Thursday, April 18, 2013

Crash.Net Formula One Newsfeed

Crash.Net Formula One Newsfeed

Get F1 2013 news on your Twitter feed!

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 05:48 AM PDT

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Drink champagne on Bernie and raise money for a good cause!

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 05:32 AM PDT

Speed legend John Surtees is inviting enthusiasts to buy tickets for a champagne reception at the Brooklands Team Challenge two-hour endurance kart race at Mercedes Benz World at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey on June 25.

Gonzalez to get first Friday run with Marussia in Bahrain

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 05:13 AM PDT

Rodolfo Gonzalez will get to drive for Marussia during opening practice for the F1 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend, it has been confirmed

Bahrain Grand Prix 2013: Grosjean backed to recover

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 02:30 AM PDT

Romain Grosjean tipped to bounce back from a difficult start to his 2013 season

Bahrain Grand Prix 2013: Caterham pair aim to make experience count

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 10:12 AM PDT

Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde hope Caterham can take a step forwards as upgrades are introduced in Bahrain

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Volvo S60 Polestar to make production

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 01:38 AM PDT

Volvo S60 Polestar to make production Supersaloon concept now offered for the road, albeit with less power and exclusively for Australia to begin with

Volvo is to make an S60 Polestar based on the wild 501bhp concept from last year.

Initially only available in limited numbers for the Australian market, it could be offered elsewhere if demand is sufficient.

The most significant change for the production S60 Polestar from the concept is the power; whilst still powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six, maximum output is down 150bhp to 350bhp.

However, it remains extensively modified over the standard S60 T6, with a larger Borg Warner turbo, a new intercooler, an ECU remap and a stainless steel racing exhaust system.

The Polestar S60 offers more than 500Nm (369lb ft) of torque, a higher figure than both the BMW M3 (295lb ft) and Audi RS4 (317lb ft). Polestar claims a 0-62mph time of 4.9sec for the 4WD S60. Top speed is limited to 155mph.

The production version of the S60 Polestar has retained much of the concept's suspension upgrades. Along with adjustable Öhlins dampers and 80 per cent stiffer springs, Polestar has added new top mounts, upgraded toe links, improved stabilisers and a strut brace to boost handling performance.

The dynamic overhaul is completed by bespoke Polestar wheels wrapped in 235/40R19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres. Ventilated discs all-round provide stopping power, with the fronts measuring 336x29mm and the rears 302x22mm. Jurid pads feature on the front with Brembos at the rear.

Polestar has revised the transmission of the S60 to provide more driver engagement. Whilst still a six-speed automatic, the software has been modified to allow for quicker shifts and a launch control feature is now standard. Tweaks to the 4WD system apportion more torque to the rear wheels than previously.

There are plenty of visual clues as to the latest S60's performance flagship status. A Polestar bodykit including a front bumper and rear diffuser gives the S60 more aggression, whilst the logo of the Swedish touring car outfit can be found on badges around the body. The interior features a production number plaque and further Polestar badges.

The first S60 Polestars are due to reach Australian customers in June.

Matt Bird

Shanghai motor show: Lamborghini Aventador LP720-4 50 Anniversario Edition

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 12:25 AM PDT

Shanghai motor show: Lamborghini Aventador LP720-4 50 Anniversario Edition Sant'Agata's latest limited-run supercar adds more power and visual drama in celebration of the company's half century anniversary

Lamborghini will launch a more powerful Aventador at the Shanghai motor show in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

The LP720-4 50 Anniversario will be limited to 100 cars and has been revealed prior to its official debut through a set of leaked images.

As its name implies, the Anniversario model boasts more power than the standard car, up 19bhp from 691bhp to 710bhp, although it uses the same 6.5-litre V12.

Given the small power gain, the performance of the Aventador LP720-4 is unlikely to improve significantly on the standard LP700-4. The latter is capable of 0-62mph in 2.9sec and has a 218mph top speed.

