@ 7500rpm, 195lb
ft @ 3500rpm,
0-62mph 6.6sec,
158mph
Its story
Number 26 of 54
made. Sold by
German dealer,
went to a collection
in the US, came
to the UK in 2010.
Refurbished in 2011
and 2015. Owned
by Richard Head
since 2014.

COUNTACH 5000
QV (1988)
5167cc V12, 455bhp
@ 7000rpm, 370lb
ft @ 5200rpm,
0-62mph 4.9sec,
179mph
Its story
Last of 14 RHD
Countach 5000
QVs – 12 survive.
Bought by Tadek
and Verna Lipinski
in 2003. ‘It’s a
radical design
that never dates –
youngsters think it’s
new,’ says Tadek.

DIABLO SE30
(1996)
5707cc V12, 518bhp
@ 7000rpm, 428lb
ft @ 5200rpm,
0-60mph 3.8sec,
206mph
Its story
One of 15 rhd
SE30s of 150 built.
First registered in
Japan. Came to UK
in 1999. Bought by
Nick Tranter in 2014:
‘Still my favourite
Lamborghini. I’ve
never had so much
fun driving a car.’

MURCIELAGO
670-4 SV (2010)
6496cc V12,
661bhp @
8000rpm, 490lb
ft @ 6500rpm,
0-60mph 2.8sec,
209mph
Its story
Owned by Glenn
Brooks and Lucie
Krizkova since 2012.
‘It’s only 30bhp
more than my
Murcielago 640,’
Glenn says, ‘but it’s
100kg lighter so it’s
different to drive.’

HURACAN LP 6104 SPYDER (2016)
5204cc V10,
602bhp @
8250rpm, 413lb
ft @ 6500rpm,
0-62mph 3.4sec,
201mph
Its story
Lamborghini UK
press car. Base
price including VAT
of £198,792 lifted
to £235,308 by
options including
£10,500 for the
dramatic Grigio
Titans paint.

January 2017 | SUBSC RIB E & G E T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR 113

In the tunnels the rich orchestration
of the V8s, V10 and V12s was an
utter delight. Sant’Agata has always
understood that kind of music

Pause for breath
(and a rare moment
of quiet) on the
mighty Gran San
Bernado Pass

to the Piccolo San Bernardo Pass. High up, its bends are so
compressed the Huracan’s speed was governed by how fast
I could spin the wheel from lock-to-lock. There’s little feel in
the electrically assisted steering but its variable ratio seemed
to match it to each corner, with always enough lock on hand.
In the tunnels on the way up and down, the rich orchestration
of the V8s, V10 and V12s was an utter delight. Sant’Agata has
always understood that kind of music.
And so, next day, to the Gran San Bernardo. If you’ve never
driven it, find a reason. Linger just past Saint-Oyen where the
old SS27 veers off the new T2 to the Tunnel. It’s here you’ll see
the breathtaking Dardanelli Viaduct which the Miura drove
across so evocatively in The Italian Job. As we gazed down onto it
from one of the SS27’s early hairpins, the sound of Matt Monro
singing On Days Like Thesee wafted down the hillside as Richard
cranked up the volume on the Silhouette’s tape deck.
In the Countach on the way to the top, it was fascinating
to note the different feel and effect of two Lamborghinis
30 years apart. The Huracan’s 5204cc V10 feels light and
snappy as it revs. The QV’s 5167cc V12 might have 147bhp
and 43lb ft less, but the brawniness and linearity of its pull
is an addictive world all its own. The QV’s rack-and-pinion
steering, heavier than earlier Countachs’, demanded muscle. The reward was fingertip-fulfilling feel. The brakes
needed commensurate effort. As with SE30, the Countach
stayed in that monumental second gear, and occasionally
third, and worked up and down the rev range. With a grin,
Tadek said: ‘It’s certainly a driver’s car; you have to keep
going to the gym to have the strength to drive it on an epic
road like this.’
Glenn put Alan Robb, who rates the Murciélago SV
highly, into his SV for the climb. ‘In ‘Corsa’, I could lean
on it and use the weight to set it up through the corners,’
Al said gleefully. ‘Left-foot braking kept it balanced,
either using just the grip or pushing on to get the fourwheel-drive to help. At one point, it was so eager and
confidence-inspiring I went into fourth and took the
following corners as fast as I dared. Savouring every new
push of power from the V12 on the way to the redline on
that road, with no traffic and perfect weather, goes down
as one of my all-time great drives.’ This journey was kind
of like that.
On the Swiss side of the pass, the road is narrow and
bumpy and there’s often no guardrail. Someone joked
that if you went over the edge your clothes would be out of
fashion before you hit the bottom. Towards Martigny the
highway broadens into sequences of fast, open bends that
were meat and drink to all the cars but especially the V8s.
They always were most impressive in these conditions.
‘The Silhouette was awesome on those sweepers and
responded so well to being driven hard,’ Richard reckoned.
‘I needed to pinch myself: in front of me was a Countach

114 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

and behind me a Urraco, and we were in the Alps.’
There are interesting differences and similarities between the
Urraco and the Silhouette developed from it: lighter steering in
the Urraco on conventional Michelins against the Silhouette’s
Pirelli P7s; softer feel in the Silhouette and lower driving position and tighter seats; in both, modest oomph from the 3.0-litre
V8 to 3500rpm then a brisk climb to the 250bhp power peak at
7500rpm. Strong directional stability, comfortable rides and
clean, dependable handling. Chris Notley, able to stretch his
Urraco’s legs for the first time, said: ‘It surpassed our expectations. It’s an elegant, remarkably comfortable and surprisingly
quick and economical sports grand tourer.’ Our run finished on
the Route de la Forclaz from Martigny to Chamonix, another
cracker that gave us the perfect ending to a perfect day.
And then it was the 400-mile haul to Paris, with the D979 on

Our Lambo adventure revisited

the way. Now that you encounter barely a car or truck there, it’s
hard to imagine how busy it was before the Autoroute des Titans
bypassed it to and from the Mont Blanc Tunnel. I threw the
Huracan at it, and just as with the Silhouette in 1976, it bestowed
immeasurable pleasure. In ‘Sport’, I switched off the ESC and
prodded the V10 hard enough to make the tail creep in the tighter
bends. But somehow that seemed at odds with the nature of the
Huracan. It’s properly fast and its Piattaforma Inerzialee control
system lets you access its pace with extraordinary ease. The three
accelerometers and three gyroscopes shoot real-time high-speed
data about roll, pitch and yaw to the ESC, 4wd, dampers and
steering systems. Lamborghini’s r&d boss Maurizio Reggiani
says it lets the car get close to the point of no return while checkk
ing and controlling its attitude. I liked being able to drive as fast
as I could with that kind of confidence, while having the option
to switch off the ESC and get physical if I felt like playing. Down
that amazing road into the Ain Valley, there was an inhibitor
though: under brakes to the apex in the tighter hairpins, the pan
under the nose scraped the bitumen. A dashboard switch lifts
the height for car parks and speed humps.
There wasn’t a time when the Spyder’s ride gave up any
comfort. With sunny weather all the way, the top was always
down; at serious three-figure speeds, the cabin remained calm.
I never used the radio; roof-down, you want to hear nothing but
the V10’s panoply of wicked tunes. Hours at the wheel weren’t
tiring. The pedals in the right-hand-drive cockpit are wellaligned and the seat shape worked well for me. I’m 5ft 9in so I

had enough room but the seat back was against the firewall so
taller drivers might not have been so comfortable.
All this made long stretches like the miles up the A6 to Paris
a pleasure. Loping along near Beaune, I smiled when I saw in
the mirror a low, wide shape closing fast. It could only be an
Espada. Richard and Lynne Bull’s immaculate Series III swept
past. It was in its métier. Earlier in 1976, I’d tucked away 900
miles in 11 hours in an Espada and knew full well its ability on
open roads.
After a night at Versailles, we had just the 190-mile run up
the A16 to Calais. Again, we were lucky: once we cleared Paris,
there was little traffic and all of us could enjoy long-legged
cars running freely. While we waited for the Eurotunnel train,
I went over the fuel consumption. On the day the log said the
Huracan had maxed at 167mph, its consumption was 18.5mpg.
Overall, it was 19.5. Pretty impressive.
Most of the crew said it’d been their best week’s driving. With
the original Convoy!! trip in my memory, could I say that? This
was a less intense experience with more variety in a different
kind of Lamborghini. Far more powerful than even the Countach, very much faster, and notably more refined, the Huracan
Spyder gave me a week of unalloyed joy. I loved using so much
of its performance so often. I would’ve liked to have gone on
pushing it, exploring it, knowing I could trust it. Lamborghini
calls it a lifestyle car. My choice would be to drop into it, lower
the roof and go back, for days on end, with my wife, to the kind
of roads we’d experienced. So I wish it had a bigger boot for
more than two small carry-ons, and better cabin storage. It’s so liveable in every
other way, an admirable combination of
grand tourer and hillclimb eater. When
I switched off in London after 1466 miles
I was left with nothing but a hunger to
drive more. The others felt the same. It’d
been a hell of a week.
@Mel_Nichols

Having enjoyed
Convoy 2, you’re
bound to want to
read the original!
You can! Go to
carmagazine.co.uk

Switchbacks,
hairpins, long
drops, twitchy
supercars. In the
end, this is why we
do this job

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 115

ZINE.CO.UK
CO UK | January 2017
116 CARMAGA ZINE

T

HE FORD FOCUS
S RS is at the vanguard of a new
breed of four-wheel-drive turbocharged performance
cars. With a computer-controlled drive system so
clever it can seemingly pre-empt the driver’s every
wish, it’s a hot-hatch game-changer. Rewind a decade or two
and rally-inspired four-door supercar killers were taking
over the world for the first time, as the Lancer/Impreza wars
reached their zenith. Can the PlayStation 1 generation still
deliver thrills to drag our attention away from Ford’s digitally
enhanced wunderkind?
This isn’t any old Evo we’ve brought along, but one of the
breed’s high watermarks. In 1999, mumbling Finnish rally hero
Tommi Mäkinen won his fourth back-to-back WRC title, and
Mitsubishi launched an eponymous Evo VI edition to celebrate.
An upgraded, more responsive turbo, 10mm lower suspension
stiffened by an upper front strut brace, faster steering rack,
different exhaust, new ECU, beefed-up transfer case internals:
a long list of tiny tweaks adding up to a faster, harder whole.
Resplendent in fag-packet colours with Colgate-white Enkei
wheels, it looks every inch the rally icon.
By contrast, the spoiler-clad Focus RS looks almost demure,
but within the first few feet all the modern-era Fast Ford touchpoints are evident: an abrupt clutch, rubbish turning circle,
one-inch punch gearshift action and steering pointier than Seb
Vettel’s index finger. The 2.3-litre four-pot sounds more like a
five, with a burbly (artificially enhanced) note and a flurry of
artillery flak from the exhaust with every gear change. Ride is
uncompromising even with the dampers in the softer of their
two settings (the firmest is for track use only), and there’s a
huge swell of torque to lean on from low revs. It’s a very fast car.
An agile one, too. Mitsubishi’s memorably named ‘Active
Yaw Control’ (AYC) can shuffle the proportion of torque between the Evo’s front and rear differentials, but the Ford’s twin
clutch packs bookending its rear drive unit can divvy twist
side-to-side, too. The result is that the Focus mostly feels like
a rear-wheel-drive car with an awful lot of grip, and a playful
one at that. The Evo, meanwhile, is a resolutely 4wd experience.
For me, it’s an even more enjoyable one than the riotous Focus.
If endlessly configurable driving modes are inherent to
the Focus’s appeal, then a refreshing lack of them is the Mitsubishi’s. No configurable modes for the dampers, steering or
Bloody Touchscreen, just five closely spaced gears, four dials
and a naff head unit. Perfect. There’s great visibility past its
thin pillars and short dash (composed of typically dreary
’90s-era plastics). The steering’s surprisingly light, but full of
feel, the brakes less grabby than the over-servoed Focus, and
the seats better positioned – the Ford’s are a foot too high.
Its 2.0-litre four sounds underwhelming after the Focus, a
hairdryer-esque whir with a turbo whoosh that rises and 
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE
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falls like cupping a seashell to your ear. Said turbo has more
pronounced lag than the Ford’s, but the Mäkinen still feels
quick with a capital ‘F’. You notice the 200kg lighter(!) kerbweight in its response to all of your inputs, and the old (special)
stager’s actually a tenth quicker to 62mph. Officially the TME
produced 276bhp to meet domestic performance restrictions,
but it’s whispered that even the standard Evo VI had 300bhp.
In long corners you can feel the AYC sending torque to where
it’s needed most, and whatever the weather the Evo feels light
on its feet and adjustable, on suspension that seems tailor-made
for British B-roads. Together with thatt spoiler hulking in the
mirror, goosebumps are guaranteed.
> SERVICING & RUNNING COSTS
Mitsubishi Evos are infamous for service intervals that last
about as long as the average mayfly. The Evo VI will require
an oil and filter change every 4500 miles, along with fresh
oil for the rear diff. Keeping the AYC system in fine fettle is
important: its components need fresh oil every two years, or
more frequently if you’re planning any track outings. Replace
the cambelt every four years or 40,000 miles.
The Focus RS is on a rather more palatable 12,500-mile
service plan, although replacement 19-inch Michelins don’t
come cheap, especially the optional stickier Cup 2s. Officially
the Ford averages 36.7mpg to the Mitsubishi’s 23mpg, but we
averaged 25.2mpg on the Ford’s trip computer.
> RELIABILITY
Most Evos aren’t as well cared for as this heritage fleet car. Mitsubishi’s Darren Hughes, who looks after it, suggests gearbox,
brakes and rear diff performance are vital checkpoints on any
Evo VI test drive. ‘Make sure the AYC is working correctly,
without any noise,’ he warns. ‘A screeching
noise when the system’s operating in bends
can be a sign of slipping plates, or that the
system needs bleeding.’
Gearbox bearings can become noisy and
vibration through the brake pedal betrays

Ford didn’t mess
about pandering
to whims in here.
The drivetrain is
everything

Imagine how
drab the boggo
Lancer must
have been! Great
visibility though

ZINE.CO.UK
CO UK | January 2017
118 CARMAGA ZINE

warped discs, a common Evo VI bugbear. Make sure replacements are bedded in properly, and avoid resting your foot on
the pedal after hard use. Where possible, allow the engine to
warm up properly, and idle a while before shut-down.
‘Interior condition is important too,’ Hughes says. ‘Reconditioning is expensive and time-consuming, and many trim
components aren’t available anymore.’
The Focus RS is still too new for any common issues to be
widely reported, although we’ve heard tales of occasional electrical glitches. At any rate, it’s covered by a three-year/60,000mile warranty from new, with extensions available.
> KEY OPTIONS
The TME didn’t have to be red: plain white, black, silver and
blue cars were also offered, but scarlet ones fitted with ‘Special
Colouring Pack’ decals, like the car pictured here, are worth
more. It’s not hard to see why. Official imports from Ralliart
UK were SVA tested and individually numbered, with UK
service books and calibrated speedos, unleaded-spec fuel
restrictors, and cold-climate batteries and alternators. Most

unofficial ‘grey’ imports lack the UK cars’ level of underbody
sealing, and rust can be an issue.
As with all modern classics there’s huge market variation in
price and condition, from low teens for hard-living examples
to near £30k for concours-spec garage queens; ideally budget
£20k+ for a good one. This one, signed by Tommi himself and
on display in Mitsubishi HQ for some years with a mere 38 miles
on the clock (it’s now on around 3900) is insured for six figures.
Prices are gradually on the rise, as are older Evo Vs and
similar-era special-edition Imprezas such as the RB5 and P1,
so now may be an opportune time to buy. Many Mäkinens are
modified; finding an original-spec one is preferable, and not
necessarily straightforward. Make sure it really is a genuine
TME – there are clones out there, and the excellent Lancer
register (lancerregister.com) can help you spot them.
The options list for the Focus RS is refreshingly short. We’d
go for the lightweight forged alloys, nav system with rear
camera, and the Luxury Pack, which adds rear parking sensors,
power-fold mirrors and cruise control. Try the optional shellback Recaros before you shell out for them; an acquired taste.
> VERDICT
The Focus RS fully deserves all the hype that’s been lavished
upon it. It’s huge fun, and offers remarkable performance for
the money. Both the RS and the Evo’s development teams
have made monsters of humble donor cars, but it’s the Lancer’s
driving experience that stayed with me longer.
The TME occupies a sweet spot in performance car development where suspension and powertrain tech allowed
exciting yet friendly handling, but avoided feeling synthetic
or over-assisted. If you can find a good one, and live with the
@JamesTaylor_5
service intervals, old school rules.

MY PERSONAL ICON

Ferrari F40
For those of a
certain age the
Evo invokes not
only Mäkinen, but
the age of McRae,
Sainz, Grönholm.
McRae, let’s not
forget, did four
seasons in a Focus

It’s the ultimate supercar, but can living with an
F40 live up to the dream? Sam Moores tells all
> ‘FIRST IMPRESSION on
start-up is extreme noise. It’s
a 1989 car on straight pipes.
without catalytic converters
and with non-adjustable
suspension, quite a desirable
spec. It’s on 13,000 miles;
how did someone own it so
long and do so few miles?!’
> ‘IT’S HAD an interesting
history. It was once a white
car with an LM bodykit. The
original owner bought two
F40s when they came out,
one kept standard and one
modified; this is the latter.
I’ve put it back to original
spec: wheels, suspension,
body panels, interior. It’s had
a lot of new ‘old’ parts, and
been painted blue, which
polarises opinion. I think it
looks mega, but some Ferrari
traditionalists feel it should
be red.’

2.9-litre bi-turbo V8 lives
here. 472bhp and 426lb ft,
and just 1100kg dry, too

> ‘ONE OF the best bits is the
gearshift: dog-leg first, open
gate. Amazing. It doesn’t
like first gear from cold,
and needs a few minutes to
warm up properly. Likewise,
I let the turbos cool down
before shutting off and
putting it in the garage.’
> ‘ON LONG
G journeys I use
rally headsets for driver and
passenger. They actually
turn it into quite a chilled
car: the ride’s surprisingly
good thanks to the tyres’ tall
sidewalls, and with the ear
defenders on you could be
in any car. And it has air-con
– the only luxury it’s got!’
> ‘THE VALUE is sensitive
to mileage, so it’s always
on your mind. But driving it
is too great an experience
to pass up; I’d like to take it
to the south of France and
enjoy the roads there in the
near future.’

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INTERVIEW BY JAMES TAYLOR, PHOTOGRAPHY SAM MOORES

> ‘I’VE DRIVEN it in most
conditions. Soon after I got
it I did a long road trip, and it
rained. Really rained. People
warned me beforehand,
“don’t drive it in the rain”. But
it was fine. I haven’t pushed
it over the limit; there aren’t
many places you can,
and it’s too loud for many
circuits.’

