Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Evoque gets the Dakar treatment

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 06:45 AM PST

Junior Range Rover transformed into a hardcore rally raid machine for entry into the Dakar Rally

This is Desert Warrior 3, a Range Rover Evoque-based rally raid vehicle created by British company Rabe Race Cars.

Compliant with FIA T3 regulations for rally raids, the Desert Warrior is destined to compete in the Dakar rally, taking place across South America in January.

It uses a 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel engine developing between 275-300bhp – depending on competition regulations – and has 627lb ft of torque. The Evoque's regular torque-converter automatic gearbox has been replaced with a six-speed sequential item.

The chassis has also been replaced for one of tubular construction for extra strength, and the suspension changed for Reiger coilovers. New rally raid wheels are shod in BF Goodrich Desert Race G series tyres. And last of all, a 260 litre fuel tank has been installed, to give the 750-mile range needed to compete in the Dakar.

The car has been delivered to owners Excite Rallye Raid, who are putting the car through shakedown tests prior to its competition debut.

Daljinder Nagra

The most extreme Skoda ever - free UK supplement

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 02:35 AM PST

This week's Autocar comes with a free supplement dedicated to the Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car

Autocar magazine buyers in the UK this Wednesday will get a free 68-page magazine on the most extreme Skoda ever built - the Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car.

Testing the rally car to the limit, Steve Sutcliffe chases it on a set course in a Noble M600 supercar, with surprising results. Sutcliffe also gets behind the wheel himself on a gravel rally stage, and reports back on what he considers one of the most challenging cars he has ever driven.

Elsewhere, we profile every member of the double Intercontinental Rally Challenge winning team, and discover how the hardcore Fabia is built to withstand the punishment of the rally stages, and how its team of crack mechanics can repair almost everything bar the engine in just 20 minutes.

We also spend a day with championship-winning driver Andreas Mikkelsen, to discover what makes him one of the sport's brightest young stars, and talk to his co-driver Ola Floene about the pacenote system they have created to go faster than anyone else.

Other highlights include a test drive of Skoda's forgotten Le Mans racer and a look back at the Skoda team's championship-winning season.

Autocar magazine 14 November preview

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 02:14 AM PST

This week in Autocar magazine: Caterham's expansion plans; full road test for the BMW M135i; Lamborghini Aventador and Ferrari F12 head-to-head; Seat Leon and Mini GP driven; Fiat 500 used buying guide

This week's Autocar magazine is led by a scoop on the next Ferrari Enzo, which is due for launch next year and which is being billed by its makers as the closest vehicle to an F1 car ever made for the road.

Also inside the magazine is a UK exclusive test between the new Ferrari F12 and the Lamborghini Aventador. Which will emerge as the ultimate V12?

Mercedes ace Nico Rosberg is also on hand to give readers an insight in how to drive an F1 car quickly, the German-Finnish driver explaining with rare clarity what it takes to be quick enough to win in motorsport's highest category.

Italian cars also feature heavily in this week's news section, which also stars the first pictures of the new Lamborghini Aventador Roadster and the first images of the Maserati Quattroporte. Other news includes more on Caterham's expansion plans, first details of the BMW X4 crossover and confirmation that Seat is going to enter the baby SUV market.

The Vauxhall Adam takes on its inspiration, the Mini, in our two-car test, with disappointing results. However, there may be hope for Vauxhall's supermini, as there's already a steering retune in the works.

The full eight-page road test is dedicated to the hugely entertaining BMW M135i, while we also report on first drives in the new Seat Leon, Mini Paceman, Mini GP, Range Rover TDV6, and the Audi Q5.

Meanwhile, we have a four-page special on readers' favourite used cars, a used buying guide to getting the best Fiat 500 for your money and James Ruppert takes a look at what used greats are available for the price of Britain's just launched cheapest new car, the £5995 Dacia Sandero.

UK buyers of Autocar will also get a free 68-page supplement about the most extreme Skoda ever built - the Skoda Fabia S2000. The supplement pits the double Intercontinental Rally Challenge winning car against the Noble M600 supercar with surprising results, while other highlights include Steve Sutcliffe's driving impressions of the Skoda, an insight in to how rally cars are jumped, the world of pacenotes is decoded, a look at how Skoda's champion driver Andreas Mikkelsen has hit the top and a full season review.

Quick news: Honda Civic to appear in LA; Jaguar sales up 10 per cent

Posted: 12 Nov 2012 08:13 AM PST

US model Honda Civic's new look to be unveiled at Los Angeles motor show, Jaguar enjoys worldwide sales growth and Matthew Humphries appointed as vehicle design tutor at Royal College of Art

The American market Honda Civic is to make its debut in new 2013 model year guise at the Los Angeles motor show this month. Sold stateside in saloon form, the latest model features a new lower bumper and black mesh grille, designed to give a sportier look. At the rear, use of chrome trim and jewel-like lights aim to impart a more premium feel to the best-selling Civic.