The bright yellow paint of the Aventador Anniversario is 'Giallo Maggio', or 'Yellow May'. But perhaps more striking than the paint is the bodykit applied by Lamborghini to the limited-edition Aventador.

It appears to take inspiration from the recently unveiled Veneno and facelifted Gallardo, with a deeply jutting front spoiler, more aggressive rear diffuser and deeper side skirts. The exterior also features '50' badges, indicating its special status, and black alloy wheels.

The interior matches the colour scheme outside, with yellow quilted leather adorning the seats and door cards. Yellow leather can also be found on the transmission tunnel, whilst the black leather on the dash features yellow piping.

Further details on the Aventador LP720-4 50 Anniversario Edition will be announced by Lamborghini when the doors to the Shanghai show open on Saturday.

Click here for more Shanghai motor show 2013 news.

Matt Bird

Mercedes-Benz to launch production version of Concept GLA

Posted: 18 Apr 2013 12:01 AM PDT

Mercedes-Benz to launch production version of Concept GLA New entry to the compact SUV segment designed to rival the likes of the Audi Q3 and Range Rover Evoque

A production version of the striking Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA is poised to enter the booming compact SUV segment.

The Concept GLA is one of the stars of the Shanghai motor show that gets under way on Saturday, and is described by insiders as being as much as 90 per cent representative of the GLA production car that will go on sale early next year, priced from around £25,000.

It's also the latest model to be spun off Mercedes' latest front-drive MFA architecture, following the latest A-class and B-class models and the CLA saloon.

The concept is 4383mm long, 1978mm wide and 1579mm high — dimensions that are understood to be almost identical to those of the production car. The wheelbase of the concept has not been given, but it's believed to be the same 2699mm employed by its siblings.

These dimensions closely match the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque — the three chief rivals that the GLA will face when it reaches the UK market next year. We'll get to see the finished production car either at the tail end of this year or at the Detroit motor show early next year.

Mercedes' sales and marketing chief, Joachim Schmidt, describes the GLA's role in the compact SUV segment as "a sporty and more coupé-like evolution of this category of vehicle".

The front end features perhaps the most modern treatment yet of Mercedes' familiar core design, with just two horizontal bars used for the front grille, which places the marque's three-pointed star logo at its centre.

The front headlights are among the more outlandish concept car features. They feature laser beam projectors that act as headlights in the first instance, but can also project pictures or films controlled through Mercedes' interior Comand Online infotainment system, or work in real time to project sat-nav functions on to the road ahead.

This feature is not due to make production in the near future, let alone on the GLA, but the core exterior design of the car is tipped to make it over from concept to production relatively unchanged.

The five-door Concept GLA's gently sloping roofline flows into the tailgate to give a sleek and sporty silhouette. This profile is enhanced by a glasshouse that uses frameless doors and narrows towards the rear, a 'dropping line' that runs from the front headlights to the rear wheelarches and a beltline that rises towards the C-pillars.

The C-pillars wrap around to the rear over slim tail-lights to visually widen the rear of the car at the bottom, giving a sporty, squat stance. Only the large alloys and some of the detailing on the bumpers and lights will be toned down for production.

That's despite the fact that test mules of the GLA have hinted that it will have the look of a raised A-class. Insiders now insist there will be much more Concept GLA design than A-class in the production car.

At first glance, the car's four-seat cabin offers the outlandish look that you'd expect of a concept car, but look past some of the material and trim details and it's easy to spot the links that the production GLA will have to the A-class, B-class and CLA.

The layout on the centre console and the positioning of the round air vents, multimedia screen and instrument binnacle are recognisable from the other MFA models and will feature in the production GLA.

A turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine — also familiar from the other MFA cars — offers 208bhp in the Concept GLA. Drive is channelled to all four wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch, automatic transmission and Mercedes' proprietary 4Matic system.

The engine line-up of the production car is not yet known, but it's likely Mercedes UK will cherry-pick units from the German market's wider line-up rather than taking all options, as it has done with the CLA.