> ‘THE INTERIOR’S
seemingly designed for
someone with long arms
and very short legs. If
you’re average height, your
knees are up around your
arms, and your arms are at
full stretch. The steering
wheel’s raked at a flat angle,
like a kart or a lorry. I’ve
put a 20mm spacer on the
steering column to make it
more comfortable. All-round
visibility is amazing, relative
to modern sports cars at
least, but the mirrors point
nowhere useful. The speedo
is in kilometres, and only a
small fraction of the dial is
useful for legal speeds. It
also reads 30kph when the
car is stationary…’

PERSONAL DEALER

Go brutal – how to buy a
TVR and keep your sanity
Nightmares in plastic? Not necessarily says Simon Bartlett,
sales manager at Fenhurst Motor Company, TVR franchise
holder since 1986. Interview by Matt Joy

3950cc V8, 240bhp, 4.7sec 0-62mph, 152mph

>

New Mini too big for you? Same here – thankfully
that means the last one is even better value

> Is this a good idea? ‘If you’re buying a
2002 or earlier it will need to have had an
engine rebuild, which is £6-7k.’
> How much?
? ‘You could buy one for
£15k that needs a rebuild; an ’04 Tuscan
S is £40k for a really nice one.’
> What’s going to break? ‘The digital
displays can fail on MkI Tuscans. We’ve
found the ladies that used to work in the
factory and they will solder up a display
in their front rooms for £300.’
> Crippling running costs? ‘Working on

4185cc V8, 360bhp, 4.2sec 0-62mph, 180mph

Is this a good idea? ‘The first cars are called pre-Serpentine spec. They were built
from 1992 to late 1994 – don’t buy one. The second batch from 1994 are called
Serpentine because they had the later engine and a Borg Warner T5 gearbox.
They had overheating problems but the build quality was a lot better. The car we would
suggest you buy is one of the facelift cars, which started in 1997 – you open the door
by a button on the wing mirror. Those cars had a full exterior and interior facelift but
generally were an awful lot better. They carried on with a few body changes until 2001
and the run-out model.’
> How much?
? ‘For £12k you’ll get a 45k-mile car with a reasonable service history that
hasn’t been in a shunt.’
> What’s going to break? ‘They’re very solid. Things like manifold and rocker
gaskets will go, there are problems with power-steering racks, camshafts can go and
differentials are quite expensive if they start to whine.’
> Crippling running costs? ‘If it’s right when you buy it then you can budget £800£1000 a year to keep it on the road. Find a good specialist and take it in once a year
whether you’ve done 500 or 5000 miles.’

Mini Cooper S

3605cc straight-six, 350bhp,
4.2sec 0-62mph, 175mph

£14 £40k, 1995 2003
TVR Cerbera 4.2

£12k-£40k, 1992-2003 | TVR Chimaera 400

NOW WITHIN REACH

£15k-£40k, 2000-2006
TVR Tuscan Speed Six

> SECOND-TIME
around proved to
be a sweet spot
for the Cooper S,
ironing out Mk1
teething problems
with the switch to
the 1.6-litre turbo
engine and the
irritating powersteering grumbles.
It’s also quicker
than the first-gen
car, shaving 0.2sec
to 62mph and is
more frugal too.

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PERFECT USED
CAR WITH CAR
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> TWEAKS FOR
the Mk2 included
a Sport button
for the first time,
which sharpened
up accelerator and
steering response.
Cooper and
Cooper S models
were offered with
the optional Sport
pack, bringing
stiffer springs and
dampers, while the
standard set-up
was a little softer.

> Is this a good idea? ‘You’d be a lunatic
to buy one unless you absolutely knew
exactly what you were getting in to. It
had AP brakes, an AP clutch, myriad
ECUs made in-house… it was massively
more complicated.’
> How much?
? ‘A reasonable 4.2 V8 is
£14k, sixes are cheaper. Best is a 2000
car, a 4.5 litre for about £30k.’
> What’s going to break? ‘It’ll eat
clutches, engines need tuning, tappets
require adjustment, the control boxes
and ECUs are problematic.’
> Crippling running costs? ‘Budget
£3500 a year to keep it on the road. A
proper set of front brake discs is £1000.’

> ONE OF the 1.6’s
biggest headaches
is failing timing
chains, caused by
a lack of oil. It can
mean replacing
the chain and
tensioner. Quiz
the owner about
regular oil top-ups,
which prevent
the problem from
getting serious.
Clutches can also
fade early if not
well treated.

> SECOND-GEN
turbo cars are ripe
for tuning, but even
if you fancy tuning
one, look for a
standard example.
A full service
history makes this
less likely but an
aftermarket air filter
could mean more
tweaks elsewhere.
If the suspension
is uprated, check
it’s been done
properly.

One we found
2006 Cooper S hatch, 89k miles, full service history, 17-inch alloys, £3200

BSC RIB E & GE T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK
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120

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Selected registrations

Over-sized, overdue and over here
America’s been living with Ford’s Edge SUV for a couple of years. Now it’s in the UK. And in our car park. By Ben Miller

THE EDGE IS proving a car of surprises
already: sometimes literally, since it’s so
big that things – and friends – you haven’t
seen for a while occasionally pop out as you
explore the car’s deeper recesses. And in the
couple of weeks it’s been with us it’s managed
to take a few people by surprise. Often they’ll admire its refreshingly svelte (for an SUV) fastback shape before being alarmed
to discover it’s a Ford. Or they’ll be physically and mentally
slouching
g into the robustlyy heated seats, visiblyy purring
p
g at the
quality of the ride and the spacious accommodation, when you
spot them double-taking at the blue oval on the steering wheel.
Somewhere in Ford’s product planning department, you can
smell the furious high-fiving.
In the US the Edge has been out a couple of years, with a
mid-cycle refresh imminent. For the UK market that product
planning team has sent the car over in four familiar trim levels
and with a choice of two power outputs from a standard-issue
2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel – we can’t be trusted with the
311bhp 2.7-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 US buyers enjoy, more’s
the pity. Zetec trim means 178bhp and a manual gearbox. Midrange Titanium, feisty Sport or flagship Vignale (from £38k…)

HELLO
MONTH 1
FORD
EDGE

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CO UK | January 2017
122 CARMAGA ZINE

offer the same or 207bhp and Ford’s PowerShift twin-clutch
auto. We’ve 207bhp, 332lb ft of torque (the lesser engine is 0.5sec
slower to 62mph but marginally cleaner and more efficient) with
all-wheel drive (standard on all Edges) and PowerShift.
Titanium trim brings some key hardware over and above
Zetec including keyless entry, powered bootlid, 9-speaker
infotainment with nav and DAB, parking sensors front and rear
(Zetec pilots must berth the beast using a rear camera and The
Force), acoustic side glass and nice-to-have stuff like mats, some
chrome exterior trim and illuminated scuff plates.
p
Thrusting,
g
aspirational Sport trades 19s for 20s, lobs some incongruously
sporty plastic bits at the car, re-tunes the suspension for less
squish and throws in ‘whoah there’ adaptive steering.
Additional equipment on our made-to-make-life-easy Ford
adds up to more than £5k of additional spend – I’m sure it won’t
be long before a good chunk of it feels unnecessary. Leading
the charge is the Lux Pack (climate front seats, heated rear
seats, openable panorama roof), ably assisted by adaptive LED
headlights (£1075), adaptive cruise control (£500), park assist
(parallel and perpendicular, £150) and entirely forgettable nautilus blue premium paint (£545).
There’s nothing like a three-star review to set your pulse to ab-

9.8-litre
seven-cylinder
turbodiesel in
the MT765E,
2.0-litre fourpot in the Ford

ALEX TAPLEY

Okay, it doesn’t have a
Mercedes interior but
neither does it have a
Mercedes pricetag

solutely no higher than it is when you’re fast asleep. Chris Chilton ranked the Edge very definitely not first in our Quick Group
Test back in October, admitting the Ford was roomy and ‘pretty
good to drive’ before handing out higher ratings to the Mercedes
GLC (the winner) and seven-seat Land Rover Discover Sport
thanks to the Ford’s paucity of charisma and pace. Deep-dive the
spec sheet and certainly there’s little cause for optimism in the
1949kg kerbweight or the 9.4sec 0-62mph time. Then you look
at the price. The Edge range starts at a fiver under £30k, and my
Titanium a palatable £34,495 before options. That Mercedes it
lost to? £39,595. You’ll need more for a decent Discovery Sport.
So the Ford might just be good value. It’s certainly massive

(602 litres rear seats up, 1847 with them
folded) and as Chris alluded to, the badge
promises a more interesting drive than,
say, Kia’s terminally disinterested Sorento. Ford’s long prided itself on glossing
even humdrum machinery with a little
welcome dynamic flair and the Edge was
re-tuned for European roads and British
tastes. A go-anywhere, carry-anything
tool unafraid of a few quick
q
corners?

LOGBOOK FORD
EDGE 2.0 TITANIUM
> Engine
e 1997cc 16v
turbodiesel 4-cyl, 207bhp
@ 3750rpm, 332lb ft @
2000rpm
> Gearbox
x 6-speed dualclutch, all-wheel drive
> Stats
s 9.4sec 0-62mph,
131mph, 48.7mpg, 149g/
km CO2, 1949kg > Price
£34,495
>A
As tested
d £39,965
£39 965
> Miles this month 2256
> Total miles
s 5108
> Our mpg 34.83
> Official mpg 48.7
> Fuel this month £209
> Extra costs
s £0

Promising.
Plans? To subject the Edge to the rigours of life
without a second thought and watch it sink or swim.
There’s also a towbar itching to have a trailer and a Caterham hitched to it, European nav mapping just begging to be pointed at the Alps (four of us, in February)
and some dog-related accessories in the brochure the
at least part-domesticated Labradoodle can’t wait to destruction
test. And if the born-in-the-USA Edge can come through that
little lot unscathed that’ll be the biggest surprise of all.
MANY THANKS TO CHANDLERS FARM EQUIPMENT OF BARNACK (CHANDLERSFE.CO.UK) FOR
THE LOCATION, AND FOR NEARLY SELLING US A LIGHTLY USED CHALLENGE MT765E

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE
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LOGBOOK
MERCEDES E63 AMG
> Engine
e 5461cc 32v turbo V8, 550bhp
@ 5500rpm, 531lb ft @ 1750-5250rpm
> Transmission 7-speed auto, rwd
> Stats
s 4.3sec 0-62mph, 155mph
> Price
e £76,530 when new > As tested
£41,000 now > Miles this month 2566
> Total miles
s 17,456 > Our mpg 21.5
> Official mpg 27.7 > Fuel this month
£640.78 > Extra costs
s £0

Sorted for E and whizz
Do this job and you get to drive dozens of great cars. But this
secondhand long-termer trumps all of them. By Chris Chilton
HI, I’M CHRIS Chilton. You may remember
me from such articles as ‘Golf Giant Test’,
MONTH 4
‘Audi A3: first drive’, and ‘Renault promises
MERCEDES
new RS will be 0.00001sec quicker round the
E63 AMG
Nürburgring (and for some reason people
give a toss)’. I’m lucky enough to drive some
incredible new machinery here at CAR, including outrageous
hypercars and state-of-the-art limos, but if you read our sister
mag Modern Classics, you may see my name pop up at the top of
features on a quite different set of cars. Stuff that I first drove for
CAR
R and Autocarr back in the early noughties, plus some older
metal from the 1970s and 1980s that I always wanted to try, or
owned years ago and have been lucky enough to get reacquainted with.
So one day I might be picking up a new
Aston Martin DB11 for CAR, and the
next I’m driving a 30-year-old MR2 for
its team-mate that makes only slightly
more power than the DB produces from
just two of its 12 cylinders. Collectively,
the cars I drive in the course of a month
are such a diverse bunch the only thing
that connects them, beyond them being
the means for me to fund my mortgage,
is that I’m delivered to and from every
job by our E63. And I’m never ever disappointed to slide back behind the wheel.
When this car arrived I wondered
aloud whether I’d miss some of the
clever gadgets that we take for granted
on luxury cars, but which our car lacks
because it’s both an older design, and
not particularly overburdened with
optional equipment. And I’ll admit, it’s
still a surprise not to find a reversing
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CO UK | January 2017
124 CARMAGA ZINE

Flirty Mk1 MR2 may
seduce you on the
dancefloor, but it’s
the Merc you go
home with

camera image pop up on the nav screen
when you nudge the handsome gearlever
forward.
But neither is it the end of the world.
The parking sensors work well and
because I’m back to parking on the street
these days, and always struggle to size up
gaps big enough to fit a lengthy E-class
in, I’ve been using the park assist feature
often. It’s one of those bits of kit that’s
been around for years but I’ve never used
on any other car other than to make my
kids giggle. The latest E’s is even more
advanced of course; you can park the car while standing on the
pavement. But I can live without that, and anyway, it’s warmer
in the car.
Another gadget I’m regularly using for the first time (mostly,
because, unlike the kit on other cars, it actually works) is th
voice control. At this rate I expect to be fully embracing hyb
power some time around 2030.
On the downside, the digital info screen within the
showing music and trip details is just too small (fixed, b
on the latest jumbo TFT dash), and I’m quite envious o
E’s ability to detect unseen cars when reversing into
from a parking space.
Overall though, I’m still smitten with the AMG
as I can see there’s only one job on the horizon tha
me that contented feeling when I slot myself bac
wheel at the day’s end. By the time you read this
back from driving the new E63, all Hugo Boss-pos
drift-mode-equipped four-wheel-drive transmi
Try. To. Stay. Faithful. @chrischiltoncar

MONTH 10
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SPORT

LOGBOOK
>

>
>
>

>

>
>

>

>

>
>

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE
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HELLO
MONTH 1
TOYOTA
PRIUS

OPTIONS
There aren’t any,
other than rear-seat
entertainment and Black
or Chrome packs which
won’t turn it into a
beauty queen. Best
skip ’em.

BOOT
Deceptively small
from the outside the
Prius can swallow 502
litres of gubbins in
the rear, few other
hatches can.

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CO UK | January 2017
126 CARMAGA ZINE

LOGBOOK
>

>
>
>
>
>
>
>

>
>

>

INFO
Excel spec means
Toyota Touch 2 with
Go navigation, JBL
sound system, Wi-Fi
and voice recognition.
It’s not for the
technophobe.

WHEELS
17-inch wheels
standard on Business
Plus and Excel
versions. A phonecall
to TRD may be
required.

TAXING
Buy now and it’s
VED-free; buy from
April 2017 onwards
and it’s £100 in the
first year. Sucky.

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE
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CO UK 127

MY BIGGEST-EVER car has departed, and
it leaves an equally big hole in our family life.
GOODBYE
The Audi Q7 really is big: 50mm longer than
MONTH 8
a Range Rover and 200mm longer than a
AUDI Q7
Range Rover Sport. You’d need an ocean-going Mercedes GLS to overshadow it, and
then only by 80mm. My three year old, with the keen eye for
automotive assessment that will doubtless see him follow me
into motoring journalism, referred to it simply as ‘the big car’.
You would expect a huge, luxury SUV costing fifty-four
grand (or nearly sixty-five as tested) to ace family life, and it did.
More surprising was how it did all this while never allowing
its size to be a pain in the ass. Part of the interest of this longterm test was that the VW Group’s new MLB-Evo platform
which underpins the Q7 also gives us three other big SUVs:
the Bentley Bentayga and the next-generation VW Touareg
and Porsche Cayenne. Six months’ experience of the Q7 bodes
well for all of them. The platform’s thinner high-strength steel
and greater use of aluminium produces a car which is around
300kg lighter and which feels deft, agile and composed on the
road. We knew this from our first road test, of course, but it’s
ZINE.CO.UK
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128 CARMAGA ZINE

remarkable how it continues to affect your view of the car in
daily use. You simply enjoy driving it more, and seldom curse
its bulk. The old Q7 was a big car too, and boy did you know it.
There are also features unique to the Q7 that help disguise
its size. Visibility is excellent, helped by the thin split A-pillars.
The optional active rear-steer (£1100) transforms its tight-spot
manoeuvrability, and the (also optional) surround cameras
make parking simple, assuming the space is actually big
enough. I’m not too proud to admit that I used them constantly.
The Range Rover Sport which the Q7 replaced looked better,
handled slightly better and offered more exuberant colour and
trim options than the very conservative Audi. But for cabin
technology the Audi makes the Range Rover feel two generations old. I added a bunch of tech options which we don’t get to
assess fully in an initial road test. Most proved their worth, and
many can be specced on other Audis.
There was a detailed report on most of these in the September
issue (and now online). Of the others, I liked the £600 Virtual
Cockpit, which allows you to shrink the dials and enlarge the
other information, with the very useful option of a full-width
bird’s-eye sat-nav map directly in front of you. But I’m not sure

To drive: highly
accomplished,
to sit in the back of:
spacious, to indulge
Team Sky fantasies
from: massive!

CHRIS TEAGLES

COUNT
T H E C O ST
Cost new £64,745 (including
£10,910 of options)
Dealer sale price £49,432
Private sale price £47,437
Part-exchange price £46,552
Cost per mile 17p
Cost per mile including
depreciation £2.64

Brake. Brake! Braaake!

The i8 is keen to get off the line and run hard,
but less keen to stop. By Lewis Kingston

Configurable Virtual Cockpit the £600
icing on an already scrummy cake

OLGUN KORDAL

I’d bother with the £950 Matrix headlamps, which can recognise oncoming
traffic and selectively dip areas of the
main beam while leaving the rest of
your view fully illuminated. It’s clever,
but not quite clever enough yet: you can
sometimes see it fading down one area
unnecessarily, and even when working
perfectly it doesn’t make a sufficient
difference to visibility to justify the
price.
Of the two early faults, one fixed
itself (a sticky ‘park’ button on the
gearlever, which freed up with use)
and a map-redrawing error was solved with a reset of the
MMI system, as instructed by phone by the dealer. Once resolved, the cabin was the usual Audi perfection. Economy, as
previously reported, seldom strayed far either side of 30mpg,
and averaged 29.6mpg over 7000 miles: not bad for such a big
car. Yes, it’s well short of the official figure of 47.9mpg, but I
think we’ve all now stopped paying
those any attention whatsoever.
A one-paragraph summary? The Q7
LOGBOOK AUDI Q7 3.0
is big, but doesn’t feel it. It’s expensive
TDI QUATTRO S LINE
and very well-made, but only the in> Engine 2967cc 24v turbodiesel,
terior shouts about it. It is immensely
268bhp @ 3250rpm, 442lb ft @
1500rpm > Gearbox 8-speed
clever, and while not all of the tech
auto, all-wheel drive
options are genuinely useful or worth
> Stats
s 6.5sec 0-62mph,
their eye-watering prices, one or two
145mph, 153g/km CO2
might make a huge difference to your
> Price
e £53,835
> As tested £64,745
long-term enjoyment of your car. The
> Total miles 7372
needs of a magazine force us to swap
> Our overall mpg 29.6
these cars every six months: I’d have
> Official mpg 47.9
happily driven this one for ten years.
> Fuel costs overall £1255.11
> Extra costs
s £0
@thebenoliver

STOPPING POWER, on paper at least, is
not something the i8 should lack. At the front
MONTH 4
you’ll find substantial 340mm ventilated discs,
BMW i8
clamped by fixed four-piston calipers, while
at the back there are similarly large 330mm
vented discs and single piston floating calipers.
Then there’s the regenerative braking effort produced by the
hybrid BMW’s electric motor. While not as significant as the
maximum regenerative assistance offered in the i3, it’s more
than enough to provide a passable and easily judged alternative
to conventional engine braking – which, with a paddle pull or
two, you can also call into action.
So, with the i8’s stout performance elsewhere lulling you into
a false sense of security, you move out from a junction and stamp
on the long-travel accelerator. The triple barks into life, leaping
to some 4500rpm as the tail swings wide, and you unwind the
slick steering; the front electric motor helps pull the car straight
and, with a clear road ahead, you keep the accelerator pinned.
The i8’s nose lifts slightly as the powertrain gets into its stride,
and the resulting acceleration is vivid. ‘Yes!’ you think, as the
BMW cracks through another gear. ‘This is fantastic!’
The i8’s headlights cast their blue-tinted light over signage
at the entrance to an upcoming roundabout, and you scan for
oncoming traffic, your left foot hovering over the brake pedal.
Nothing, nothing – car! ‘No problem,’ you muse, rolling on to
the brake pedal. It sinks slightly, then firms up. The i8 responds,
but its nose barely dips. You squeeze harder – but you can’t feel
any bite, just a gradual, unconvincing increase in drag. Panic
time; throw out the anchors. You lean into the pedal, clenching
the wheel unconsciously, and the i8 winds down to a halt just
shy of the line. And breathe.
Some tweaks to the braking system appear to be in order,
then. Sure, the i8 will stop – and responds to minor inputs well
– but the effort required and lack of outright bite and feel can
catch out the unwary. Found yourself behind the wheel of an
i8? Leave a little extra stopping distance. @theseoldcars

LOGBOOK BMW i8
> Engine
e 1499cc turbocharged 3-cyl, 228bhp @ 5800rpm, 236lb ft
@ 3700rpm, plus 129bhp e-motor with 184lb ft; combined output of
357bhp > Transmission 2-speed auto (front, EV), 6-speed auto (rear, ICE)
> Stats
s 4.4sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 49g/km CO2 > Price
e £104,540
> As tested £109,065 > Miles this month 1625 > Total miles
s 6472
> Our mpg 35.3 > Official mpg 134.5 > Fuel this month £258.73
> Extra costs
s £0

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE
ZINE.CO.UK
CO UK 129

THE REST OF THE FLEET
Ford S-Max
MONTH 10 By Mark Walton

VW Passat Estate GT
MONTH 6 By Anthony ffrench-Constant
NEVER MIND wasps; the book I badly need to
read is called ‘Does Anything Eat Mud?’ With
late autumn Mudfordshire more than living up
to its moniker, and even the stoutest excursion
footwear instantly encased in giant, cloying
dumplings of clay, the driver’s footwell appears
to be the victim of the dirtiest protest imaginable.
Sadly, it transpires that mud is the one thing on
the planet the evil-smelling dog will not devour.
So, unless David Attenborough suddenly unearths
a strange Madagascan marsupial with a penchant
for slurry, it’s going to be a long, messy winter.

