Monday, December 31, 2012

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Jaguar XFR Sportbrake concept 'interesting'

Posted: 30 Dec 2012 10:00 PM PST

Jaguar boss likes the idea of an XFR Sportbrake, but concedes such a model would be tricky to engineer

A Jaguar XFR Sportbrake has been investigated, but the cost of re-engineering the Jaguar XF Sportbrake's underpinnings make it tricky to justify.

Jaguar's global brand director, Adrian Hallmark, said such a car would be an "interesting project", and a useful halo model for the resurgent brand. But he said installing the 503bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 would be complex.

"It would be tricky to re-engineer the self-levelling rear suspension to cope with the high performance of such an engine", said Hallmark. But be admitted it would be "interesting" to build a limited run of 300 to 400 units. 

First drive review: Dacia Sandero 1.2 16V 75

Posted: 30 Dec 2012 10:00 PM PST

Entry-level Sandero majors on value but lacks creature comforts and is almost exceptionally slow This – almost – is the Sandero version that really has the accolade of 'cheapest car you can buy in Britain'. It has an oldish-tech 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine instead of the clever, nominally more economical, 898cc turbo three-pot which powered the top-spec Sandero Laureate we've already covered, and loses some of the toys we used to manage so well without. In entry-level Access guise it really does cost just £5995.We've now driven the Sandero closest to the Access model that Renault/Dacia would let us near. It's the 1.2 Ambiance pictured here, but if you delete the paint on the bumpers, the trims over the 15in steel wheels, the electric front windows, the central locking, the radio/CD player and the chrome vent and instrument rings, you'd have an Access and would have saved £600 (some of which you might want to spend on a radio). It's available only in white, with naked plastic bumpers, but it's an odd pleasure to see perforated steel wheels on show with neat hubcaps in the centre.

Top 12 cars of 2012: Pagani Huayra

Posted: 30 Dec 2012 10:00 PM PST

Breathtaking successor to the Zonda was one of craziest and most exciting cars we drove all year

The 720bhp, 230mph Pagani Huayra was probably the wildest and certainly the fastest car that we drove this year. But then they don't tend to do things by halves at Pagani. Never have done, never will.

The legendary Zonda that preceded the Huayra (pronounced why-raa) was one of the world's maddest, most iconic supercars, so replacing it was always going to be tough. Especially since Horacio Pagani had decided that he wanted to sell his new car in America (unlike the Zonda), which meant that all sorts of noise and emissions regulations would need to be adhered to this time round.

In the event, what Pagani came up with was breathtaking – quite literally, given the fact that the car had to have a turbocharged engine in order to ensure it of a 10-year shelf life. But the Huayra's 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12, designed and engineered specifically for the car by AMG, isn't exactly your run-of-the-mill force-fed engine. This is a monster of a powerhouse in every way imaginable, and it defines the Huayra's personality every bit as much as its beguilingly aerodynamic lines or its actively aero-enhanced chassis do.

On the road, the latest Pagani feels heart-stoppingly fast, especially in the mid-range, when the effects of 738lb ft of torque do their best to blast your internal organs straight out of your back whenever the throttle is floored. Only the brave or genuinely stupid reach for the button that turns the traction control off, for although the Huayra's mid-engined chassis is exceedingly well mannered most of the time and is aided in its cause by over 400kg of active downforce above 150mph, it's still a rear-wheel-drive monster that'll bite your arm off in a heartbeat if you treat it badly.

As ever with Pagani, the cartoon-like interior of this car provides almost as much entertainment as the driving experience. In both cases, some will find what the Huayra offers too extreme. But given that Pagani's order books are now full for the next three and a half years, there are also plenty who think otherwise and love the Huayra for what it is: one of the world's craziest, most exciting cars. You can count us among them.

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