If the exclusively four-cylinder engine line-up of the CLA is reflected in the GLA, a 120bhp 1.6-litre petrol will be used in the base GLA180, a 134bhp 1.8-litre diesel in the GLA200 CDI, a 168bhp 2.1-litre  diesel in the GLA220 CDI and the concept's 208bhp 2.0-litre petrol in the GLA250.

The four-wheel drive system should be offered with the more potent engines, including the GLA250, with front-wheel drive supplied as standard.

Later next year the Mercedes-Benz GLA range will be crowned by a GLA45 AMG version. The hot range-topper will use the same running gear as the A45 and CLA45 models, meaning power will be sent to all four wheels by a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine with 335bhp.


Vauxhall Mokka Exclusiv 1.7 CDTi 2WD first drive review

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 10:00 PM PDT

Vauxhall Mokka Exclusiv 1.7 CDTi 2WD first drive review Vauxhall Mokka, the rival to the likes of the Nissan Juke and Skoda Yeti, arrives in two-wheel-drive form We've driven four-wheel-drive variants of the Vauxhall Mokka before, but this is our first opportunity to try the baby SUV in the UK in a form that will, presumably, end up being more familiar to most Mokka customers: one with two-wheel drive.And that sounds like a sensible proposition to us. We can't imagine Mokka owners relying on the extra abilities of four-wheel drive very often.Aside from outright traction, AWD gives no advantage, so for most of the year – or away from the kind of mud that we suspect a Mokka will hardly ever see, the front-drive version makes more sense.Especially given that the front-wheel-drive Mokka, in the 1.7 CDTi form that you see here, comes in £1545 cheaper than the AWD variant in the same trim. With the 128bhp engine, the front-drive car also has CO2 emissions of 124g/km instead of 129g/km.And since it's lighter and has less drag from the drivetrain, it also shaves nearly half a second from the 4x4's 0-62mph time, at 10.0sec versus 10.4sec.Importantly, front-drive and four-wheel-drive versions look the same, too. That means there's a hint of pseudo-ruggedness about the Mokka's upright stance. Not a lot, granted, but just about enough to present itself to a Skoda Yeti or Nissan Juke with its head held high.The main objective benefit of the Mokka's height, one suspects, is that the seats are an easy height to slip into, or to slip a child seat into.

BMW i3 to go on sale in July

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 04:01 PM PDT

BMW i3 to go on sale in July New 'megacity' hatchback available to order in July, price tag of around £35,000

Order books for the new BMW i3 'megacity' vehicle will open at the very end of July, according to a BMW source.

It's rumoured that the all-electric version will cost in the region of £35,000, while the range extender model will command a premium and be priced at around £38,000.

Due to arrive in showrooms at the tail end of October, the new i3 will be offered with an all-electric or range extender powetrain. 

This means that BMW's innovative new car will command a substantially higher price tag than alternatives like the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe or Chevrolet Volt.

The hybrid i8 sports car, the second model in BMW's new i range, is set to arrive in 2014 and will cost approximately £100,000.

Used car buying guide: BMW Z4 M Coupe (E85) (2006-2009)

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 04:01 PM PDT

Whilst the BMW Z4 M was objectively a slight disappointment, it's not without appeal. Used values are strong, so now's the time to enjoy one.

The BMW Z4 M coupe looked absolutely fantastic but when we drove it for the first time we were rather disappointed. Even more so when it took part in a handling day at Oulton Park. And if you rummage around in your loft and find your copy of Autocar in which we first drove the Z3 M Coupe you'll read very much the same verdict.

But that was when the cars were new. Actually, many of us fell in love with the Z3 coupe's wacky looks so wholeheartedly that we were able to ignore the car's dynamic failings. Today the M coupe is a cult car. The Z3 M Roadster, disappointing when new, now seems a steal and oddly desirable.