THOSE WHO read my story about importing a
Fiat 126 a couple of issues ago will be pleased to
hear it’s passed its MOT and is now registered in
the UK. This means I have a stark choice for my
commute in the mornings: little vs large; fast vs
slow; Radio 4 vs a lawnmower engine droning
in your ear. The S-Max should be the obvious
choice, but the Fiat exposes the Ford’s biggest
weakness as an everyday car – it’s like driving
an aircraft carrier.
LOGBOOK FORD S-MAX 2.0 TDCI TITANIUM
> Engine
e 1997cc 16v turbodiesel 4-cyl, 178bhp @
3500rpm, 295lb ft @ 2000-2500rpm
> Gearbox 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
> Stats
s 9.7sec 0-62mph, 131mph, 129g/km CO2
> Price
e £28,845 > As tested £36,270
> Miles this month 986 > Total miles 9598
> Our mpg 35.9 > Official mpg 56.5
> Fuel this month £112.98 > Extra costs
s £0

Radical SR1
MONTH 7 By James Taylor
DRIVING THE SR1 is a multi-sensory experience.
Every high-frequency revolution from the engine
behind the small of your back buzzes through
the plastic seat moulding, and your eardrums;
the airflow rushing over the tiny deflector tries
to push your visor onto your nose, and if you run
onto a kerb a curious resin scent fills your nostrils
as the fibreglass skirts get skimmed. It leaves its
mark, too. Despite strategic use of foam and duct
tape my back usually shows bruises after every
drive. I don’t mind.
@JamesTaylor_5
LOGBOOK RADICAL SR1

LOGBOOK VW PASSAT ESTATE 2.0 TDI 4MOTION

> Engine
e 1340cc 16v 4-cyl, 185bhp @ 9200rpm,
108lb ft @ 7000rpm > Gearbox
x 6-spd sequential,
rwd > Stats
s 3.6sec 0-60mph, 138mph, n/a CO2
> Price £45,000 > As tested £50,630
> Miles this month 0 > Total miles
s 836
> Our mpg n/a > Official mpg n/a
> Fuel this month n/a > Extra costs £0

> Engine 1968cc 16v biturbo diesel 4-cyl, 237bhp @
4000rpm, 369lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm > Gearbox
x 7spd
DSG, awd > Stats
s 6.3sec 0-62mph, 147mph, 140g/km
> Price
e £36,550 > As tested £43,310
> Miles this month 1495 > Total 5547 > Our mpg 38.6
s £0
> Official mpg 52.3 > Fuel £143.88 > Extra costs

Peugeot 308 GTi 270
MONTH 6 By Ben Barry

Audi R8
MONTH 2 By James Taylor
ONE MONTH in, running-in reins have been
unshackled from our R8’s V10. Fast? Enough
to make your neck and
d your face muscles hurt.
Assuming you can actually find the space to
use it. The R8 does some of its most impressive
work when you’re pootling, though. It’s as easy
to drive as an A3, and similarly comfortable at a
cruise. A couple of niggles so far: the dual-clutch
gearbox is surprisingly jerky at low speeds in
manual mode, and the front-left parking sensor
keeps crying wolf. Bit unnerving when parking
something 1.9m wide… @JamesTaylor_5
LOGBOOK AUDI R8 V10 PLUS
> Engine
e 5204cc 40v V10, 602bhp @ 8250rpm,
413lb ft @ 6500rpm > Gearbox
x 7-speed dual-clutch,
all-wheel drive > Stats
s 3.2sec 0-62mph, 205mph,
287g/km CO2 > Price £132,715 > As tested £149,645
> Miles this month 855 > Total miles 1266
> Our mpg 18.1 > Official mpg 21.9
> Fuel this month £269.37 > Extra costs
s £0

ZINE.CO.UK
CO UK | January 2017
130 CARMAGA ZINE

BRIEFLY EXPERIMENTED with the Sport button
this month. It doesn’t firm up the dampers as
some do, but does bring more fizz to the throttle.
The thing is, the throttle is more controllable
and less hyperactive in its default setting. It also
switches the speedo and rev counter from white
to red. The rev counter’s already confusing,
because the needle sweeps backwards.
Illuminating everything in red compounds this by
removing the redline markings. In Sport mode,
aren’t drivers more likely to need them?
@IamBenBarry
LOGBOOK PEUGEOT 308 GTi 270
> Engine 1598cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 268bhp @
6000rpm, 243lb ft @ 1900rpm > Gearbox
x 6-spd
manual, fwd > Stats 6.0sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 139g/
km CO2 > Price
e £29,870 > As tested £28,455 >
Miles this month 1567 > Total 9576 > Our mpg 28.3
> Official mpg 47.1 > Fuel £287.27 > Extra costs
s £0

Renault Zoe
MONTH 7 By Steve Moody
I’VE ENCOUNTERED a couple of problems
cars with considerably more performance than
the Zoe have: speeding and traction. Maximum
torque kicks in like a mule with Tourettes at only
250rpm. On greasy winter roads, the skinny
tyres spin up on take-off easily, while you have to
keep an eye on the speedo because the silence
and rapid low-end acceleration get you past
30mph in a blink. Who knew you could be ecoconscious and a hooligan at the same time?
@Sjmoody37
LOGBOOK RENAULT ZOE
> Engine
e 86bhp @ 3000-11,300rpm, 160lb ft @
250-2100rpm > Gearbox
x 1-speed gearbox with
single-speed reduction > Stats
s 13.5sec 0-62mph,
84mph, 0g/km > Price
e £20,545 (after £4500 grant)
> As tested £21,350 > Miles this month 438
> Total miles 2022 > Total electricity consumption
578 KWh > Electricity cost this month £16.10
> Extra costs this month £0

Box initially thought to contain Tim Pollard,
in fact contained an electric McLaren P1

Love
McLaren,
but couldn’t
eat a whole
one?
Our Superb can! Biggest
estate car in the known
universe performs miracles
By Greg Fountain
THE BOX WAS
so big we initially
thought Tim Pollard
had
got
himself
couriered back to the
office so he could carry
on working during the journey. Once
manhandled up the stairs, slightly in
the manner of a silent Eric Sykes film,
the box sat by Tim’s desk, interfering
with the light and compromising the fire
exit. Whatever it was, no way was he ever
going to get it home.
Then, inevitably: ‘Greg, can I borrow
your Superb tonight?’ Tim had materialised, and not from inside the box. ‘I’ve
got to get this McLaren home.’ It wasn’t
a baby buggy (not a Maclaren, then), but
a 1:3.5-scale ride-on electric P1 (we’ve
learned not to ask about the items Tim
periodically transports). ‘I’m road-testing it,’ he claimed. Of
course he is.
The McLaren is 1295mm long – slightly longer in its box.
That’s about a third of the Superb’s entire 4856mm length, and
not far off half of its 2841mm wheelbase. But of course it fitted.
The Superb is the biggest estate car on the market, and if it can’t
live with a supercar for performance, it can certainly swallow
one whole.
Implausible freight capacity may be the ticket on which the
Superb was elected, but it’s a pony with other tricks. For a start,
it’s great fun to drive, and finding out that your lengthy, weighty
ship is also a sharp handler is like finding out that fine wine also
makes you live longer. The engine helps – we have the most powerful of the range’s five petrol engines, the 2.0-litre TSI, and with
almost equal amounts of torque (258lb ft) and power (276bhp)
its delivery is balanced like a Libran wire act. There’s rarely a
moment when you’re not in the meat of one or other of the rpm
curves, the power reaching its peak at the exact point (5600rpm)
where the torque runs out of ideas. Seamless.
It’s not a perfect confection, of course. It feels frankly odd
getting frisky in something which could – and occasionally does
– also contain everyone you know and everything those people
CHRIS TEAGLES

MONTH 3
SKODA
SUPERB
ESTATE

own. Any squabbling occurring in the back seat, however, is
Don’t bother me
nothing to the badinage going on between the sluggish throttle,
now, I’m fiddling
the bossy DSG gearbox, the ‘why am I here?’ four-wheel-drive
with Dynamic
chassis and the steering. Why no adjective for the steering?
Chassis Control
Because it’s the best part of the controls interface – weighted like
a Ping driver.
None of the above amounts to a case for the prosecution – the
neutrality of the driving experience is suitable for the ‘Geoffs’
who, according to Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times, drive
Skodas (‘I’ve met a lot of Skoda drivers over
the years. They are called Geoff, and life
hasn’t been kind to any of them,’ wrote JC).
LOGBOOK SKODA SUPERB
And in any case, Geoff probably won’t turn
L&K 2.0 TSI 280PS 4X4
to Dynamic Chassis Control, which offers
> Engine
e 1984cc 16v 4-cyl, 276bhp @
five driving modes altering not just gearbox
5600-6500rpm, 258lb ft @ 1700mapping, steering weight and throttle
5600rpm > Gearbox
x Six-speed
response but also tweaking the running
DSG, four-wheel drive > Stats
s 5.8sec
0-62mph, 155mph, 164g/km CO2
gear, shock absorbers and all. In Individual
e £36,365 > As tested £40,700
> Price
mode, it’s my car to set up. Not Geoff’s, not
> Miles this month 729
Clarkson’s, not Tim Pollard’s – mine. Great.
> Total miles
s 3696 > Our mpg 32.4
But so far I still haven’t got it quite right.
> Official mpg 39.2 > Fuel costt £145.49
> Extra costs £0
@GregFountain1
January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE
ZINE.CO.UK
CO UK 131

COUNT
T H E C O ST
Cost new £42,220 (including
£7445 of options)
Dealer sale price £27,954
Private sale price £26,149
Part-exchange price £24,704
Cost per mile 7p
Cost per mile including
depreciation £1.12

infotainment system – the touchscreen
was sluggish and unresponsive, its
graphics looked dated, Bluetooth hookup was frustratingly erratic, and the
sound quality of the audio system was
thin and tinny. And as I’m on a roll, the
thick A-pillars and narrow glasshouse
resulted in awful visibility.
The 2.0-litre Ingenium turbodiesel
was certainly not short of punch – with
177bhp and a stout 317lb ft, it snapped
briskly off the line (as long as you
manually selected first gear), dished up
generous portions of effortless in-gear go
and made high-speed cruising a low-rev
Smart, perfectly
groomed and more fun
pleasure. But its disappointingly coarse
than the Germans. But
and vocal soundtrack felt distinctly at
enough about Ben…
odds with the XE’s suave sheetmetal and
dynamic flair. The eight-speed transmission slipped through its gears with deft
precision, either unfailingly selecting the
right ratio at the right time when dropped
We’re splitting up with the XE after 12 months together. It didn’t work out.
in to Drive, or responding promptly
She was beautiful, but had more flaws than Trump Tower. By Ben Whitworth
when using the horribly cheap-feeling
plastic gear shifters. But how I wished
it defaulted to first rather than second gear at standstill, an eco
FEW TEARS were shed when the XE drove off
concession of dubious benefit that made busy roundabouts and
my driveway for the last time. I didn’t mourn
GOODBYE
tricky junctions slow-motion nightmares.
the bare patch of pea-shingle it left, didn’t menMONTH 12
Things improved over time. The infuriating induction whistle
tally
drop
my
automotive
flag
to
half
mast,
and
JAGUAR XE
that dominated the first few thousand miles quickly disappeared,
didn’t look longingly at other XE models I saw
and the engine loosened up, but its lack of character and personalin the weeks that followed its departure. This
ity was at odds with the car’s dynamic vibrancy – because make no
surprised me a great deal, because I really likedd the little Jaguar.
mistake, the XE was a joy to drive. Taut body control, a beautifully
During the best part of a year, I loved walking up to it, thinking
balanced chassis, delightfully crisp and linear steering and a mag‘My Jaaaag… tidy.’ I really enjoyed driving it, revelling in its pace
ic carpet ride quality – over fast and challenging A- and B-roads
and poise. And I liked the way it made me feel as an XE driver – a
the Jaguar was incredibly capable and rewardingly accomplished.
little bit special and privileged compared to common-as-muck
So, after 16,625miles, I’ve realised the XE does a pretty good
BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class drivers.
job of pulling the wool over your eyes. Its strengths make you
So why no lachrymose farewell? Well, the more I thought
think it’s a straight A car, a benchmark maker and a risk taker.
about the XE after its departure, the more I realised that its
But go granular and dig deep, and the reality is that its year-end
talents do an outstanding job of effectively covering up its shortreport reads B+ and no more. The basics are all there, it’s head
comings. And when I balanced the pros against the cons, its list
and shoulders above the mainstream, and there’s talent in
of limitations is significantly longer than its set of skills. Which,
spades. But it needs a bit more polish, a dash more application
given all the time, resources and top-drawer rivals Jaguar had
on hand to make this car an absolute nailed-on class-leader, was Self-confessed OCD and just a touch more effort. This first-gen XE doesn’t feel like it’s
sufferer Ben loved
reached its full potential. I don’t expect its replacement to make
pretty damned disappointing.
the well organised
the same mistake. @benwhitworth
Take the XE’s looks. Its cab-backward thrusting proportions
cabin. Shame it was
were spot-on (if a little generic three-box at the rear) but the price
so cramped
you paid for that long bonnet and truncated tail was a snug cabin
LOGBOOK JAGUAR XE R-SPORT 2.0 180PS AUTO
up front, abysmal accommodation in the rear and a smallish
> Engine
e 1999cc 16v, 4-cyl turbodiesel, 177bhp @4000rpm, 317lb ft
odd-shaped boot. Visibility was unimpressive, too. Likewise
@1750-2500rpm > Transmission 8-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
the cabin architecture. The symmetrical dash and logically laid> Stats
s 7.8sec 0-62mph, 140mph 111g/km CO2 > Price
e £34,775
out centre console layout appealed deeply to my OCD nature,
> As tested £42,220 > Miles this month 848 > Total miles 16,625
but the quality of the materials and overall fit and finish were
> Our mpg 42.3 > Official mpg 67.3 > Fuel cost overall £1177.38
pretty modest for a £42k executive express. Same went for the
> Extra costs
s £0

It’s not me, it’s you

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A45/CLA45 » 420 BHP
BMW
C300 HYBRID » 285 BHP
M5 V10 » 548+ BHP (205 MPH)
A220CDi/C220CDi/E220CDi » 215 BHP
X5M / X6M » 618+ BHP
C350/CLS350/E350/S350 » 315 BHP
1M » 411+ BHP
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C400 » 400 BHP
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S65 (W222) » 780 BHP
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F10 520D » 240 BHP
SL65 AMG » 690 BHP (+DE-LIMIT)
F10 530D » 305 BHP
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997 CARRERA S PDK » 400+ BHP
997 CARRERA S » 376+ BHP
997 CARRERA PDK » 368 BHP
997 CARRERA GTS » 435 BHP
997 GT3 UP » 436 BHP
BOXSTER 3.4S » 336+ BHP
CAYMAN S » 342 BHP
MACAN 3.0D » 315 BHP
CAYENNE GTS » 440 BHP

/DMSAUTOMOTIVE
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CAYENNE TURBO 4.8 » 578+ BHP
CAYENNE TURBO S 4.8 » 600+ BHP
CAYENNE 4.2 DIESEL » 450+ BHP
CAYENNE DIESEL » 315+ BHP
PANAMERA TURBO » 600+ BHP
PANAMERA DIESEL » 315+ BHP
EXOTIC / MISC
FERRARI CALIFORNIA » 487 BHP
FERRARI 599 » 647 BHP
FERRARI 430 » 525 BHP
GALLARDO » 546 BHP
LP560 » 608+BHP
LP640 » 707 BHP
HURACAN » 640+ BHP
AVENTADOR » CALL FOR DETAILS
MCLAREN MP4-12C » 700 BHP
MCLAREN 650S » 720 BHP
MURCIELAGO LP640 » 707 BHP
MASERATI GHIBLI 3.0S PETROL » 470 BHP
MASERATI GHIBLI 3.0 PETROL » 400 BHP
MASERATI GHIBLI 3.0 DIESEL » 312 BHP
MASERATI GT/QPORT » 438 BHP
MASERATI GT S / MC » 479+ BHP
BENTLEY 4.0 T V8 » 690 BHP
BENTLEY CGT / F-SPUR (INC 2013) » 680+ BHP
BENTLEY GT SPEED (INC 2013 ON) » 695 BHP
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Totally
y unique
q
guide
g
to EVERY
car on sale in
the UK, with a
punchy
p
y view
on all of them –
yours included

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
ABARTH

VANTAGE V12/GT12 

NEW IN THIS MONTH

500 
> Pricey pocket rockets, all powered by 1.4-litre
turbos in various stages of steroidal overcompensation. Divine details, dodgy dynamics
> VERDICT Like a small yappy dog: noisy,
excitable and likely to give you a headache

ALFA ROMEO
MITO 

BMW M240i
‘Still hard to look at
without squinting but
sweet six-cylinder is even
more grunty. The perfect
2-series if you pretend
the M2 doesn’t exist’

DB11 
> First genuinely new Martin in a decade gets slick
aero slinkiness, belting V12 turbocharged charmer
and most crucially, Mercedes help with the wiring
> VERDICT
T Finally the right blend of much needed
new stuff and classic Aston charm results in a cutabove GT. Eat your heart out, Europe!

> Decent engines but generally rubbish to drive,
Alfa’s soggy-handling, hard-riding premium mini
is crucified by the real thing and Audi’s A1
> VERDICT
T At least it’s got its looks. No, wait. It’s
an ugly Alfa. It’s got nothing

VANQUISH 

Honda Civic
‘The might of Honda’s
engineering prowess:
more space, new
engines and an exterior
that was drawn on a bus
on the way into school’

GIULIETTA 
> Looked like a credible Golf rival for a while but
now the game has moved on. Keen prices, but
rivals are roomier, classier and more fun to drive
> VERDICT Miles better than a Mito. Miles better
than a 4C, even. Miles behind a Mk7 Golf

4C/4C SPIDER 
> Sexy carbon two-seater over-promises and
under-delivers on a double-your-dong-length
web-scam scale. Spider a step in right direction
> VERDICT
T Shoots for the moon, hits itself in
the foot. Elise more fun, Cayman a better bet

GIULIA 

> Cramming a huge V12 into the V8-sized engine
bay was apparently the easy bit; it’s taken Aston
until 2016 to add a manual gearbox. Worth the
wait > VERDICTChassis finally has the stick shift
it deserves. Buy it no other way

McLaren 540C
‘The world’s first decontented
supercar is somehow still
worth
put o
does

p139

D3/B3 
> Twin-turbo petrol and diesel stonk and smooth
auto ’boxes mated to a quality chassis, but
watch for some questionable OAP-spec interior
finishes > VERDICT
T Try an xDrive D3 Touring –
it’s what the M3 wants to be when it grows up

D4/B4 
> Same blend of fast and frugal as above
but slotted into slinkier 4-series shell. ZF auto
not as snappy as M4’s twin clutch, but much
smoother > VERDICT: 53mpg and 62mph in
4.6sec? And you’re alright with this, BMW?