Matthew Humphries, chief designer at Morgan Cars, has been appointed as tutor in Vehicle Design at the Royal College of Art. Humphries, who has been responsible for iconic Morgan vehicles such as the Aeromax and current three-wheeler, will teach part time on the masters course, which is the only dedicated postgraduate course in car design currently on offer.

Jaguar Land Rover's worldwide sales went up 10 per cent in October, with 25,176 vehicles sold. Sales in all markets were improved, except for the USA where both hurricane Sandy and the imminent arrival of the 2013 model year cars have affected sales. China remains the company's largest growing market, with sales growing 78 per cent over 2012.

Daljinder Nagra

First drive review: Skoda Rapid 1.6 TDI 105PS

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 05:46 AM PST

Rapid impresses with its easy going nature, but diesel's price puts it up against some talented competition This is our first steer in the UK of Skoda's new small family car, the Rapid, which sits between the Fabia and the Octavia in the ever-expanding Skoda line-up.Also expanding, as a result, will be the next-generation Octavia, which will arrive next year, bigger and pushed further upmarket to allow sufficient space for the Rapid to breathe.At launch, prices of the Rapid range from under £13,000 to as much as £18,000 before options, although we reckon the best value is had at the lower end of the range. Lower, not lowest: that honour goes to a three-pot 1.2-litre petrol producing just 74bhp which, we suspect, would struggle to even pull a banner saying "loss leader". We can but suspect, though, because, perhaps sensibly, Skoda didn't have any that we could try.We have driven the next up in the range: the 1.2 85bhp petrol, which is a turbocharged four-pot driving the front wheels through a five-speed automatic gearbox.This review, though, is of the Rapid range's only diesel, the 1.6 TDI with 104bhp.

First drive review: Vauxhall Mokka 1.4 Turbo 4x4 Tech Line

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 04:28 AM PST

UK market chassis revisions move Vauxhall's baby 4x4 closer to the class lead, if not quite at the head of it. Vauxhall's new small 4x4, and some fresh competition for the likes of the Nissan Juke, Mini Countryman and Skoda Yeti: this is the Mokka. And, just signed off in UK-market form, it's not quite the car we were expecting.That's because it's been through an unscheduled technical update. After General Motors in Russelsheim launched the car to the European press last month, the reaction of much of the UK press was quite critical of the Mokka's ride and handling. Critical enough, in fact, for Vauxhall to spend a hectic few weeks re-equipping and re-fettling the Mokka's steering and suspension to make it more appropriate for British requirements.As a result, all UK-bound, right-hand drive Mokkas built on the car's Korean production line from early next year will get a stiffer steering gear mounting bush, a special software calibration for the electromechanical power steering and re-rated dampers for the suspension.

Vauxhall Mokka to get revised suspension settings

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 03:10 AM PST

Vauxhall commissions rush-job retune for baby SUV chassis

Vauxhall has responded to stinging criticism of its new Mokka compact SUV by re-specifying and retuning the car's suspension and steering systems to suit British roads and tastes. But those first in the queue for the Nissan Juke rival will need to be vigilant to avoid buying a car built too early to benefit from the changes.

Having believed the standard European-spec Mokka to be suitable for the UK during the early stages of development, Vauxhall was forced into a hurried retuning program at short notice, after verdicts landed from the first press drives of the car last month.

"We were disappointed by the first press reports on the car," said Vauxhall Motors Managing Director Duncan Aldred, "but quickly concluded that the suspension tune of the car wasn't good enough."

A team lead by Vauxhall vehicle dynamics manager, Gerry Baker, was tasked with bringing the car up to scratch dynamically, and has this week had the resulting revisions signed off. They consist of a stiffer steering gear mounting bush, a new software calibration for the car's electromechanical power steering, and re-rated dampers for the suspension.

UK-specific dynamic tuning is usual for most new Vauxhall models. It's normally finished well before cars are launched to the press, but in the Mokka's case, was delayed by slow right-hand drive supply from GM in South Korea. The delay was just long enough, says Vauxhall, to provide an opportunity to react to press criticism and retune before executives were due to sign it off this week.

There will be no post-launch re-tune for the new Adam 'fashion' supermini, however. UK Adams are due to get their own power steering software calibration, but will ride on the same suspension settings as European cars, which can be equipped on either 'comfort' or 'sports' springs.

And, while the vast majority of UK Mokkas should be built late enough to be fitted with the updated parts, when Autocar asked the question, Vauxhall couldn't guarantee that very early UK cars ordered as dealer demonstrators or for dealer stock won't slip through the net. A spokesman stopped short of confirming that there would be no erroneous right-hand drive examples in the UK at all, but did say that "individual customers ordering at or after the car's official showroom launch later this month are certain to benefit from the revision".

Read our first drive review of the revised Vauxhall Mokka

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