And so too is the Z4 M coupe. BMW didn't import vast numbers; only 200 per year which over a life lasting from 2006 until early 2009 means that there's a relatively small population. That the Z4 M coupe was a little disappointing to drive was partly due to the fact that within its swoopy and attractive shell it contained some of BMW's best equipment.

The straight-six engine is straight from the E46 M3 and has the same grey-iron crankcase that is super strong. 'It's a fantastic engine,' says George Aygeton from London BMW specialists Technosport. 'You do see the odd problem with the Vanos system but that's not down to any inherent fault. What can happen is that electronics can fail or the bolts in the system vibrate loose. It's pretty obvious if that's happened but I'd say you'd be unlucky to have any problems with the engine at all. It's a lump that should easily go to 200,000 miles without smoking or burning excessive amounts of oil.'

Aygeton also points out that the coupe is lighter than the M3 coupe and therefore puts even less of a strain on its components. 'You're talking normal wear and tear with most components,' he explains, 'clutches, for example, should last a long time if not abused.'

The rock solid engineering means that even the highest mileage coupe we found has still got 150,000 miles ahead of it. It's too early to tell whether the Z4 M coupe will join the Z3 M coupe as a cult car, but it's highly likely.

The earlier coupe's prices are temptingly cheap for average mileage examples and considerably more than that for pristine low mile cars. We'd expect prices to drop further as mileages add up and for prices to then hold steady. With rarity and captivating looks the Z4 M coupe will never be short of fans, even if it doesn't have the dynamic excellence of a Cayman S.

What to look out for:

Check disc and pad wear because a new set will tear £1200 out of your wallet.

Check the carpets for damp. Fixing sunroof or windscreen leaks is simple, but drying the upholstery is less so.

On a car of this age there's no reason why there should not be full BMW service history. Ask about warranty remaining, too.

Take the car for a decent test drive. It should track straight and feel as tight as a new car. Include a section of motorway driving.

To search for a used BMW Z4M Coupe for sale on PistonHeads, click here

Used car buying guide: Jeep Wrangler (1997-2006)

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 04:01 PM PDT

Having always lived in the shadow of the Land Rover Defender in Britain, the Jeep Wrangler is a shrewd second-hand 4x4 buy.

If you want to get the full Marlboro-smoking image without having to risk your health and don't like checked shirts then the Jeep Wrangler is the answer. Tracing its roots back to the original wartime Willys, the iconic Jeep has been in production in various forms ever since. We'll keep to the TJ series because as you'll read, it's not as if Chrysler has messed too much with the original concept.

The Jeep changed its name to Wrangler in 1987 when the CJ series was discontinued. First came the YJ Wrangler, which is easy to spot because it had rectangular headlamps. That styling change was considered heresy by Jeep fans and so for the TJ series the traditional round headlamps were restored.

Wranglers tend to have below average mileage because they're not the most practical vehicles on sale and are not ideal for pounding up motorways. According to James McManus from London Jeep Specialists in Enfield the majority of Wranglers are the soft top model and used mainly in the summer for fun. Go back to the 1997 Wranglers and you're dealing with some serious old tech.

Both the 2.5-litre four-cylinder and 4.0-litre six-cylinder in-line engines were pushrod motors, possibly the last vehicles on sale to have not embraced the overhead camshaft. Both engines are seriously thirsty, crude and strong. Neither should give trouble. In 2006 the 4.0-litre straight six was replaced by a much more modern and sophisticated 3.8-litre V6 that was also used in the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee. A year later the 2.8-litre diesel arrived and with it at last just about reasonable fuel economy.

Many fewer Wranglers than Defenders will actually go off road but that's not down to lack of toughness because off-road the Jeep is equally unstoppable. Ironically, McManus says that the weakest area of the otherwise bullet-proof Wrangler is the rear axle. These can get noisy and will require a rebuild costing around £500. If you're after a soft-top model then check for leaks around the door frames. The good news is that you can buy excellent aftermarket tops from the US in a variety of different styles – some with roll-up sides for example. A new top will cost around £600 by the time it arrives in the UK.