AUDI
A1 HATCH/SPORTBACK 

A3 HATCH/S’BACK/SALOON
HATC 

GIULIA QUADRIFOGLIO 

ALPINA

RAPIDE 
> Take that, Panamera! Aston shows Porsche
how to make a supercar/saloon cocktail. Forget
limo pretensions though, it’s a four-door 2+2
> VERDICT
T Pretty, but interior more dated than
a New York socialite and as hard on your wallet

> Posh Polo does it all, from 1.0 miser to S1 micro
ocket. Not cheap, even before you’ve splurged
n options. £30k is a mouse click away
> VERDICT Classy Mini rival that doesn’t turn
nto Quasimodo when you tick the 5dr option

> Good grief – an Alfa Romeo we can finally
recommend that you buy. New, auto-only
3-series rival has sharp steering, sultry looks,
great driving position. Bellissimo!
> VERDICT
T Note to dealers: don’t cock it up

> Like a regular Giulia doped up by Lance
Armstrong, this 191mph, 503bhp rocket is
a quadruple shot of espresso for Alfa’s long
lamented soul. At last > VERDICT
T The closest you
can get to a four-door Ferrari. Really. Thatt good.

> Looking like the old DBS after 10 sessions of
lipo, Vanquish’s exquisite detailing hides modern
carbon structure, but performance is a decade
out > VERDICT
T Heart says buy, until a Ferrari F12
says bye-bye

D5/B5 
> Twin-turbo B5 petrol V8’s 590lb ft could
de-forest the Amazon while planet-loving D5
doesn’t let meagre 155g/km prevent 174mph
max > VERDICT
T M5 alternative with Touring
body option you can’t have with the real thing

B7 
> BMW doesn’t make an M7, but Alpina
does. Twin-blown petrol V8 delivers ‘bahnbusting performance that’s best enjoyed in
Germany > VERDICT
T Niche S63 alternative
hamstrung by ugliness of the raw materials

XD3 
> X3 35d-based high-rise hot-rod delivers
350bhp, 516lb ft, and the horizon through your
windscreen. Spoiled by a rock-hard ride
> VERDICT Another niche BMW Munich leaves
to Alpina, maybe ’cos Porsche Macan is better

The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs

> Mid-life update adds exterior angles, three-pot
ngine and optional digi-dash. Still king of
uality in this sector, but adrenalin isn’t amongst
xtra standard kit > VERDICT
T Brilliant hatch
and not much financial gulf to a Golf. Try sporty
S-Line on supple SE chassis

ARIEL
ATOM 

A3 CABRIOLET 

> Only the Pope’s lips get more up close and
personal with the tarmac than an Atom driver,
but there’s zero protection when the heavens
open > VERDICT
T Spectacular toy. Great on
track, barmy on road. Chassis doubles as a
clothes airer, which is just as well…

> Premium sun-grabber without macho sportscar posturing. A bit tight in the back, but pretty
tight in the bends too. Try a 1.8 TFSi with Sport
trim > VERDICT
T Asexual drop-top for sensible
shoes types. Worth the £2k premium over Golf

NOMAD 
> Not content with terrifying on tarmac, Ariel
now offers the off-road Nomad. Gains a rollover structure but still no doors… > VERDICT
Don’t forget to put the hot water on – you’ll be
needing a bath when you get home

S3 / RS3 
> Further proof that the Germans are still
power junkies at heart. 296bhp S3 is trouble
enough, while new 362bhp RS3 will do 174mph.
Achtung, baby. > VERDICT Far better than they
used to be, but not as exciting as they should
be. Buy a Golf R

ASTON MARTIN

A4 SALOON/AVANT/ALLROAD
SALO 

VANTAGE V8/GT8 

> All-new A4 is Captain Obvious in every way:
lighter, smarter, better to drive – and only
microscopically different to look at > VERDICT
T As
you were, except inside, where tech obsession
offs elegance. Rivals remaining calm

> Ageing entry level Aston has ace steering, but
make sure you go manual: plodding semi-auto is
as dynamic as a Ron Dennis interview
> VERDICT ‘Monica Belucci’ on the age/
desirability scale; madcap GT8 tactile but not as
fast as it looks

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 135

AUDI > FIAT
RS4 
> Brutal RS treatment makes a monster of
REPLACED ho-hum A4. No 4dr, no manual and no turbos,
SOON
this wicked wagon’s V8 redlines higher than
Ferrari’s 488GTB > VERDICT
T Pace and space, but
rides like the tyres have a tic. No match for new C63

A5 SPORTBACK 
> In a class of one until BMW finally got its
REPLACED act, and the 4-series Gran Coupe, together.
SOON
Pretty and practical, but like its drivers,
feeling its age > VERDICT Fatherhood doesn’t
seem so bad with family cars this handsome.
Then you drive it

A5 COUPE/CABRIO 
-> Deceptive bunny boiler – looks normal until
you realise it’s killed a TT and is wearing its face.
Cue B-road mayhem. Not really > VERDICT
Even more of an A4 in a frock than the last one,
but still better to drive

RS5 
> Has iconic Quattro arches, but feels like
it was engineered down the Arches at Phil
Mitchell’s EastEnders den of bodgery.
Cramped too > VERDICT
T Great V8 can’t save
misfiring flat-footed coupe. Buy a BMW M4, or
the better RS4

REPLACED
SOON

A6 SALO
SALOON/AVANT/ALLROAD 

> Demure big Audi an unsung hero, refined and
cheap to run. Allroad an SUV for agrophobics;
twin-blown 309bhp BiTDi a proper mischief
maker > VERDICT Base models short on wow,
but a solid alternative to better-handling Jag XF

RS6 
> For wealthy mentalists who think the S6’s
444bhp isn’t enough, RS6 delivers 25% more
and gives the new R8 V10 a hard time at the
lights > VERDICT
T Beautifully finished allweather family wagon that scares supercars silly

A7 SPORTBACK 
> Slant-roof A6 takes styling cues from pretty
’60s 100 coupe but can’t out-cool Merc’s CLS.
More grippy than a sloth whose been sloppy with
the superglue > VERDICT Stylish GT with sensible
engines, but a sports saloon? My RS, maybe

RS7 
> Pricier, less practical RS6 with fastback rear,
same guts but gets clever rear diff as standard
for oversteer here, there and everywhere given
room > VERDICT
T An Aston Rapide for the AAgrophobic, but we’d have the naughtier RS6

A8 SALOON 
> Audi’s elder statesman for elder
statesmen has more tech than CES at
Vegas but who wants people to think
they’re being chauffeured in an A4? > VERDICT
Gadgets galore, but Merc’s incredible S-class
nails the luxury basics better

REPLACED
SOON

Q2 
> Odd-looking small SUV is like a Countryman
that’s lost a battle with a set-square. Nice
enough to drive but still a nerd to the Mini’s
prom queen > VERDICT
T The Q doesn’t stand for
Quasimodo. Probably

The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs

TT COUPE/ROADSTER 
> Brilliant coupe gets virtual dash, and sharper
handling. Try 2.0-FSI. Boot big, but rear seats
for handbags only (some men have them, you
know) > VERDICT
T A proper real-world sports car
– but same money buys an early R8!

TT RS 

R8 V10/V10 PLUS 
> Friday afternoon restyle meets Monday morning
mechanics. New R8 offers no V8 for now, but V10
is back with 533bhp or Lambo-equalling 602bhp
> VERDICT
T A Lamborghini Huracan for £50k less.
Friendly but ballistic; playful chassis a joy

BAC
MONO 
> Single-seat racer that took a wrong turn out of
the pits. Pushrod suspension, Cosworth-tuned
2.3 Duratec and bath-like driving position
> VERDICT
T Sublime track-tool with a six-figure
price that’d net you a Cayman GT4 and an Atom

CONTINENTAL GT
G COUPE/
CABRIO 

Q7 

As the second most expensive
Morgan variant currently on sale it’s
hardly surprising it’s sold in such
small numbers. At least the number
of trees felled for its construction is

FERRARI LAFERRARI
NUMBER SOLD: 10

NUMBER SOLD: 12

The Ferrari the Ferrari was never
going to sell in big numbers so it’s
impressive that so many made it to
the UK this year. More depressing is
how much they’re now all worth.

You have a to feel a little sorry for
the LS. Like the school swot it works
hard and doesn’t get in trouble, but
that means it gets ignored by the
pretty girls for the bullying 7-series
and swanky S-class.

CITROEN C ZERO
NUMBER SOLD: 24

MORGAN AERO 8
NUMBER SOLD: 25

Rolls-Royce sold twice as many
Phantoms, costing no less than
£300,000 each, as Citroën sold
C-Zeros this year. Even though the
C-Zero costs six grand less than the
rear seat package on the Roller

Not the last Morgan on this list, the
Aero 8 takes the prize for being
the weirdest family member but
somehow not the least popular,
despite being the most expensive.

> The repmobile of millionaires. Reliable,
well-built and yes, full of VW bits. Death Star
smooth W12 now sounds more rebellious,
while twin-turbo GT V8 S is joyful > VERDICT More
of a sportscar than its hefty GT image suggests

CONTINENTAL GT3-R 
> Bonkers road racer with Max Power styling,
no rear seats and shouty exhaust. Surprisingly
nimble using 4wd and torque vectoring, and
epically fast thanks to tricked up 580 V8
T Uncouth drag racer for rich Russians
> VERDICT

FLYING SPUR 
> New Spur is sharper to drive, sharper to look
at, softer to sit in, and feels less like a stretched
Conti. Fridge and iPads essential options for
pampered rear-seat recliners > VERDICT
T Think
of it as a bargain Roller rather than a pricey A8

MULSANNE 
> Huge, handbuilt anachronism, with twin-turbo
V8 born in the ’50s, buffed to perfection, and
a field of cows sacrificed for your arse’s pleasure
> VERDICT Buy the Speed – any less outrageous
display of consumption is just poor form

BMW

M135i 

OUR

INFINITI QX50

NUMBER SOLD: 37

NUMBER SOLD: 38

Even with roots running back as
far as 1936, the Four Four sold four
times as many examples as the Plus
Eight this year, something which
you have to assume the Plus Eight is
extremely pissy about.

The most normal car on this list
(relatively speaking) and finally
some strong evidence that the
car buying public do have some
common sense. Bar these 38 people
of course

MORGAN ROADSTER V6
NUMBER SOLD: 38

NUMBER SOLD: 39

> Last of the downsizing deniers, BMW’s
hot hatch stays with six-pot power when all
rivals offer four. Undercuts mechanically
identical M235i by £4.5k > VERDICT
T Storming
drivetrain, but VW’s incredible Golf R just pips it

FACELIFT
SOON

2-SERIES COUPE/CABRIO 
> Boot-faced booted 1-series is a Mustang with
a couple of A-levels. 218d is 8.9 to 62mph and
63mpg; 4cyl 228i a cut-price, cut-down M235i
> VERDICT
T Plainer than a margarine sarnie, but
TT and RCZ can’t touch its space/pace combo

M240i 
> Still hard to look at without squinting but

NEW
ENTRY sweet six-cylinder is even more grunty. The
perfect 2-series if you pretend the M2
doesn’t exist > VERDICT
T Ignore the Golf R
temptation and keep it rear

Add the sales of the Roadster V6 to
the other Morgans on this list and
you get 108 in total, while the Plus
Four sold 100 in its own right. Infiniti
should hang its head in shame.

GEOT ION
Why the iON sold 15 more examples
than the identical Citroën C-Zero
remains unclear. Is it because
people like lions? Or they don’t
like cars with the word ‘zero’ in the
name?

JATO Dynamics is the world’s leading provider of automotive intelligence. Check out www.jato.com

136 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

MATT JOY

> German heavy metal turns techno as Mk2 Q7
sheds weight despite megaload of extra gizmos.
High-performance SQ7 TDI mind-bendingly
adept > VERDICT
T They thought of everything but
the charm

It might be a relative bargain but
clearly the VXR8 only qualifies as
such in the eyes of seven people. A
shame, because it means we can’t
tell you what a great used bargain it
is ten years hence.

REPLACED
SOON

1-SERIES 

> Car-like SUV offers everything from meek
REPLACED 180bhp front driver to a ballistic SQ5 bi-turbo
SOON
diesel delivering RS performance without
the fuel bills > VERDICT Still one of Audi’s best.
Beats a top-spec A4, if not a bottom-spec Macan

MORGAN PLUS EIGHT
NUMBER SOLD: 8

BENTAYGA 
> Cynics will say it’s a Q7 in (very) expensive
jewellery, but The World’s Fastest SUV matches
187mph top speed with superb chassis. We
flambéd the brakes > VERDICT
T Super-lux
interior options include £110k Breitling clock. Or
spend the same on a two-bed semi in Crewe

> Only rear-driver in its class. Good for handling,
not for cabin space. Just facelifted so now 3%
less grotesque. 118i petrol a brilliant all-rounder
> VERDICT
T Want a roomy, well-appointed hatch
that’s great to drive and look at? Buy an A3

Q5 

VAUXHALL VXR8
NUMBER SOLD: 7

BENTLEY

Q3 

RSQ3

2016’S SLOWEST SELLERS

It’s only based on the first 10 months of the year, but unless 12 of you
go out and buy a Suzuki Ignis tomorrow it’s not going to change.

> At the outer limits of the TT’s dynamic envelope
a 17% power hike ekes 395bhp from five pots
and targets wounded Cayman > VERDICT
T Audi
springs the offside trap, rounds the keeper, but
hits the bar. So close!

> Dumpy dinky faux field forager is a yummy
mummy fave. Forget 4wd and the diesels and
go for light, zippy, 1.4 TFSi > VERDICT
T So much
better to drive than it looks. Which it’d have to
be, right? Unless it was an Alfa
> Audi’s first tall-boy RS model. Hearing of the
£45k price or unleashing that 335bhp five-pot
both elicit same incredulous gasp > VERDICT
Who needs this stuff? Short people in a rush?
What we do know is it’s better than a GLA45 AMG

NUMBER CRUNCHING

M2 
> 2-series coupe with M4 chassis and 365bhp
turbo six – that’s some crowbar they’ve got at M
Division. All of the fun, all of the time > VERDICT
Best M car since the E46 M3. Buy with manual
’box and stacks of tyres

2-SERIES ACTIVE TOURER 
> BMW in front-drive MPV shock. Decent
BEST IN drive, great interior. Need to cart OAP
CLASS
relatives around? You’ll need the 7-seat Gran
Tourer. Boom boom! > VERDICT
T The ultimate
driving (to the park/crèche/post office) machine

i3 
> One of BMW’s best cars is home to its finest
cabin. Electric version has short range; hybrid
is noisy and has a fuel tank like a flea’s hip flask
> VERDICT Carbon chassis supermini, electric
power and £30k price. Did we wake up in 2045?

3-SERIES
3
SERIES SALOON/TOURING 

> Celebrating four decades of overpriced,
BEST IN undersized family cars. New modular
CLASS
engines make it better than ever, 320d
(now sub-100g/km) still top choice > VERDICT
Jag XE is treading heavily on its twinkling toes

7-SERIES 
> So high-tech BMW presumably ram-raided
BEST IN Google’s r&d bunker, confident the ‘carbon
CLASS
core’ construction would enable it to drive
back out > VERDICT
T Gesture control, remote
parking, active anti-roll – it’s got it all. But not the
kudos of the S-class…

X1 
> Ugly old one sold by the bucket load; all-new
replacement is miles better to look at and to
drive. It’s a proper mini SUV now… > VERDICT
It’s even based on the fwd Mini platform.
Swallow that bile now

X3 
> Studiously un-gangsta SUV shuns petrol
power – and M Power – options for solid dieselonly blend of handling and handiness. Looking
better post facelift > VERDICT The BMW SUV
we don’t hate ourselves for liking

X4 
> Blame the Evoque and people who bought
the X6 for this carbuncle. £4-5k more than an
X3, but better equipped and annoyingly better
to drive > VERDICT
T Depressing X3 spin-off for
grown-ups who still dream of being a footballer

3-SERIES GT 

X5 

> High-rise Touring alternative almost as vast as
a 5-series thanks to wheelbase stretch, but way
more hideous. Another BMW design disaster
> VERDICT A £35k Mondeo with a BMW badge.
Why bother when the same-price X3 is so good?

> One-time Premier League fave looking more
like League 1 beside better-driving, and -looking
rivals. Skinflint sDrive 25d is a rwd four-banger
> VERDICT
T Still impresses with engines and
quality, but thanks to Landie it’s lost its lustre

4-SERIES COUPE/CABRIO 

X6 

> 3-series in a shell suit subtly better to drive,
but same great engine choices and almost as
practical. Shame about the carryover cabin
> VERDICT
T Crushes Audi’s ancient A5. Folding
hardtop cabrio weighty but worth it

> All the impracticality of a coupe and all the
wasteful high-centred mass of an SUV. Genius.
If you must, X40d gives best price/punch/
parsimony > VERDICT Pointless pimp wagon.
Buy a Porsche Cayenne or even an X5

4-SERIES GRAN COUPE 

Z4 

> Pretty and practical, like a bikini car wash,
> Sports car for post-menopausal women
hatchback GC costs £3k more than 3-series but REPLACED in lemon trouser suits. Coupe-cabrio roof
SOON
has std leather. Five belts but only four seats
hits boot space when folded. Base 18i spec
> VERDICT
T Smart and useful, much more than a
sub-Wartburg > VERDICT No match for Boxster.
niche exercise. But why isn’t this the 3-series?
Stick with mid- spec trim. And keep taking the
evening primrose

M3/M4 

> Oh thank God – there’s finally a Competition
Pack to breath some life into this staid M-car
duo. £3k more = 444bhp and light-up seat
badges. Classy > VERDICT Buy an M2

5 SERIES SALOON/TOURING
5-SERIES 

> Hard to fault the default exec. Go for 520d or
530d M Sport, ZF auto, adaptive dampers.
Ace adaptive headlamps a £545 option
> VERDICT Stylish as Teflon trousers but that
drip-dry gusset is just so handy. Best exec bar none

REPLACED
SOON

5-SERIES GT 
> BMW GB: ‘The contours… make its attraction
instant. Stylish presence of a saloon combines
harmoniously with the sporty elegance of a
coupe’ > VERDICT
T Munich’s Vel Satis. Hated by
critics, loved by owners. All three of them

> Trying hard to escape the clutches of its sister
cars, the C1 can have a funky Airscape cloth
roof and half-hearted personalisation options.
1.0-litre has most pep > VERDICT
T Good, solid
proletarian urban fare rather than hipster cool

C3 
> Citroen produces a great small car by

NEW
ENTRY looking up its own Wikipedia entry and

remembering what it’s good at; spacy,
compliant and different> VERDICT
T Are Citroens
cool again? 2016 has been sufficiently bonkers.

C3 PICASSO 
> Compact supermini-based box that’s fun to
drive (avoiding the petrol one, mind) and wellpackaged. Might not set pulses racing, but
you’ll get very protective of it > VERDICT Picasso
was a cubist, so why not name a box after him?

REPLACED
SOON

C4 
> Recently refreshed C4 has all the edginess of a
Hush Puppy deck shoe. But it’s useful, anodyne
transport and sub-100g/km BlueHDi models
are very economical > VERDICT
T Nobody would
hate you – or notice you – if you bought one

C4 CACTUS 
> An architect’s wet dream. Sloppy to drive
but otherwise a roomy family car with kid’s toy
colour combos. Airbumps will stop it kicking off
in the car park > VERDICT
T Cheap yet brilliant.
Why can’t the French be this good all the time?

C5 SALOON/ESTATE 
> Be aware: this car is still in existence. Slow selling
but roomy estate is fairly stylish and practical with
Hydractive rear suspension > VERDICT
T There have
been great French family saloons. This is not one

C4 PICASSO 

BUGATTI
CHIRON 
> ‘The Veyron was okay but why couldn’t it have
30% bigger turbos and 300bhp more power?’
Bugatti answers the question nobody asked –
and answers it loud > VERDICT We’ve yet to drive
it, but predict a riot

CADILLAC
CT6 

> Coupe? It’s a bloody saloon! And £20k more
than a same-engined 5-series! BMW must
chuckle at every sale. Still, rather nice
> VERDICT
T Desirable enough to leave the
6-series coupe in the shade/showroom

C1 

> Defiantly anti-cool family shifter. Touches like
lower rear windows and sprogwatch mirror
make mums go weak at the knees for its peaceand-bloody-quiet ambience > VERDICT
T Drives
like a shed. Who cares, if Satan’s brood shut up?

