Saturday, December 15, 2012

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Range Rover: exclusive new pictures

Posted: 15 Dec 2012 02:00 AM PST

Photos of the new Range Rover on and off-road during its Autocar road test

This week's Autocar magazine stars the full ten-page road test of the new Range Rover.

Throughout the course of the gruelling test, our team drove the car more than a thousand miles, both on and off road in the UK, giving our photographer, Jed Leicester, the opportunity to take more photos than we had space to print. Here, then, are some of the best of the extras.

The test also gave Autocar the opportunity to produce a full set of independent test figures for the car, which threw up a few surprises, not least of which was how a 2.6 tonne (some 265kg more than Land Rover's claims), diesel powered SUV can crack the 0-60mph sprint in 7.0 seconds, a figure that would have been improbable in a hot hatch a decade ago.

Just as improbable is the fact that this fully capable 4x4 is now a rival for true luxury cars such as the Bentley Continental GT and the new Maserati Quattroporte. Its sumptuous, lavishly appointed interior is worlds away from the Range Rover's mud-plugging origins and goes a long way to justifying the car's huge price hike – the entry level model (poverty-spec, if you like) costs an eye-widening £71,295.

History of the Skoda Octavia - full picture gallery

Posted: 14 Dec 2012 09:42 AM PST

53 years of Skoda's biggest seller in pictures

Skoda's new Octavia continues the model's 53-year history, from its creation in post-war Czechoslovakia to the rebirth of the name in post-Soviet Europe under VW's stewardship. Here's the history of what has become Skoda's most important car.

1959 Octavia and Octavia Super

The first Octavia was a reworked 440, itself essentially a pre-war design with a swing axle rear that gave the car interesting wet weather handling. The three-door Octavia (the name was derived from the fact that this was the eighth model Skoda had built) replaced the 440's tranverse leaf sprung front end with modern independent suspension but retained the Fiat derived 1089cc engine with 47bhp. Octavias were sold in the UK, where they came with a heater, a screen washer and reclining seats as standard – this was generous for the early '60s.  They were also the first Skodas to compete in motorsport, where they chalked up lots of class wins on international rallies.

1961 Octavia TS

A power upgrade thanks to twin carbs added a heady 3bhp but more usefully the column change was swapped for a four on the floor shift.

1961 Octavia Combi Functional estate that outlived the saloon – it was produced until 1971, when the Octavia name disappeared. Split tailgate quite handy

1996 Mk1 Octavia

The first all-new car to come from VW's purchase of Skoda, and a true product of the breakup of the Soviet Union; work started on the Octavia in 1993, four years after the wall came down.  It was essentially a rebodied VW Bora with some of the cost taken out. A functional, useful and well-made tool that started the reinvention of Skoda. The vRS was a clever, if unlikely piece, of work that turned out to be a lot better than the Golf GTi with which it shared its engine. And Skoda had the foresight to build a fast diesel, too, and an estate vRS. Four-wheel drive models even more useful, and the Scout (with its raised ride height) did everything a Subaru Legacy could for much less money.

1999 WRC Octavia

As it did in the '60s, the Octavia played a in important role in Skoda's motorsport ambitions, when the company used it to enter the top flight of WRC for the first time.  It competed for four years, took a third in 2001, and was replaced by the Fabia.

2004 Mk2 Octavia

Much improved second generation Octavia pushed Skoda further upmarket with a bigger, better built car that sealed the firm's reputation for good value, reliable and properly useful products. Bigger than a Golf but not as large as a Mondeo, it could have faltered as a not-quite-one-thing-or-the-other car, but it was a success. The estate was the largest in class and bigger than most of the cars in the class above while the vRS became even more convincing than the original.  A facelift in 2009 smartened the car further without detracting from its helpful functionality.

2011 Octavia vRS Bonneville SpecialSkoda's long motorsport history took a new turn when the firm decided to run a 500bhp methanol-fuelled Octavia on the Bonneville salt flats to become the world's fastest production 2.0-litre forced induction car. A bit of a specific record, but it cracked 227mph.

2013 Mk3 OctaviaThe third generation of the current run of Octavias moves it further towards the Mondeo class – bigger, better equipped – but this time lower-powered cars come with a beam axle at the rear. Only cars with over 150bhp get independent suspension all round.

Goodwood Festival of Speed dates changed

Posted: 14 Dec 2012 09:01 AM PST

Sussex festival is postponed to avoid clashing with German GP

The dates for this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed have changed, with the event now taking place on 12-14 July. The Moving motor show will take place on Thursday 11 July.

The re-arrangement is to avoid a clash with the German Grand Prix, which is taking place on 7 July, which will ensure that the F1 teams and drivers can attend the Sussex bash.

Tickets already purchased for the 2013 Festival of Speed will remain valid.

Daljinder Nagra

Ferrari F150: latest images

Posted: 14 Dec 2012 07:43 AM PST

Teaser shots hint at styling of Ferrari's forthcoming Enzo replacement

These are the latest images of Ferrari's new range-topping supercar – codename F150 – which have been published in the company's in-house magazine.

The pictures reveal that the styling is heavily influenced by Formula 1. The front-end features an aggressively sculpted bonnet, with a tapered centre section reminiscent of an F1 car's nosecone. At the rear there is a centrally mounted single exhaust pipe, which again appears to be modelled around the stop-light of a grand prix car.

The F150 also features a double-bubble roof – likely to increase room for wearing crash helmets – and swept-back headlights in the style of the recently launched F12, which visually accentuate the width of the car.

The F150, which is the successor to the ten-year old Ferrari Enzo, will make its public debut next spring. It will use a V12 engine mated to an F1-style KERS system.

The engine is a development of the 731bhp unit found in the F12. With electrical assistance, peak power for the F150 could be as much as 850bhp.

Prices have yet to be confirmed, but the F150 is expected to cost around £800,000.

Daljinder Nagra

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