> Cadillac’s latest ‘definitely will sell well in Europe’
attempt follows US car-building playbook to the
letter, but adds a decent chassis and loads of
tech to expected iffy quality and dumbass auto. >
VERDICT
T Not as good as rivals + £70k + LHD only =
Trump would probably approve

6-SERIES GRAN COUPE 

> Remember when electric cars were expensive,
oddly packaged, with hardly any range? If not,
refresh your memory with a C-Zero > VERDICT
£6k for a Tupperware box. There are cheaper
ways to carry your sandwiches to work

I8 

M5 

> Anonymous big GT best enjoyed with mighty
40d diesel power. Plenty of room for four – if
you fire your passengers into the back via a
wood-chipper > VERDICT Under-the-radar GT
bruiser, short on sex, but not on appeal

DS5 

C-ZERO 

> Carbon-constructed 3-cyl hybrid supercar
that’s fun for four, as fast as an M3 and does 40
real mpg. Minor demerit: looks like it’s crimping
off a 911 > VERDICT
T Fascinating and fabulous.
The future of the sports car is in safe hands

> While our enthusiasm for the twin-turbo V8 is
tempered slightly by the artificial engine noise,
it’s sublime to drive and gets better with every
iteration > VERDICT Still the fast saloon daddy.
592bhp ‘30 Jahre edition’ utterly magnificent

6-SERIES COUPE/CABRIO 

> VERDICT
T Medium rare luxy-Frenchness.
Germany reportedly
dl not worried
i d

CITROEN

CATERHAM

BERLINGO MULTISPACE 
> Recently refreshed with SUV aspirations,
but still a wipe-clean tin lifeboat for cagoulewearing Thermos-sipping birdwatchers. Rattles
and drives like a van. Is a van > VERDICT
Dogging cheapseats for aspiring Bill Oddies

DACIA

FERRARI
488 GTB 
> We were worried the turbos would ruin it, but
while we’ll miss the 458’s 9000rpm wail, the
488 is more playful and even easier to drive.
A stunning achievement > VERDICT
T Even the
looks grow on you after a while. Rivals better
dust off their gracious loser faces

CALIFORNIA T 
> L-plate Ferrari first of Maranello’s new turbo
cars. Boost management mimics naturally
aspirated engines. Looks better, sounds worse
> VERDICT Forget the unfair 488 comparisons,
it’s an SL65 rival and well worthy of the badge

F12/F12TDF 
> Jumbo GT steers like a supercar, cruises
BEST IN like a limo, drifts like a nitro-lit M3. Also
CLASS
available in taste-redacted 769bhp ‘Tour
de France’ guise for £100k more > VERDICT
Stick with 730bhp original unless you’ve an
unholy appetite for extra vents and carbonfibre

LAFERRARI 
> 1000bhp hybrid hypercar where the electric
BEST IN bits exist to save tenths not icecaps. 499 to be
CLASS
built and all sold despite the £1.2m asking
price > VERDICT The greatest single supercar of
all time – except maybe the FXX K track version

GTC4LUSSO 
> Looking even more like a Z3 M Coupe
battered by a giant spatula, this updated FF gets
four-wheel steering to go with its improved fourwheel drive and 680bhp V12 > VERDICT
T Closest
Ferrari will ever get to an SUV, apparently. Take a
moment to think about that…

FIAT
TIPO 
> Oh god, really? Fiat has another crack at

NEW
ENTRY the C-segment, this time sensibly playing

the value card. So dull it’s already been
replaced yet still the best Fiat hatch since the
last Tipo – from 1988 > VERDICT Only consider
buying Fiats with numbers, not names

124 
> MX-5’s step-sister, seemingly intent on
undermining said darling hairdresser’s star turn
with its punchier 1.4 turbo blow-dryer. Awkward
style, for an Italian > VERDICT Still – to drive, this
is the MX-5 you’ve been waiting for

SANDERO 

PANDA 

> Cheapest new car on sale not the worst.
Yoghurt-pot plastics and pre-Glasnost styling
can’t detract from a spacious sub-six-grand
runabout with Renault engines > VERDICT
Austerity rocks. Right, Greece?

> Spacious city car with ‘squircle’ obsession,
as roly-poly as blobby looks suggest. Two-pot
TwinAir willing but thirsty > VERDICT VW Up
costs less, drives better and is nicer inside

LOGAN 
> Estate looks like a Sandero that’s reversed
into phone box. Cavernous boot, but dreadfully
unrefined thanks to all the brittle plastic and tin
> VERDICT
T You put things in it. It will carry them
for you. You can take them out. Job done

SEVEN 

DUSTER 

> Still the benchmark for bobble-hatted Terry
Thomas wannbes, the adaptable Seven comes
in flavours from 160 3-cyl to mental road racers
> VERDICT
T 80bhp 160 underpowered, 310bhp
620R lethal, 180bhp 360 model just right

> No-nonsense SUV that’s ideal for wannabe
peacekeepers on a ridiculously small budget.
Buy the boggo 4x4 diesel in white for the full UN
effect > VERDICT The Neighbourhood Watch
will never be the same again

CHEVROLET

> Office joker in testosterone world of Serious
Business Men. Quite appealing, with a lovely
aerostyled cabin. Diesel Hybrid4 a good idea
not executed properly > VERDICT
T Bland
ubiquity will always beat charming quirkiness

DS

M6 

CORVETTE 

DS3 HATCH/CABRIO 

> Six-figure M5 in a shiny suit is even better to
drive. Two-door looks good value beside Merc’s
S63 coupe, but can’t touch a 911 GTS for kicks
> VERDICT M6 GC almost makes M5 redundant,
but at £100k/18mpg you’ll need two jobs

> Farm machinery meets space lab in fabulous
460bhp V8 symphony of composite materials,
leaf springs and push rods. Shame it’s left-hook
only > VERDICT £60k for a bargain berserker.
£20k more for the 650bhp Z06

> Best-selling DS gets robo-croc snout and
Apple CarPlay but ‘premium’ claims increasingly
lost in translation > VERDICT
T Like Prince Wills’s
bonce, the Gallic charm is wearing thin

DS4/CROSSBACK 
> Range now split between regular hatch and
jacked up Crossback. Softer setup and fewer
buttons a plus; rear windows still don’t open

500/C 
> Delicate job, modernising a retro cash cow.
Fiat’s approach pairs a korma-grade facelift with
updated tech and even more colour palette
kitsch > VERDICT
T Fashion victims rejoice! The
cupholders actually work now

500L/MPW 
> Bloated supermini-sized people carriers,
desperately attempting to cash in on city car’s
chic. Seldom has the point been so massively
missed > VERDICT
T In-car coffee machine
option the only purchase excuse

500X 
> Compact crossover is Arnold Schwarzenegger
of the 500 range – steroidal and somewhat
limited in its range of abilities, but actually
rather likeable > VERDICT
T Worthy Nissan Juke
alternative works the 500 thing surprisingly well

PUNTO 
> Been facelifted more times than Joan Rivers
but is somehow still alive. Now reduced to barebones range and budget price. We still wouldn’t
> VERDICT You might be tempted. Don’t be

January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 137

FIAT > McLAREN

The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs

QUBO / DOBLO 

IONIQ 

>Postman Pat’s wheels? Don’t be daft, Pat’s
retired to the Caribbean and is living off the
royalties. Drives a red Bentley > VERDICT
T Vanbased MPVs. Practicality first, people second

> Korean take on the Prius minus Gwyneth
Paltrow smugness and drawn-in-the-dark
exterior. Hybrid, EV or upcoming PHEV – a
version for all shades of greenie > VERDICT
Challenges neither your pulse nor your
helmsmanship, doesn’t encourage eye-gouging

FORD
KA+ 
> Hits the city car target bang-on by being

NEW
ENTRY the complete opposite of the old Ka (good

to drive, decently spacious), but misses by
being less sexy than Borat. And Plus? Plus what?
> VERDICT Hails from South America, like the
Ecosport. Isn’t rubbish, unlike the Ecosport

NISSAN GT-R

“The drivetrain sounds like a
drumkit falling down the stairs”

INFINITI
C-MAX/GRAND C-MAX 
> More a roomier Focus than full-blown MPV,
C-Max delivers driving pleasure to blot out
family pain. 7-seat Grand version gets rear
sliding doors > VERDICT Rivals are roomier, but
none is better to drive. Just pretend it’s the wife’s

B-MAX 

S-MAX 

> B-pillar-free Fiesta-based mini MPV gets rear
sliding doors for maximum practicality but not
the sliding rear seats of some rivals. Firm ride
> VERDICT
T Buy with a 1.0 Ecoboost triple and
Zetec trim for maximum school-run fun

> Exploits latest Mondeo’s undercrackers to
full effect. Pricey, but still the best of the sevenseaters to drive > VERDICT
T Toys include electric
everything and speed-correcting cruise control.
Harder to beat than FC Barcelona

FIESTA 

MUSTANG 

> Still brilliant after all these years, Fiesta is
BEST IN poised and practical. Terrific new triples make
CLASS
up for an interior that would make the Chinese
blush > VERDICT The best driving supermini. Even
1.0 models feel like hot hatches in waiting

FIESTA ST/ST200 
> Bargain banzai hot hatch shreds that
BEST IN tricky gyratory complex with style to spare
CLASS
thanks to torque vectoring voodoo. ST200
costs £5k more than base; misses point
spectacularly (if not the apex). Softer suspension
now > VERDICT The one that you want

ECOSPORT 
> Third-world hand-me-down is no fun to
drive and reasonably roomy interior ruined
by a daft side-opening tailgate. Nissan Juke
monsters it > VERDICT
T A rare Blue Oval balls-up
channelling the complacent Mk5 Escort spirit

FACELIFT
SOON

FOCUS HATCH/ESTATE 
> Looking all the better for its 2014 refresh, the
Focus shows Ford’s chassis engineers know
their stuff. So it’s just the designers who have
lost it > VERDICT
T Great to drive but the Golf is a
more polished destination for your dough

FOCUS ST/RS 
> Chip-controlled 4wd RS is an overclocked
345bhp mix of outrageous drift angles and
limpet traction. And we used to think the fwd ST
was impressive > VERDICT
T In bhp/£ stakes, both
are mega value. But only the RS does donuts

MONDEO HATCH/ESTATE 
> Delayed so long dealers will soon be doing
MOTS and PDIs at the same time. Huge space
and you can even have the 1.0 Ecoboost
> VERDICT
T Everybody wants them new-fangled
SUVs these days, but this is a great family car

KUGA 
> Fine-handling MPV now available with a
178bhp diesel – but not a dashboard that
doesn’t look like an earthquake in a
switchgear factory. Small boot
> VERDICT
T Good, but top-end versions stray
into X3/Evoque territory

FACELIFT
SOON

EDGE 
> Stupidest Ford name since Maverick, but looks
good and drives like a Ford – a big, ponderous
Ford, hamstrung by 2.0 diesels and slower than
continental drift > VERDICT Comfy, refined,
irrelevant amidst premium rivals

> GI Henry’s finally been posted to Europe and
he’s cutting in on the TT’s dance. At last gets
multi-link rear end, but rear-space could be better
> VERDICT
T Ecoboost 4-cyl torquey but tedious;
it’s the V8 you want, if not its 18mpg thirst

won’t need ear defenders to drown out road
noise > VERDICT
T Kuga has the chassis, Qashqai
has the style, but neither is as practical as CR-V

NSX 
> ‘We’ve blown all our development cash on an
insanely complex hybrid drivetrain. Do you think
anyone will notice if we fit an interior from a
Civic?’ > VERDICT Like a 918 for half a mil’ less –
mind-blowing to drive, crap to sit in

HYUNDAI
i10 
> Five-door city car that balances mature driving
experience with strong value – even if it’s not as
cheap as it was. Five-year warranty, too
> VERDICT Basic motoring done not just well
but with a dash of style. Mid-spec 1.0 our choice

GALAXY 

i20 HATC
HATCH/COUPE/ACTIVE 

> Goose to the S-Max’s Maverick, new Galaxy is
based on the same Mondeo-derived platform.
Just as high-tech, but more spacious
> VERDICT
T Great if you need a big 7-seater – fits
adults in all rows with no human rights violations

> Update adds Active crossover to 5dr Hatch
and 3dr ‘Coupe’; suitable for somnambulant
warranty fiends only. Turbo triple lumpy
> VERDICT
T Fur-lined tartan slippers, Horlicks
and early to bed; repeat

i30 HATCH/TOURER 

GINETTA
G40 
> Pint-sized road-legal racer. Two models:
G40R (civilised version, with carpets) and
GRDC (actually a race car with numberplates)
> VERDICT
T Tiny, twitchy and top fun. Pick the
£35k GRDC and get free entry to race series

HONDA

> Where the current crop of Hyundais got
serious – which means it’s now in need of a
facelift as the mainstream moves ahead again
> VERDICT
T ‘Tries hard but lacks imagination’
would be the i30’s school report card

i40 SALOON/TOURER 
> Vast Mondeo rival with huge boot and lots of
kit. Facelift resembles a lizard with an Audi grille
for a mouth > VERDICT
T Nearly-but-not-quite
mainstream alternative plays value card well

JAZZ 

iX20 

> Brilliantly packaged supermini with typical
genius mismatch of brain and social skills.
Ordinary performance, more refined than
before > VERDICT
T If a Skoda Fabia had seats
this smart, other superminis would call it a day

> Compact MPV and Kia Venga’s ugly stepsister; roomy but ultimately forgettable
> VERDICT Sorry, what were we talking about?

CIVIC HATCH/TOURER 
> Wilfully different, won’t-fully-want-one Golf with
origami rear seats and huge boot. Desperately
needs in-coming small-capacity turbo engines
> VERDICT
T Capacious wagon makes most
sense but a Golf is still more satisfying

CIVIC 
> The might of Honda’s engineering prowess

NEW
ENTRY delivers more space, clever new engines

and an exterior that looks like it was drawn
on a bus on the way into school.> VERDICT
T Easy
to admire, loving requires recreational drugs.

HR-V 
> It took Honda 10 years to build a second HR-V,
and you’re still left wondering why they bothered.
Almost wilfully generic > VERDICT Jazz platform’s
magic packaging the only saving grace

CR-V 
> Roomy but unremarkable SUV with a choice
of two- or four-wheel drive. Unlike most Hondas

TUCSON 
> Promising initial impressions of shiny-looking ix35
replacement tarnish quickly: it’s dull to drive, duller
inside and poorly refined > VERDICT
T We had high
hopes. Someone get the Tucson a stepladder

SANTA FE 
> Biggish SUV has always led Hyundai’s
assault on the European market from the front.
Comfortable, self-assured and easy to live with
> VERDICT
T A Hyundai you can choose without
shame. Looks fresher than Waitrose parsnips

i800 
> Massive van-based people carrier that’ll seat
eight and still have space for their luggage. Ideal
for part-time airport mini-cabbers > VERDICT
T It
is what it is: a van with seats in. But it’s a nice van

GENESIS 
> Luxury saloon hamstrung by unsuitable petrol
engine and they-must-be-joking price tag. Has silly
new winged badge and handles like a waterbed
> VERDICT
T Step one of Hyundai’s move
upmarket. Well, it worked for Infiniti. Oh, wait…

Q30 
> It’s an A-class in an alternative frock – a
slow A-class at that. Suspension and seats
comfy, just don’t look too closely at the dash
> VERDICT
T The fat goth of the premium
hatchback segment

Q50 
> Another American-market Japanese
premium product that’s lost in translation.
Shame it wasn’t lost at sea on the way over.
Hybrid mega quick > VERDICT
T Like a tiny speck
of fluff the Mercedes C-class casually brushes
from its sleeve

FACELIFT
SOON

Q60 COUPE/CABRIO 
> Nissan 370Z after a back, sack ’n’ crack.
No diesel but V6 sounds ace and S models
(4ws and LSD) are tidy in the bends. Looks
dated > VERDICT
T Not without merit, but
without a hope of talking us out of buying a
BMW 4-series

FACELIFT
SOON

Q70 
> Does it look like a rubbish Maser QP, or a
slightly cooler Daewoo Leganza? Either way it’s
a novelty act without the novelty
> VERDICT Worth considering over a 5-series,
but only if Harald Quandt ran off with your wife

QX50 
> Blandly-styled EX crossover got a new badge
but precious few new fans. Well equipped, but
costly to run and not that great to drive
> VERDICT
T Nothing to see here people, move on
– to your local BMW dealer and its excellent X3

QX70
> Striking jumbo jeep comes with more kit than
a Knight Rider convention but the lavish cabin is
too small and the fuel and tax bills anything but
> VERDICT
T Taxi for Infiniti! Porsche’s Cayenne
has this one covered, old timer

JAGUAR
XE 
> Straight-bat styling hides exotic aluminium
chassis and class-leading handling. Bit tight on
space though, and engines not a high point
> VERDICT
T Rivals are better packaged but this is
the driver’s car in the class and a proper little Jag

XF 
> Second-gen XF now 75% aluminium, looks
like an over-inflated XE; bigger inside, smaller
outside, still a great steer > VERDICT Diddy
diesels moo more than a dairy; insert your own
joke about cats and cream

XJ 
> Questionable styling but unquestionably
excellent steer – although passengers may
mutiny. Interior looks lux but lacks intelligence,
even with latest infotainment > VERDICT
Hollywood baddies’ limo of choice, flawed

GET THE NEXT 3
FOR
ISSUES OF
ONLY £5!
138 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

XJR 
> Absurdly track-ready limo builds on already
ballistic XJ Supersport, but bumps power up
to 543bhp and tightens chassis (at expense of
ride) > VERDICT More rare-groove than Elvis’s
first acetate, but spectacular – if you’re up front

F-TYPE
F
TYPE C
COUPE/ROADSTER 

> Posh pauper’s Aston sounds superb, goes well
too. Forget basic V6 and choose from V6S and
mental V8S. Now with manual and 4wd options
> VERDICT
T So nearly sublime, but Cayman/
Boxster duo cost less, entertain more

F-TYPE R 
>Supercharged 543bhp almost too much fun in
rear-wheel drive form (but still less knife-edge
than V8S); 4wd available if you’ve left bravery
pills at home > VERDICT
T All this drama or an
‘ordinary’ 911? Tough choice…

F-TYPE SVR 
> JLR’s new SVO black ops division delivers a
567bhp all-wheel drive F-type that goes and
sounds like an elephant on MDMA
> VERDICT
T Quilted leather and 200mph – but
terrible hi-fi for a car that costs twice the entry V6

F-PACE 
> Jag’s first SUV is a road-biased Macan
botherer. Built light to be nimble, body control
brilliance and pokey engines prove family DNA
> VERDICT
T Macan remains most sporting choice,
but more rounded F-Pace has plenty of bite

JEEP
RENEGADE 
> Strange but true: yoof-targeting junior Jeep is
built in Italy alongside Fiat 500X that donates its
platform. Even stranger: it’s not terrible
> VERDICT
T Lower spec models outdriven by
rivals; only the top Trailhawk cuts it in the rough

CHEROKEE 
> Gimlet-eyed Discovery Sport rival looks like
the banjo-playing inbred from Deliverance.
Despite generous kit, we’d leave it on the porch.
> VERDICT
T Feels too cheap to be premium, too
pricey/ugly to beat Qashqai

GRAND CHEROKEE 
> Proper off-road credentials backed up by
sensible running costs, but feels cheap.
Ludicrous SRT8 version demolishes 62mph in
five dead > VERDICT
T Makes sense at $30k in the
US, but doesn’t drive or feel like a premium car

WRANGLER 
> Incredible off-road, and much better than a
Defender on it, but that’s like saying Pol Pot was
more benevolent than Stalin > VERDICT
T When
North Korea nukes us, this cold war cast-off will
be all that’s left moving

KOËNIGSEGG
AGERA 
> Evolution of Lex Luthor’s original CC8S
supercar features twin-turbo 5.0 V8 and carbon
fibre wheels. R version even runs on E85 biofuel
> VERDICT
T Yahoo! Yin to Volvo’s yawning yang
keeps Sweden’s car output balanced

KIA

602bhp V10 flicks Vs at turbos > VERDICT Beats
488 for aural and visual thrills but nothing
h
else.
l
So we’ll have the Spyder. On me head, sun!

PICANTO 

AVENTADOR/SV 

> Tough-looking budget Korean mini twinned
with less funky Hyundai i10. Three-pot 1.0 is slow
but sweeter than 1.25 four. Smart interior, small
boot > VERDICT
T You’ll never benefit from the
7-year warranty and VW’s Up is better to drive

> The F12 may be better in every respect, but
this is what a supercar should look like. Limited
run Aventador SV closes that gap with shocking
power and agility > VERDICT SV is the one
to have. Sub-7min ’Ring lap makes the hybrid
hypercar crew look stupidly expensive

RIO 
> Long on space, short on enjoyment, life
with a Rio is no carnival. Diesel refinement will
have you driving to a favela in the hope of a
carjacking > VERDICT White goods car gets the
basics right but there are too many better rivals

CEED HATCH/SW/PROCEED
HA 

> Good-looking Korean Golf wannabe is big on
equipment and not bad to drive. Ceed is 5dr,
Proceed gets 3, and SW is the wagon
> VERDICT
T Recent update brings new
downsized turbo engines. Europe still ahead. Just

SOUL 
> Improved second-gen chunky spunky SUV
better to drive but ride and noise suppression
poor. Petrol version rubbish, but much cheaper
> VERDICT A Korean with character but other
SUVs are more rounded (in both senses)

OPTIMA 
> Sexless Mondeo clone cobbles together
some mojo via the addition of sharp-suited
Sportswagon and a plug-in hybrid > VERDICT
T All
the car you’ll ever need, but not the car you want

VENGA 
> Weird sit-up supermini-cum-MPV packs Focus
space into near-city-car dimensions. Hard to get
comfy though. 1.4 petrol best > VERDICT
T Too
pricey and too ordinary to drive for us to care

CARENS 
> Big, versatile, value-packed seven-seater. Go
diesel – 1.6 petrol is wheezier than emphysemariddled asthmatic with a punctured lung.
> VERDICT
T For all its pseudo-premium Euro
aspirations, this is the stuff Kia still does best

SPORTAGE 
> All-new, all-turbo SUV truly handles and rides
but somehow a picture of Mr Potato Head’s
face got mixed up with the final blueprints, and
before they knew it… > VERDICT
T Improved in
every way. Except to look at

SORENTO 
> Ambitious new flagship SUV reckons it’s a real
Land Rover rival. Now bigger than ever, and so is
the price: up to £40k. 2.2 diesel only engine.
> VERDICT
T Impressive, but lacks the badge and
performance of genuine premium off-roaders

KTM
X-BOW 
> 22nd century Ariel Atom from Austria’s barmy
motorbike maker mixes carbon construction
with hardy Audi turbo’d 2.0 four > VERDICT
T Big
money, big grins, but single-seat BAC Mono
gives more racecar-like experience

LAMBORGHINI
HURACAN 

LAND ROVER

NX 
> Trumps Audi Q5 with a fabulous interior and
arrest-me (for persecuting curves) exterior
design. Fwd or 4wd with electric motor at rear
> VERDICT
T Doesn’t work as a driver’s car, so take
the NX300h hybrid over faster, costlier NX200t

RX 
> Looks like Lord Vader’s helmet with wheels on,
but interior opulence and general tranquillity
make up for idiosyncratic infotainment issues
> VERDICT Build quality and refinement to save
the galaxy, even if the hybrid tech won’t

DISCOVERY SPORT 

RC/RCF 

> ‘Educated, professional luxury SUV
desperately seeking decent diesel engine.’
Ingenium replied. Happy ever after? > VERDICT
Comfy silence a promising start. We’ll know it’s
love when they get the interior decorators in

> RCF’s old-school unblown V8 completes
charismatic package that shocked M4 in our
Giant Test. Elegance of regular range can’t
overcome lack of diesel option > VERDICT
Deserve more success than they’ll likely get

DISCOVERY 
> Middle England metal edifice brilliantly
capable at driving over lefty hunt saboteurs,
mud and street furniture. Only one diesel
> VERDICT Perfectly balances picnicking luxury,
farming legwork and small-c conservatism

REPLACED
SOON

RANGE ROVER EVOQUE 
> Definitive posh mum’s SUV, now also available
as convertible. Well, that was one way to resolve
the classy interior’s claustrophobia triggering
tendencies. Ingenium engines commendably
hushed > VERDICT
T Pricey, but perfectly pitched.

RANGE ROVER SPORT 
> As luxurious as a Rangie, as practical as a
Disco, better looking than an Evoque and
could follow a Defender cross country. Add in
impressive handling and ballistic SVR and diesel
versions > VERDICT
T Nobody likes a show-off

RANGE ROVER 
> A benchmark in luxury SUVs. V6 diesel
BEST IN perfectly acceptable, supercharged V8
CLASS
petrol hilarious > VERDICT
T The perfect car
for smuggling cash to Switzerland, skiing, turning
up at a ball, game shooting and being smug

LEXUS

ELISE 
> Reminds just how connected cars used to be.
Slothful base 1.6 reminds how they used to go,
too, so pick 1.8. Alfa 4C is a pricey, pale imitation
> VERDICT
T Still sensational, but a 10-year old
example does the same job for half the price

EXIGE 
> Gym-bunny Elise with supercharged V6 retains
beautifully connected unassisted steering.
Superb new 350 Sport turns up the wick
> VERDICT
T The Lotus our tyre-frying Ben Barry
would buy. Make of that what you will

EVORA 400 
> Thoroughly refreshed Evora loses its looks
but gains easier access and thumping
supercharged 400bhp > VERDICT
T The chassis
and steering are Lotus at its sparkling best.
Sublime, but you’ll still buy a Cayman

McLAREN
540C 
> The world’s first decontented supercar is

NEW
ENTRY somehow still worth donating a ball to put on

CT 
> Pig-ugly premium Prius a bizarre mix of
STEER
CLEAR decent handling, woeful performance and a
ride so poor it makes a black cab feel like an
S-class > VERDICT
T Rubbish. Wouldn’t merit a single
sale if company car tax bills were less CO2-focused

IS 
> Sharp-suited, well-specced 3-series rival
finally gets decent rear space. Good chassis,
but 250 V6 irrelevant, and frugal hybrid hobbled
by nasty CVT > VERDICT
T So close. Give this a
proper auto ’box and it would be right up there

GS/GSF 
> Twin-pronged petrol hybrid cooking range
now spiced up by GSF 5.0 V8. Lack of turbos
admirable but like hunting M5 bear with a
peashooter. > VERDICT 300h makes company
car sense, wilfully different GSF good fun

LS 
> Monstrously expensive but so refined it makes
a library feel like a sound-off competition (which
the Mark Levinson hi-fi could probably win)
> VERDICT
T Built for those in the back, but the S-class
makes every seat worth buying a ticket for

REPLACED
SOON

LOTUS

your driveway. Entry-level doesn’t get any
better. > VERDICT Ron could do worse as a
leaving present.

570S/570GT 
> Base McLaren ditches carbon body and supertrick suspension, but keeps carbon MonoCell
and twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8. Now available
with glass hatchback, too > VERDICT S and
GT performance near identical; both make 911
Turbo S feel too normal

650S 
> Original 12C showed real promise, 650S
delivers on it in spades. Trouble is the new 675LT
now makes the 650S feel like a poor relation…
> VERDICT
T Still two reasons to buy over the
675LT: it’s £60k cheaper and not sold out

675LT 
> What happens when you upgrade 33% of
the 650S? Absolute bloody magic. 666bhp,
stiffer suspension, faster gearshifts, quicker
steering and lighter by 100kg, whatever deal
Woking’s done with the devil, it’s worked
T This iss the McLaren you’ve been
> VERDICT
looking for

> Way more accomplished Gallardo successor,
twinned with new R8. Dual-clutch ’box mandatory,

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January 2017 | CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK 139

McLAREN > NISSAN
P1 

MX-5 

S-CLASS 

> £1m hybrid hypercar with aero straight from
McLaren’s F1 brains. All sold, and if you haven’t
got one you can’t have track-only GTR either
> VERDICT
T Astounding, but LaFerrari feels
more special (as it should for £400k more)

> Shorter than the ’89 original, and in real terms
half the price. 1.5 sweet but a little slow; 158bhp
2.0 quicker but charismatically challenged
> VERDICT
T Brilliantly uncomplicated budget
sports car. Dink the GTI for this

> Enormously technically accomplished, with
camera-guided ride quality and stacks of safety
kit. Maybach and Pullman variants immensely
flash > VERDICT Makes 7-series/A8 seem like
toys. Captains of industry should insist on it

MASERATI

MERCEDES

GHIBLI 

A-CLASS 

> The small exec you wish you owned still

NEW
ENTRY drives great, still looks the business, still

doesn’t have the four-cylinder diesel that
will get it on your shopping list. A shame >
VERDICT An alcohol-free Quattroporte

> In the manner of a stale donut nuked in the
microwave, midlife refresh has softened the
A-class, but it’s still a little tasteless > VERDICT
Expensive, cramped and crass inside – A3 and
1-series do it better

QUATTROPORTE 

A45 AMG 

> Supersaloon-cum-limo can’t decide what it
wants to be. Looks great, handles better, rides
worse. Twin-turbo V8 rapid; diesel a stopgap
> VERDICT Buy it to stretch its legs, not because
you want to kick back and stretch your own

> Mad turbo four-pot now makes 367bhp and
350lb ft. Goes like a banker who knows the game
is up; almost as expensive. > VERDICT Four-wheel
drive is not enough. Option the Dynamic Plus
pack with LSD as well.

FACELIFT
SOON

GRAN TURISMO/GRAN
TURISMO/
CABRIO 
> Four genuine seats a rarity in this class, but fill
them and you’ll regret choosing the weedy 4.2
over the 4.7 at the first sniff of a hill > VERDICT
Podgy, pretty, practical GT for folk who hate
four-door faux coupes. And luggage

GT MC STRADALE 
> Defies hulking 1770kg mass (and that’s after
a 110kg diet) and modest 444bhp to deliver an
engaging driving experience. Epic noise
> VERDICT
T Massively underrated. A GT3 for
an Italian lothario with a ’Ring season pass

LEVANTE 
> Good news: Maserati’s long-awaited SUV is
better than the Ghibli. Bad news: UK only gets
diesel. That’s like Berlusconi without the bunga
bunga > VERDICT
T Far from flawless but it’ll
show you a good time

MAZDA
2 
> Shot-in-the-arm supermini packs value, handling
and looks, leaving sweatmarks on the shirts of
VW Polo marketing team. > VERDICT
T Under-radar
Fiesta threatener gatecrashes the top table

B-CLASS 
> Posh MPV big brother to the A-class misses
out on the looks and the charisma, but is far
more homely and just as technically savvy
> VERDICT
T So boring the BMW 2-series Active
Tourer actually begins to make sense

CLA SALOON/SHOOTING
SAL
BRAKE 

> CLS clone based on the A-class, now
FACELIFT including the Shooting Brake swoopy estate.
SOON
Lacks gravitas of the former and sex appeal
of the latter > VERDICT
T Just because you can
make something smaller doesn’t mean you should

C-CLASS
C
CLASS SALOON/ESTATE 

> Latest C impresses with mini S-class looks
and almost all the same on-board tech. Denies
muttering it wishes the 3-series would drop
dead > VERDICT
T BMW still better to drive, but if
you want a relaxing techno cocoon, this is it

C-CLASS COUPE 
> All-new sexpot version of latest C-class (no
shrinking violet itself) now 10cm longer and
available with air suspension. Still tight in the
back > VERDICT Much more of an event than
the 4-series, but new A5 right back in the game

VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE

“Even retro hipsters
p
are, like, so over
this cynical marketing exercise, man”
3 HATCH/SALOON/ESTATE 
> Another left-field, right-on Mazda that’s great
to drive and cheap to run. Like shifting gears?
You’ll love the 118bhp unblown 1.5. If not, go
diesel > VERDICT Don’t buy a family hatch until
you’ve tried one. Oh, a Golf? Apart from that

5 
> Ancient off-the-pace MPV that looks like its
been side-swiped by a kamikaze dispatch rider.
Roomy and reasonable to drive, but just no!
> VERDICT
T Large ’n’ loaded but there’re too many
fresher rivals to warrant wasting your wedge

C63 AMG 
> Sounds madder than ever despite switch to
bi-turbo 4.0 V8; coupe gets unique 12-link rear
suspension for sharper responses > VERDICT
Saloon, estate or coupe, you get mega traction
and one of the best turbo engines ever

E-CLASS SALOON/ESTATE 
> It may look like a fat C-class but this techno
tour-de-force thinks it can drive better than you.
Exceptional interior out-luxes all comers
> VERDICT
T New 4-cyl diesel so smooth it churns
motorway miles into butter

6 SALOON/TOURER 

E CLASS COUPE/CONVERTIBLE
E-CLASS 

> Boss won’t let you have a 3-series? Double
your digit and try this impressive alternative.
Handles well but rides like the tyres have DTs
> VERDICT: Swoopily styled, tax friendly,
entertainig alternative to po-faced Passat

> CLK-replacing Coupe and Convertible are
still C-class derived – and old C-class at that
– despite the name. Both seat four in decent
comfort > VERDICT
T Restrained and tasteful
approach to mid-size luxury. Feeling their age

CX-3 

E63 AMG 

> Late arrival to the compact crossover party, but
worth a look thanks to smart, premium cabin and
crisp, engaging drive. Pity about the firm ride
> VERDICT
T Pricey, but better than most and well
equipped. Ideal MX-5 social life support truck

S-CLASS
S
CLASS COUPE/CABRIOLET 

> Over 5m of barking mad indulgence; Coupe
carries it off like Errol Flynn on a bender but, like
a model-turned-MP, will regret going topless
> VERDICT
T Howard Hughes would approve, but
he went crazy in the end

S63/S65 AMG 
> Twin-turbo 577bhp V8 and 621bhp V12 S-class
variants, because being richer than the world
isn’t enough and you need to out-drag it, too
> VERDICT
T S63 V8 is bonkers, S65 V12 utterly
certifiable. Does your chauffeur deserve it?

GLA 
> Confused A-class on stilts with lifestyle
pretensions and unnecessary surplus of interior
air vents. GLA45 AMG simply unnecessary
> VERDICT
T An A-class for the bewildered.
Maybe you thought you were ordering a GLC?

GLC 
> GLK replacement project, now available in
right-hand drive. Sounds like you shouldn’t care,
but the interior might just make you moist
> VERDICT
T Rivals are cheaper, better to drive –
GLC makes you feel special inside

G-CLASS 
> Cold War relic that’s so solidly built it could
ram raid a bank vault. Obscene special editions
a growing – literally – Mercedes obsession
> VERDICT You shouldn’t want one, but… Will
outlast any Defender. And possibly the planet

GLE / GLE COUPE 
> Rebadged M-class is heavy, ponderous and
depressingly cheap inside. Plug-in hybrid plays
the tech card, new Coupe an alternative to X6
> VERDICT
T As you were: it’s perfectly adequate
in a class dominated by the outstanding

GLS 
> Luxo-monster seven-seater lacks Range
Rover panache but it’s comfy, refined and the
infotainment doesn’t come from Poundland
> VERDICT Active anti-roll essential, but
otherwise it’s a brilliant bus

SLC 
> Buy the SLC43 AMG and it’s like an uglier but
cheaper F-type with a nicer interior. Buy any other
SLC and you’ve lost your mind > VERDICT
T Come
back 718 Boxster, all is forgiven

SL 
> The plastic surgeon was worth every penny:
post-facelift SL is far more MILF than Morph.
Turning up the sporty makes the most of the
super stiff structure, too > VERDICT
T Think twice
about that Ferrari California. No, seriously

AMG GT 
> SLS replacement is smaller (just), cheaper
(considerably) and blessed with a 4.0-litre
twin-turbo V8 > VERDICT It’s got the muscle but
maybe not the finesse

CLS/SHOOTING BRAKE 

> Crisply styled, commodious crossover is
stonking value. Handles tidily but ride and
refinement could be better. Pick base fwd diesel
> VERDICT
T MX-5 aside, this is the best thing to
come out of Mazda for years

> The word ‘coupaloon’ is banned from these
pages. Which is fine, because we’re all slightly in
love with the glamorous Shooting Brake
> VERDICT
T Second-gen version of the original
four-door coupe continues to lead the pack

140 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

HATCH/CONVERTIBLE 
> Bigger and gawkier and less charming, but
lovely BMW engines are smooth and peppy,
while ride has improved without ruining
handling. Five-door in danger of being practical
> VERDICT
T A better ownership proposition than
ever, even if you love it a little less

COOPER S/JCW 
> Up-sized BMW 2.0-litre four-pot-powered
228bhp JCW most powerful Mini ever. Terrific
turboed fun, if a tad overwrought and synthetic
> VERDICT Beware the options list, lest it lead to
bullion robberies and perilous dangling over cliffs

CLUBMAN 
> Replace circus-freakery of old Clubdoor with full
complement of portals, add longer wheelbase
and bigger boot; now bake > VERDICT
T Loaf-alike
maxi-Mini freshness, the grown-ups’ choice

COUNTRYMAN/PACEMAN 
> Bigger Minis for people who don’t want
slightly smaller (but still quite big) Minis.
Paceman even has fewer doors for those
phobic of apertures. Niche > VERDICT
T Please,
please make it stop. It’s all just so wrong

REPLACED
SOON

MITSUBISHI
MIRAGE 
> Looking for the ideal car to crash into a
shopfront when staging a ‘Look at this OAP
selecting reverse rather than first!’ YouTube
sensation? This is it > VERDICT Slow, rough,
harsh, bad. Sadly it’s not a mirage, it’s real

FACELIFT
SOON

ASX 
> Forgotten among the slew of small SUVs, the
ASX is rather good now, with decent ride and
sharper looks. Selectable 2/4wd is handy, but
engine is rattly and gearbox slushy > VERDICT
More workmanlike than many, and better for it

FACELIFT
SOON

SHOGUN 
> Great value old-school workhorse for those
whose workplace is covered in mud, oil or bomb
craters. Big, noisy diesel, chunky underpinnings
and reliable, with hose-down cabin > VERDICT
If you don’t need this car, you don’t need this car

OUTLANDER 
> Mid-life overhaul brings sleeker looks and lifts
cabin ambience by miles. Diesel still a bit of a
tractor but PHEV comfy and refined > VERDICT
UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid finally makes sense

MORGAN
3-WHEELER 
> As comfortable as riding over Niagara Falls in a
barrel and equally sane. Not as quick as it feels,
but quick enough for a three-wheeler on bike
tyres > VERDICT
T Brilliant Caterham alternative
without the macho trackday posturing

AERO 

MG

> Drop-top was first of the new-era Morgans and
goes it alone since Aero Supersports, Coupe and
Squiffy Perkins bought it at the Somme
> VERDICT Two worlds collide. And with 367bhp
they may not be the only ones doing the colliding

MG3 

PLUS 4/F
4/FOUR FOUR/ROADSTER 

> Tough-looking, spacious supermini has
handling that lives up to the promise of that
badge. As does the woeful build, crap engine
and concrete ride > VERDICT
T The Chinese are
coming! But so far they’ve only got to Tajikistan

> Entry-level Mog still with ‘traditional’ ash frame
and ‘traditional’ (ie, awful) dynamics. Four-seat
4/4 is surprise eco champ: 44mpg > VERDICT
Cheap, considering the craftsmanship, even at
£33k, but if you want an old car, buy one!

MG6 

> Previous woeful also-ran now updated
STEER with more efficient diesel, more kit and a
> 5.5-litre V8 twin-turbo with up to 577bhp and CLEAR
REPLACED rear-wheel-drive only in the UK. Like a BMW
hefty price cut > VERDICT
T Better, but
SOON
M5, but without the artificial enhancement
remains condemned by ghastly steering, buzzy
> VERDICT
T Bit of a blunt instrument.
engine. Wrong badge, wrong car, wrong owners
Spectacular soundtrack means you won’t care

CX-5 

MINI

GS 

> Spacious, duck-faced SUV hamstrung by
coarse 1.5 turbo petrol, shonky gearboxes
and shoddy interior. Handles okay, if you can
hack the firm ride > VERDICT Cheap, but not
sufficiently so. Dacia will sleep well tonight

PLUS 8 
> Don’t be fooled by tally-ho styling, 8 is built
on ‘modern’ bonded and riveted Aero chassis.
Fidgety like a child with worms > VERDICT
Classic Morgan style, modern BMW V8 poke,
manners like a five-term Borstal veteran

NISSAN
MICRA 
> As alluring as a dentist’s waiting room,

STEER
CLEAR and just as noisy – modern Micra is a

shadow of its former self and unworthy of
your interest > VERDICT
T Judge this book by its
cover: it’s dull to drive and just as cheap inside

STUFF
AUTOMOTIVE
TECHNOLOGY

PROFESSIONAL
service.gtechniq.com

NISSAN > RENAULT
JUKE 
> Mould-breaking compact crossover; you
think it would look like that if the mould hadn’t
broken? Cheap interior and so-so dynamics
belie the hype > VERDICT Does it still count as
‘different’ if everybody’s got one?

NOTE 
> Like a Honda Jazz with middle-age spread,
this is a small, practical MPV-hatch with limited
aspirations of greatness > VERDICT An automotive
cardigan: deeply uncool but good at what it does

LEAF 
> Gawky looking EV pioneer now with 20% extra
range. Updated interior even more like a Star
Trek
k shuttle, and not in a good way > VERDICT
BMW i3 far funkier, Renault Zoe far cheaper,
internal combustion still superior. Beam us up

PULSAR 
> So dull it can only be explained by a
conspiracy theory claiming it owes its entire
existence to a long-range Qashqai sales-boost
strategy > VERDICT
T Buy a Focus. Or a Golf. Or a
Ceed. Or an Auris. Okay, maybe not an Auris…

QASHQAI 
> Second-gen crossover carries on exactly
where the original left off: meandering
ominously in the middle lane to the tune of ‘are
we there yet?’ > VERDICT
T Likeable, with a side
order of resting on its own laurels

X-TRAIL 
> The X-Trail used to be a rough-tough off-roader
apparently designed on an Etch-a-Sketch.
Now it’s a Qashqai put through a photocopier
at +10% > VERDICT
T It still ain’t exciting. But it’s
probably going to sell a lot better

GT-R 
> 2017MY brings a slightly thicker veneer of
luxury (and another 20bhp) – but this is still
basically a morally ambiguous hardcase
moments from rage > VERDICT
T Drivetrain
sounds like a drum kit falling down the stairs;
leaves your brain feeling much the same

PAGANI
HYUARA 
> Spectacular cottage (villetta?) industry
supercar with active aero, AMG-built 720bhp
twin-turbo V12 and an interior more decadent
than a Roman orgy > VERDICT
T Want have, can’t
have: they’re all sold. But a roadster is rumoured

PEUGEOT
ION 
> Rebadged Mitsubishi iMiev seats four, and
just as well: with leasing bills at £400/month
you’ll need passengers to chip in > VERDICT
Congestion-charge, road-tax and petrol-bill
exempt. Zero-rated for driving pleasure too

108 
> Pug-faced city car. Go for 82bhp 1.2: the
68bhp 1.0 is so slow we were all monkeys when
it set off and it still hasn’t hit 60mph

The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs
> VERDICT
T Reasonable no-frills city car but
boot and rear space tight. Skoda Citigo is better

208 
> Refresh more than just a prettier face as dynamic
update adds handling chops to 208’s interior chic
> VERDICT
T Pug’s recovered that VaVaVoom from
the back of the sofa. No, wait – that’s the other lot

308 HATCH/SW ESTATE 
> Handsome, hushed 308 at its best when
eating motorway miles, or when you’re watching
it out of the window of your Golf. Fiddly
touchscreen > VERDICT
T Hatch isn’t up to
scratch, but roomier SW wagon is worth a look

308 GTi 
> Discreet styling hides playful proclivities;
LSD keeps things tight up front while fantastic
French chassis delivers lively rear > VERDICT
250 and 270 variants both great, but 270 gets
more kit and extra power

508 SALOON/ESTATE 
> Little-seen XL Pug with unconvincing cod
German accent. HYbrid4 gets 4wd via 37bhp
’leccy motor on rear wheels > VERDICT
T RXH
is poor-man’s Audi Allroad. Rest of range is
padding on your company car list

PARTNER TEPEE 
> Spacious, versatile Tepee so useful it could
almost be a van. Funny, that. Slothful, spartan,
but drives okay and ‘real’ MPVs can’t match
practicality > VERDICT
T Make your own clothes?
Live in a Yurt? This is the car for you

2008 
> Welly-wearing 208 gets a facelift which hits on the
idea of actually resembling an SUV, and at a stroke
makes a decent car more credible > VERDICT
Not so much leaping on the SUV bandwagon as
hitching a ride… but it’s an attractive hitchhiker!

3008 
> Tell friends you’ve bought one and they’ll
NEW
ENTRY laugh until they see it. Sharp to look at,
surprisingly fun to drive and not too weird. >
VERDICT Just make it absolutely clear you’ve not
bought the old one.

5008 
> Woah! Do they still make that?! Who’d
have thought? Stacks of space and at a
decent price, but an S-Max is vastly better
> VERDICT
T Sound medium-MPV choice – if you
live 34,678 miles from your nearest Ford dealer

REPLACED
SOON

RCZ 
> Rough-riding coupe gets a rough ride at the
hands of Audi’s infinitely more polished TT.
Decent handling, messy cabin, useless back
seats > VERDICT
T There are better coupes, but if
the styling suckers you, get a brisk RCZ 200

PORSCHE
718 BOXSTER 
> The turbo revolution continues as Boxster bins
the six for a brace of faster forced-induction
fours. Updated face now flatter than Brian
Harvey’s > VERDICT
T Whole lotta lag; chassis still
a stairway to heaven

718 CAYMAN 

RXC TURBO 

> Efficiency march means sublime outgoing model
ditches choral flat-six for punchy but industrial turbo
four. Gets uglier in the process, still handles like
you wish all cars would > VERDICT
T Better by the
numbers but...know any nice 981s for sale?

> Play out those Le Mans fantasies on the
commute with this Peterborough-built Polaris.
Sequential ’box welcome in town like an EDL
demo > VERDICT When you’ve outgrown your
Caterhams and 911 GT3s, here’s the answer

CAYMAN GT4 
> Junior GT3 is first Cayman to get more power
than current 911. 380bhp, manual ’box, LSD and
a grin wider than a Glasgow smile > VERDICT
Porsche finally admits that the Cayman and not
the halo 911 is its real sports coupe

911 
> 991.2 may not look much different but under
the skin lurks a whole new range of turbocharged
engines. The most grown-up 911 yet > VERDICT
Rear-engined appeal lives on. Proper Turbo now
utterly ferocious, Turbo S unhinged

911 GT3/GT3 RS 
> New engines, PDK-only, electric steering and
rear steering too for this generation. Epic drive
> VERDICT
T Both have won our end of year
Sports Car Giant Test (2013, 2015). Enough said

911R 
> The 911 that Porsche secretly wants the 911 still
to be. It’s an anti-991.2: a non-turbo 4.0 bruiser
in retro disguise, with 493bhp and manual ’box
> VERDICT Supple, poised, supreme fun. But
we’d still have a Cayman GT4

918 
> Epic 4wd hybrid can waste GTis with 6sec
0-62mph electric mode, then slay Lambos by
adding 600bhp V8. Superb electric steering,
too > VERDICT
T Almost overshadowed in the P1LaFerrari posturing war, but easily as good

MACAN 
> Baby Cayenne is even better than dad –
BEST IN and Evoque. Base car with Golf GTI 2.0 makes
CLASS
no sense when S and S Diesel are pennies
more > VERDICT
T GT3 RS for trackdays, Cayman
GT4 for weekends, this for everything else. Sorted

CAYENNE 
> Porsche’s cash-cow is a prize German Angus
now, handsome and the best SUV to drive. V6 S
quick, too quiet, Diesel S dynamite > VERDICT
TA
proper Porker? Turbo S’s sub-8min Nürburgring
lap time says yes

PANAMERA 
> When they said four-door 911, this is what they
meant. The Mk1 was just throat-clearing; this Mk2
is the opera. Drips with tech, innovation and better
dynamics – and it looks perfect > VERDICT
T A lesson
in making nonsensical niches make perfect sense

RADICAL
SR3 SL 
> Properly type-approved (street legal) SR3
gets a 300bhp blown Ford 2.0 instead of a
bike motor, a heater and even a 12v socket.
It’s almost lavish! > VERDICT
T Toned down for
occasional road use but still hairier than a cave
man with hypertrichosis

RENAULT
TWIZY 
> Part electric scooter, part social experiment,
it’s easy to love the doorless Twizy, especially
on balmy evenings along La Croisette. Grimy
days in Doncaster a tougher ask > VERDICT
Transportation of the future, if it’s never wet in
the future and you like chatting at traffic lights

ZOE 
> Delightful little EV, now with increased range
and cabin like a spa waiting room. Overall
purchase now offered alongside confusing
battery leasing option > VERDICT
T Zen-like
calmness replaces nagging range anxiety

TWINGO 
> Rear-engined rwd runabout isn’t as nippy as it
sounds, but is roomy, with clever smartphone
connectivity. More cheeky than sister Smart,
and cheaper > VERDICT
T Lower-power version
with ’80s F1 Turbo paintjob the way to go

CLIO 
>Welcome return to form for the five-door Clio
with even boggo ones looking handsome, a
well sorted cabin and sprightly driving
qualities. Three-cylinder turbo petrol a (slowish) hoot
T Fiesta more fun, Clio more stylish
> VERDICT

FACELIFT
SOON

CLIO RS 
> Remember when Clio RS was king of the
hill? No? Probably for the best, because even
new, more powerful RS Trophy can’t off-set
awful auto ’box > VERDICT
T Brings its own Trophy
but still doesn’t win. Rumoured RS Wooden Spoon
pure speculation

FACELIFT
SOON

CAPTUR 
> It’s a Clio on stilts – but that’s not necessarily
a bad thing. No 4x4 pretensions means focus
is on personalisation. Good engines. No Juke
to drive > VERDICT
T Technicolour clown car if
you’re not careful with the spec, otherwise okay

MEGANE 
> All-new French Golf looks like a foie-grased Clio
outside and a low-rent Tesla inside. Is thus an
instant, infinite improvement over the old one
> VERDICT
T Renaultsport-fettled GT with rearwheel steering a keen drive, too. Sacré bleu!

MEGANE RS 
> Continues as the old three-door for now; raucous
2.0 turbo, manual ’box, awesome chassis – this a
proper, pulse-spiking hot hatch > VERDICT Buy
one before they ruin it like the latest RS Clio

SCENIC 
> Fourth-generation compact MPV trades the

NEW
ENTRY practicality that made your wife want one for
an exterior sharp enough that you’ll
consider having more kids, although the stiff ride
could see you arrive too early > VERDICT Console
your manhood with the fact that 20s are standard

NISSAN 370Z NISMO
£461pm
No spring chicken but one of the last
six-cylinder sports coupes you can
buy, hilariously rear-biased handling

JAGUAR F-PACE 3.0
SUPERCHARGED
£672pm

AUDI A4 3.0 TDI QUATTRO S
LINE 218PS
£333pm

There’s a diesel six too but the
’charger adds snarly acceleration

Better than ever – a discreet and
rapid ground-covering device

Freshly-tweaked M Junior is a
classy hot hatch with an even
better turbo six.

Spec 3.7-litre 6-cyl petrol, rwd, 6spd
manual, 339bhp, 26.6mpg List price
£38,050 £3561.53/month for 48 months
Initial payment £2769.18
Mileage allowance 8000/year
Via rivervaleleasing.co uk

Spec 3.0-litre 6-cyl petrol, awd, 8spd
automatic, 375bhp, 31.7mpg List price
£52,300 £672.34/month for 48 months
Initial payment £4034.04
Mileage allowance 8000/year
Vi fl
i
k

Spec 3.0-litre 6-cyl diesel, awd, 7spd
automatic, 215bhp, 60.1mpg List price
£37,580 £333.80/month for 24 months
Initial payment £3004.20
Mileage allowance 5000/year
i
h l

Spec 3.0-litre 6-cyl petrol, rwd, 6spd
manual, 335bhp, 36.2mpg List price
£32,405 £326.75/month for 18 months
Initial payment £1960.49
Mileage allowance 8000/year
Via gogreenleasing co uk

14

BMW M140i
£326pm

All prices inclusive of VAT and correct at time of going to press

LEASE ACADEMY: SUPER SIXES
Fight the downsizing revolution with a sweet six-cylinder motor

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ROLLS-ROYCE > VOLVO
KADJAR 
> Nissan may rue the day it left the parts
BEST IN store door ‘Kadjar’, as Renault’s take on the
CLASS
Qashqai bests the original in every way
> VERDICT Aggressive pricing, smooth ride,
great refinement, squishy seats

ROLLS-ROYCE
GHOST 
> A little posher, with more bespoke options
to hide BMW-ness, new gearbox for the V12
and minor fettling to the metal. > VERDICT
Perfectly built and pitched and more individual.
A Phantom for millionaires not billionaires

WRAITH 
> A 624bhp twin-turbo V12 sporting vehicle
that drives like no other. Dismisses distance
but would never lower itself to squeal through
bends > VERDICT
T Whisper it, but Rolls has
produced an amazing driver’s car

PHANTOM 
> Simply the best luxury car money can buy,
DIES
w a cabin to embarrass a superyacht,
SOON with
opulence to make Donatella Versace blush
(if she could), and a V12 pulling you along. Not
that you’ll hear it > VERDICT
T Every car on earth
starts with ambitions of being a Phantom

DAWN 
> Wraith with the roof cut off – although actually
80% of the exterior panels are new. Best-looking
Roller, it rides like a liner and costs more than a VW
software decision > VERDICT
T Nothing between
the stars and the stars

SEAT
ATECA 
> Spanish latecomer to the SUV party gets
NEW
ENTRY the dresscode right, isn’t the life and soul
but neither will it bore you into leaving
early. Another sangria please! > VERDICT SE,
petrol, Manuel (‘I am from Barcelona!’)

The home for all your car maintenance and ownership needs

packaged but too noisy and slow > VERDICT
Cheaper than the Up, but not by much. Hyundai
i10 also worth a look. Yes, actual advice!

FABIA HATCH/ESTATE 
> Very mature little supermini with bodywork
creases a Corby trouser press would be proud
of. Estate version ideal for Jack Russells
> VERDICT
T Roomy, well made and unexciting –
like a low-rent VW Polo. Which is what it is

RAPID HA
HATCH/SPACEBACK 

Spaceback is shorter, more ‘stylish’, still dross
> VERDICT
T Unless you’ve got a lot of potatoes and
no other way to carry them, just don’t

OCTAVIA HATCH/ESTATE 
> Basically the same as a Golf and A3
underneath, but bigger, cheaper and more
functional inside. Hot vRS versions old-school
ballistic fun. 4x4s practical > VERDICT
T It’s a lot
of car for the money

SUPERB SALOON/ESTATE 
> Now so vast inside it echoes. Sharp lines,
stacks of kit and double the number of
umbrellas. Shame about the dull interior and
stiffer price > VERDICT
T All the family car you’ll
ever need. Only bigger

YETI 
> Ikea wardrobe on wheels – so practical
BEST IN you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
CLASS
Good news is you don’t have to assemble it
yourself > VERDICT
T Bigger engines are better.
Choose Outdoor model for that rugged look. Grrr

SMART
FORTWO 
> Chunkier new ForTwo has middle-age spread
compared to the last one. Wider, with a much
better ride, higher quality cabin and slicker
auto, it is older, but wiser > VERDICT
T Less of a
compromise, and still a brilliant city runabout

MII 

FORFOUR 
> Renault/Merc tie-up means ForFour is
accomplished with a classy cabin, although
ludicrous pricing seem at odds with budget city
car buyers > VERDICT
T Sister car Twingo is more
than two grand cheaper. Work that out

IBIZA HATCH/SC/ESTATE 

IBIZA CUPRA 
> Update to 189bhp 1.8 turbo with manual ’box
makes this a brilliant budget blast. Great interior,
finessed details, tempting choice > VERDICT
Fiesta ST for outright thrills, this for everything else

TOLEDO 
> OAP special whose sole interesting

STEER
CLEAR feature is that while it looks like a boring

saloon, it’s actually a boring hatch! Massive
interior > VERDICT
T This and identical Skoda Rapid
duke it out for UK’s dullest car. Czech please!

LEON HATCH/ESTATE 
> Bigger third-gen Leon gets the same MQB
platform as Golf and A3, but only 150+bhp cars
get multi-link rear. Ride and cabin plastics brittle
> VERDICT
T Sound, value-focused in-house Golf
rival. ST wagon with 1.4TSi gets our cash

LEON CUPRA 
> Much to the amusement of tyre manufacturers
everywhere, the front-wheel-drive Leon Cupra
now has 290bhp. GTI who? > VERDICT Ballistic,
and best bought with a manual transmission

KORANDO 

REXTON W 
> Like that weird 1960s Izal bog roll, Rexton
kind of does the job, but is hard and shiny to
the touch and not that nice to use. Deals better
with mud > VERDICT Plenty of space, but
dynamically, like Izal, it’s gone down the pan

TURISMO 
> Marginally less odious than the old Rodius, but
every bit as practical, this giant 7-seater is slower
than the Crossrail boring machine > VERDICT
Has mini-cab written all over it, or soon will, which
will handily help disguise the ugliness

TIVOLI 
> There’s no getting away from it: Korea’s alsoran carmaker has built a contender. Great value,
spacious and – shock – well-finished inside
> VERDICT Dross heritage now under threat

On the tech front most of the
hard work is done for you, but
the Harmon Kardon audio
upgrade is comparatively
inexpensive at £950. If you’re
a fan of active cruise control
(and if you do big mileages
you certainly should be) that’s
an acceptable £890 while
the Convenience Pack adds
door-mounted lights and
keyless entry for £425. Get
busy ticking.
Running total: £62,310

Alfa Romeos in red have
been done to death, so
seriously consider something
a bit more mature. The
metallic Vesuvio Grey – read
‘Ash Grey’ presumably – and
Montecarlo Blue are beautiful
at £695, but if you must
go red at least make it the
Competizione at £1750.
Running total: £59,695

Tough decisions to be made
on the wheel front. All the
options are 19-inch front
and rear, and the standard
fit items are pretty enough.
£350 extra will get you the
same elegant design with
a dark finish, upping the
sinister factor, but for the
same price you can have
dark-finished Cloverleaf/
Teledial versions, which are
Alfa to the core. You know
what needs to be done.
Running total: £60,045
If you plan to drive your
Quadrifoglio as it should be
driven, you’ll want to look at
the carbon ceramic brakes
at £5500 and possibly the
carbon-shelled seats at
£2500. And probably a cargo
net too at £75. As standard
the calipers are black, but
£150 turns them yellow or
£250 turns them red. With
Vesuvio Grey we’d plump for
standard. Dark tinted rear
windows are £275, great if
you have kids but otherwise
unbalances the shape.
Fi l
l £70 385

SUBARU
IMPREZA 
> Yes, it still exists beyond WRX and STi. No, yo
don’t want one. Boggo Impreza reduced to a
1.6 petrol hatchback only with optional CVT.
Shudder > VERDICT Have you got a brand new
combine harvester? It’s probably a better driv

CITIGO 

Generously Alfa gives you
five trim options at no extra
cost. Careful choice is
required to complement
the exterior shade; tick
the red box and you get
same-coloured stitching
and lower panels on the
dash and door trims, which
would work well with red
or white paint. The white
option will probably date
horribly and get grubby, so
as an alternative consider
all-black with red stitching
or green and white for a nod
to Alfas past.
Running total: £59,695

> Borderline rubbish to drive but more practical
than the Teflon-coated trousers you’re probably
wearing if you’re giving it serious consideration
> VERDICT
T Huge, handy and hellish value, but
we’d have a pre-reg Qashqai or CX-5 any day

ALHAMBRA 

> Skoda’s all but identical version of the VW Up
and Seat Mii. Pick your badge – they’re all well

The UK is limited to the
8spd auto but be thankful
it’s made it to rhd in the first
place. There’s already lots
of kit thrown in at the base
price including 19in wheels,
sat-nav and leather, so
more scope for the details.
Starting price: £59,000

SSANGYONG

> Subtlest of subtle facelifts belies 15%
efficiency improvement. Still a big box with slideydoors and seven proper seats; put your family first
for a change > VERDICT
T Genetically identical to
the VW Sharan, but nearly £2k less

SKODA

Taking the plunge with Alfa’s sportiest saloon? Good for you –
we have some suggestions on how to make the most of it

> Long, narrow notchback hatch is automotive

STEER
CLEAR equivalent of Eastern Europe refugee. Big boot.

> Tedious-looking city-box is far less funky than
Renault’s Twingo but roomier and good to drive.
You don’t look at the mantelpiece, and all that
> VERDICT
T VW Up more desirable, pretty Skoda
Citigo cheaper. Siesta time in Seat’s prod dept?
> Angular, angry-looking supermini, possibly
because it knows how much better a Fiesta is to
drive. It’s not bad though, and ST wagon is huge
> VERDICT
T Not as sporty as it likes to think, but
holding up in face of newer, better-driving rivals

SPEC EXPERT
ALFA ROMEO GIULIA
QUADRIFOGLIO

WRX/STI 
> Sorry WRX, I’m breaking up with you. It’s
not you, it’s me. No, it is you, it’s definitely you
and your crashy ride, nasty dash and inflexible
engine > VERDICT
T Brilliant, on its day, in its day.
But that was yesterday, so let’s call it a day

144 CARMAGA ZINE.CO.UK | January 2017

TOTAL PRICE: £70,385

AURIS 
> Most Aurises sold are hybrids, mainly ’cos rest
of the range is pants and other makers haven’t
got their hybrid acts together yet > VERDICT
Only worth picking as company wheels if you
have a Starbucks-like aversion to paying tax

> Brave attempt to take on German compact
cabriolets, but chassis has less integrity than
Sepp Blatter. Good value if you don’t mind the
image (What image? Exactly!) > VERDICT
T Marty
McFly wouldn’t. Doc Emmett Brown just might

> Although better to drive it lacks the design purity
of its predecessor and the charm of the original.
> VERDICT
T Even wannabe retro hipsters are, like,
so totally over this cynical marketing exercise, man

PRIUS 

INSIGNIA SALOON/TOURER 

> Old Golf in a slinky dress. Scrubs up well. Fun,
friendly, and more generous in the back than
Audi TT > VERDICT Ballistic R version definitely
worthy; low-power diesel not so much

XV 
> Hopelessly expensive half-way SUV half-wit.
Suspension thumps so intrusive you’ll think the
Stomp musical is performing in the wheelarches
> VERDICT
T In the tough crossover market
Subaru makes up the numbers, and the price

FORESTER 
> Appealingly functional square-rigger the
kind of crossover that existed before we had
‘lifestyles’. Good on road, great off it, but not
cheap > VERDICT Old-school Subaru honest,
charming. Tweed cap, pipe, sheep flock optional

OUTBACK 
> The unloved Legacy’s only UK legacy is this
Allroad-style crossover. New for spring 2015, it’s
huge inside and the 4x4 look isn’t all for show
> VERDICT
T Still more niche than a cragside
crevice. Dependable, not desirable

BRZ 
>Gloriously simple but under-nourished
rear-drive Boxer coupe, crying out for a
supercharger. GT86 twin marginally more ‘fun’
> VERDICT
T Loveable car we wanted them to
make but you don’t want to buy

SUZUKI
CELERIO 
> Braking-phobic city car otherwise spacious,
full of kit and cheap. Three-cylinder petrol
only plus all the handling vim of a B&Q Value
wheelbarrow > VERDICT Dowdy and rowdy.
Be glad you’ve got DAB and a cupholder

SWIFT 
> An unsung hero, and not just the excellent
134bhp Sport. Handles well, spacious and
cheap. Upgraded Dualjet motor sweet
> VERDICT
T Buy one and challenge anyone who
questions your choice to a fistfight

SX4 S-CROSS 
> The cheap way to clone a Qashqai. Won’t
score any points for style, in fact you might hide
it at the back of the school car park. Diesel is the
best bet – you’ll have to stop and get out less
T A crossover to be cross over
> VERDICT

JIMNY 
> A box with a four-wheel-drive system bolted onto
the bottom, and a 1.3-petrol engine hanging out
front. There are seats too > VERDICT
T The swamps
the Jimny can easily drive over were probably
primordial when it first launched

VITARA 
> Two-tone cross-dresser to rival the Juke, with a
handsome body and usefully economical diesel
engine. Cabin could do with some work though
> VERDICT
T Rutting Rhinos and pink paint are a
thing of the past: it’s a serious family car now

TESLA
MODEL S 
> Embarrassing car makers everywhere who
FACELIFT said it can’t be done, the staggering electric
SOON
Model S has near 400-mile range, alluring
infotainment and, in the P90d, hyperdrive
>VERDICT
T Star Trekking, across the universe, in
the Tesla Model S along with Elon Musk…

TOYOTA
AYGO 
> Bright-looking, stupidly-cramped city car with
a characterful three-pot motor is as cheap to run
as it feels. See also (ropey) Citroën C1, Pug 108
> VERDICT
T As ‘Up’hill struggles go, battling VW
with this is like climbing north face of the Aygo

YARIS 

CASCADA 

BEETLE HATCH/CABRIO 

LEVORG 
> Impreza estate with a silly name. Single choice
of 1.6 petrol with CVT auto and 4wd means it’s
got a silly drivetrain, too > VERDICT
T Levorg is
grovel backwards; dealers may need to. Niche

> Putting the faintly ludicrous 94mpg claim
to one side, Prius v4.0 boasts entirely new
structure, improved suspension, and is no
longer totally joyless to drive
> VERDICT
T A Toyota hybrid that handles? Hold
the front page. Electric-only range still pathetic

> Much improved by mid-life facelift, still
handsome, spacious and loaded with kit. And
then along came the all-new Mondeo and
Passat > VERDICT
T An out-of-date car in a dying
sector, latest rivals leaving it behind

MIRAI 

MERIVA 

> Weird on the outside, Star Trek on the inside
and a hydrogen fuel-cell underneath. But for all
that it drives just like a very refined regular car
> VERDICT
T We’re convinced by the tech, but
there’s nowhere to refuel it yet

> Suicide is painless, goes the theme tune
to M*A*S*H*,
* clearly not referring to tight
car parks and the Meriva MPV’s back-tofront rear doors > VERDICT
T Nice idea, but does
anyone care about mainstream MPVs anymore?

REPLACED
SOON

AVENSIS SALOON/TOURER 

ZAFIRA TOURER 

> Journeyman company car is like a small
oil-field drill: does little well – despite new BMW
diesels. Tourer marginally more stylish
> VERDICT
T White goods. Also available in light
grey, medium grey, dark grey. Not beige, oddly

> Large MPV with slick seating arrangement
and much more spacious than the old bus
it replaced. Struggles in the face of S-Max
greatness > VERDICT
T Accomplished but outflanked by crossovers’ rise to dominance

VERSO 

VAUXHALL MOKKA X 

> Safe, stodgy seven-seater with snore-worthy
chassis and a big-selling BMW-sourced 1.6
diesel that feels like half its horses are asleep too
> VERDICT Does as little badly as it does well,
but easy meat for Ford C-Max or Citroën Picasso

> Facelift filed under ‘about f***ing time

NEW
ENTRY too’, Mokka gets a better cabin, some new

engines and pointless suffix. Driving misery
reduced by half > VERDICT X marks the spot
where the ball was – about five years ago

RAV4 

ANTARA 

> Was a soft-roader pioneer back in ’94 but has
settled for fluffy slippers in its old age. Trump
card is boot big enough for a casino table
> VERDICT Roomy, reasonable, unremarkable.
More dynamic SUVs deserve your dosh

> Old-fashioned SUV based on the Chevrolet
Captiva. Chevrolet has subsequently quit selling
cars in the UK altogether. You do the maths
> VERDICT
T Comprehensively outclassed by
Kuga etc. Felt dated at launch in 2007

LAND CRUISER/V8 

VXR8 

> Actually two distinct models but both proper
bare-knuckle ladder-frame brawlers that
wouldn’t know a latte if you spilt it on their
rigger’s boots > VERDICT Rough, but if we were
stranded in the desert we’d trust it over a Rangie

> 577bhp Aussie import that’s £20k cheaper
than an M5. Optional auto ’box’s bid to add
sophistication akin to serving lager in cut
crystal. But who gives a 4X? > VERDICT
T Big,
brutish charm. But row your own, mate

GT86 
> Identical to Subaru BRZ but dealers have
actually sold more than three. Same
delectable handling, shameful dearth of
go from unblown 2.0 > VERDICT
T Sensational to
drive, but such hard work only a handful of folk
have found out

FACELIFT
SOON

VAUXHALL

VOLKSWAGEN
UP 
> Box on wheels with VW badge is the kind
of city car the Japanese have been building
for years, except much better quality
> VERDICT
T Hyped as a revolution and hardly that.
But a spacious small car with a strong image

FACELIFT
SOON

POLO 

VIVA 
> It may look like it was dropped before it had
set, but is comfy, roomy and refined for a city
car, and comes with plenty of standard kit
> VERDICT
T More generous than it may appear
at first glance. We’d still buy an Up, though

ADAM/ADAM ROCKS 
> Obese Fiat 500 wannabe with huge options
list and comedy naming shtick. Adam S warm
hatch worth a thought; Rocks crossover flaccid
> VERDICT
T Revitalised by new 1.0-litre turbo
triple. Buy a paper bag and try it

CORSA 
> Made-over Corsa looks like a candidate for
When Plastic Surgery Goes Bad, but it is more
refined and better to drive. 1.0T a good motor
> VERDICT
T Vauxhall keeps trying, but Fiesta
still cheerfully waving from way out in front

CORSA VXR 
> Luton’s hooligan now smoother round the
edges. Unless you pay extra for the slippy diff and
hardcore suspension. Thug life. > VERDICT
T Better
but still not best. Lacks Fiesta ST’s polish and sparkle

ASTRA HATCH/ESTATE 
> Massive step forward in terms of driving
dynamics and interior design, added
techno-charm of OnStar concierge and Apple
CarPlay a bonus > VERDICT
T In hatchback
grandmother’s footsteps, Focus and Golf turn
round to find Astra standing right behind them

> Sizeable but soulless, Yaris can’t match rivals’
dynamics or pocket luxury feel. Clever but
ASTRA GTC/VXR 
costly hybrid version slashes fuel bills and boot
> Astra 3dr remains as was for now; ie still
space > VERDICT
T Largely joyless supermini last
REPLACED stylish enough to stand comparison to
to be picked for the school football team
SOON
Scirocco. VXR fearsomely fast but moody
> VERDICT
T The sexiest Vauxhall. Let’s hope
replacement doesn’t lose its mojo

> Bothered by the Fiesta’s Airfix plastics? Buy a
Polo instead – brilliant engines, bank-vault build
quality and almost as good as the Ford to drive
> VERDICT Small capacity turbo petrols are a
riot, and increasingly efficient, too

POLO GTI 
> Baby GTI right down to the tartan seats,
now with bigger balls. Vastly improved by
introduction of manual gearbox. Surprisingly
strong value > VERDICT
T Where’s the nearest
Byron Burger drive-thru?

GOLF HATCH/ESTATE 
> Quality, refinement and safety put this at
BEST IN the top of the family car class. So it’s a swot,
CLASS
basically. And we all know swots are boring
T The obvious choice. A3 offers extra
> VERDICT
flash for a bit more cash, Focus better to drive

GOLF CABRIOLET 
> The swot’s sexy top-dropping sister promises
open-air thrills but remains a sensible
homebody at heart. Your parents would approve
> VERDICT
T Or will you always be thinking about
the A3 Cabriolet you almost bought?

GOLF GTD/GTI/R 
> GTD is your dad in running shoes. GTI is
BEST IN your dad when he was wild, young and free.
CLASS
R is your dad having a mid-life crisis. All are
ace > VERDICT
T After seven generations, VW has
this hot-hatch thing nailed. Buy without regret

GOLF SV 
> The artist formerly known as the Golf Plus. And
by ‘artist’ we mean medium-sized MPV. The car
you always knew the Golf would grow up to be
> VERDICT
T Not a bad choice, but now the BMW
2-series Active Tourer is breathing down its neck

SCIROCCO 

PASSAT SALOON/ESTATE 
> Interior design and refinement so good it
shames some limos, cutting-edge kit and
elegant looks. If only it wasn’t so dull to drive
> VERDICT
T Mega mile-muncher for the
undemanding. Aesthete to Mondeo’s athlete

CC 
> Previous Passat on a night out – but we
aren’t talking clubbing and a kebab. Awfully
close to being genuinely sexy, even if it is a
CLS knock-off > VERDICT
T Like all great knockoffs, it’s almost as good and cheaper

REPLACED
SOON

TOURAN 
> It’s still more Millets than House of Fraser, but
the all-new Touran does family stuff irritatingly
well. Makes the C-Max seem somehow shoddy
> VERDICT
T MPV meets MQB, nearly goes VIP

SHARAN 
> Large seven-seater sliding-door people carrier.
Nice enough but made to look silly by the
all-but-identical and significantly cheaper Seat
Alhambra > VERDICT Get the same car from
Seat for less. Or try the Ford Galaxy

TIGUAN 
> All-new Tiguan is accomplished but achingly
predictable. Have Seat or Skoda made more of
the MQB platform with their versions?
> VERDICT
T No sex please, we’re VW

TOUAREG 
> The people’s Porsche Cayenne. Do the
people still want their own Cayenne? Well, it is
nearly £10k cheaper… > VERDICT
T Big, comfy,
competent SUV. Great on and off road

VOLVO
V40 
> Smart Swede in a sector dominated by
Germans. Efficient D4 engine and impressive
kit, but it’s a bit bloated in seat, suspension and
steering feel > VERDICT
T Sitting uncomfortably
between Golf and A3. A rock and hard place

V60 
> A Frenchman who can’t cook. A Jackson who
can’t dance. A Volvo estate which can’t carry
much. No such things against the very nature
of being exist, do they? > VERDICT Handsome,
safe, efficient estate hamstrung by one issue…

V90 
> Sacrilegiously abandons the space race for
style while prioritising comfort and refinement
over German machismo. Lovely inside. A
genuine alternative now > VERDICT
T If there’s
such a thing as Swedish zen, this is it

S90 
> Smart-looking, well-crafted and (shock)
adept-handling exec saloon dances a merry
jig on the grave of unloved outgoing S80 >
VERDICT Loudly purring Swedish cat enters the
5-series/E-class pigeon enclosure

XC60 
> Space, sharp looks, competitive pricing, family
safety and a wipe-clean cabin. Only grumbles
are grumbly D5 diesel engine and high CO2
> VERDICT Volvo really is good at SUVs. XC60
hard to beat, even by much newer competitors

XC70 
> A V70 in breeches, with raised ride height and
4x4 option. Awd starts at less than 40 grand,
which is good value if you find SUVs crass
> VERDICT
T If you don’t like having a dozen brace
of shot pheasant in your boot, don’t buy one

XC90 
> It was worth the (long) wait: luxurious
seven-seat interior, a smorgasbord of clever
safety tech, efficient four-cylinder and plug-in
drivetrains, and refined drive > VERDICT One of
the most complete cars on sale at any price

January 2017 | SUBSC RIB E & GE T 3 ISSUES FOR £ 5! G RE ATMAGA ZINES.CO.UK /CAR 145

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„For me KW suspension gives me the most
success and confidence when driving
the Nürburgring.”

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race taxi driver

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Telephone: 0870 990 7536
Telefax: 0845 021 2548
eMail: info@KWautomotive.co.uk

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Lacklustre cars turned decent BTCC racers
Racing improves the breed, but for these generally
rubbish road cars it was more like witchcraft. By Matt Joy

1

2

VOLVO S40

RENAULT LAGUNA

A lumpen cross-breed with the
Mitsubishi Carisma of all things, the
S40 was dull, unless it was in T4
guise, when it became scary and
dull. Yet it won the 1998 BTCC title
thanks to some Tom Walkinshaw
magic. Lacked the ironic cool of the
850 wagons though.

The last mid-sized Renault that was
any cop? Probably the 12, which they
stopped selling here in 1978. The first
Laguna was a flair-free zone during
Renault’s very mixed ’90s era, but
once Williams worked their magic and
handed it to the laconic Alain Menu, it
became a champion.

3

TRIUMPH DOLOMITE SPRINT
It’s easy to laugh at the Dolly, so let’s do that. The racecar
was fitted with twin ignition packs in case one of them
failed, which tells you everything you need to know about
BL products of the period and the contrastingly high
standards of 1975 BTCC champion Andy Rouse.

4

5

6

7

MAZDA XEDOS 6

CHEVROLET CRUZE

MG6

VAUXHALL CAVALIER

There’s a corner of the CAR
R office that
has a soft spot for the Xedos, but it’s
a very small corner. Mazda’s forgotten
saloon had a weird name (K-see-dos
apparently) and made a weird-looking
Touring Car too. Two eighth-place
finishes is still more success than the
road car ever saw.

If failure in the showroom is inversely
proportional to success on the track,
it would explain the Chevy Cruze’s
2010 BTCC title and third place the
following year. Jason Plato’s big shunt
at Donington Park in 2011 made the
Cruze briefly cool. But only until it
stopped being upside down.

If you’re a car manufacturer and
thinking of making a Touring Car, don’t
employ Plato as one of your drivers.
His second of three appearances here
indicates the presence of another
duffer – the MG6 – that he drove to
two third places (2012, 2013) and a
second (2014) in the final standings.

The Cavalier GSi won the 1995 BTCC
title, due in part to its sparkling 2.0-litre
16-valve unit. It was the only asset
to come from the road car, which
in standard form combined undercooked suspension with a wobbly
body, plus a worrying propensity to
drive slowly in seedy areas.

9

1
10

SEAT TOLEDO

TOYOTA CARINA E

The first Seat Leon was a cool Golf
alternative with the best bits from the
Volkswagen parts jumble. The Toledo
was a crude attempt to saloonify it,
which was about as successful as all
other previous attempts in automotive
history. And guess who drove one?
Yep – Mr Potato again.

A flashy paint job couldn’t make the
Carina E look cool, even if one did
take Julian Bailey to third place in the
1993 championship. The ‘E’ stands
for Europe, although it could just
as easily denote the recommended
pharmaceutical should you be forced
to drive one.

8

HONDA PRELUDE
There were some cool cars running in the 1988 BTCC, but
the Prelude wasn’t one of them. Our own Setright was a fan,
but four-wheel steering is an unnecessary complication for
racing. No doubt LJK would be revolving in his grave in the
opposite direction at the thought of it making this list.

WWW.WARRANTYWISE.CO.UK 0800 121 4801
The UK’s Best Used Car Warranty

car, 0008-5987 is published 12 times a year by Bauer Consumer Media Ltd. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by agent named Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica,
NY 11434, USA. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to CAR, Air Business Ltd, c/o Worldnet Shipping Inc., 156-15, 146th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11434, USA.
Subscription records are maintained at Bauer Media Subscriptions, CDS Global, Tower House, Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough, Leics, LE16 9EF, United Kingdom. Air Business Ltd is acting as our
mailing agent. Bauer Consumer Media Ltd is registered in England and Wales, company number 01176085. Registered address: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynchwood, Peterborough PE2 6EA

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