Gearboxes are very strong but if the car has an automatic gearbox and is taken off-road it can take in water and that can cause serious problems. Electrical systems are rugged with the only likely issue being with the '97 and '98 model year Wranglers' immobilisers. Later cars have chip-in-key immobilisers and don't give trouble. The Wrangler is a simple car, not overburdened with a plethora of black boxes and computers. The engine ECUs rarely give problems.

What to look out for:

Check the condition of the soft-top, especially tears near doors. Non-factory replacement roofs easy to source from America.

Warm up the car by driving it a few miles and then listen out for noises from the rear axle.

Rear limited-slip differential also prone to problems so make a few tight turns and listen out for unpleasant graunching noises.

To search for a used Jeep Wrangler for sale on PistonHeads, click here

Used car buying guide: Lamborghini Murcielago (2002-2011)

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 04:01 PM PDT

The Murcielago still looks fresh despite being over a decade old, and is a less daunting used buy than imagined

"It's not for everyone," says Lamborghini London's Steve Higgins of the Lamborghini Murciélago. Never a truer word said, you might think. He's actually citing the hulking supercar's "mechanical-feeling environment" that includes a relatively sparse cabin and soundtrack to make your skin bristle. But he could equally be referring to the minimum buy-in price of eighty grand, the intimidating looks, or the plain exclusivity of a Lamborghini.

However, despite spending time on Maranello's payroll before his conversion from horse to bull, Higgins reckons the Murciélago is "what an Italian V12 is all about". "For the presence, history and sound, accept no substitute," he says.

Audi's first thorough contribution to Sant'Agata's alumnus may provide a less brutal driving experience and less plush cabin than the Diablo that came before, but it still yields authentic Lambo muscle, with healthy dashes of liveability and mechanical soundness thanks to its German parentage.

Order an Aventador and you'll be £242k poorer, with a long wait in store. But the hullabaloo caused by that car is bringing the Murciélago to light amongst new customers as well as regulars, and the early 6.2-litre cars are the (relative) bargains of the breed compared to the later 'LP'-badged 6.5s. Depreciation shouldn't detract, either – the very cheapest examples available are still worth half their original sticker price. Controlled supply by the factory and those improved mechanicals are to thank.

So, what of maintenance? Such is the specialist nature of the car that labour prices will accentuate that part of the bill, although the 6.2 is now mature enough to qualify for a discount from most official service centres and independent specialists alike. But in terms of engineering weaknesses, those Audi genes mean there shouldn't be too many surprises.

Clutch life is often a talking point amongst owners, though, and while longevity improved over the years, paddle-operated E-gear transmissions in particular must be treated with care. Higgins says you'll get a feel for how to treat the throttle during upshifts (sometimes coming off, sometimes pinning it), but it's left-foot braking and hill holding that cause most wear. At £3k plus fitting for a new unit, it's worthy of assessment.

Lamborghini is proud that its Luc Donckerwolke-era design purity has repelled many tweakers, so modded Murciélagos are much rarer than doctored Diablos. Matters of taste aside, such changes scupper residual value, and may, as in the case of oversize aftermarket wheels that overwork the diffs, cause damage.

One official upgrade that came late in the model's lifespan was carbon-ceramic brakes for 2006. A £7780 option, the uprated stoppers are significant enough to still affect values today. In terms of aesthetics, 'Ad Personam' factory-ratified customisation of paint, wheels or interior should be taken at face value.

The options list was short, with no must-haves, but there's a premium to pay for the ultra-rare 40th Anniversary edition model. Finished in metallic blue-green, that car also featured carbon trim, special wheels, an upgraded interior and a blueprinted engine built to smaller tolerances, unleashing a few extra bhp.

What to look out for:

Two hours in a specialist workshop should reveal any weaknesses. Inspection costs around £300 at Lamborghini London; could prove a bargain...

Special attention should be paid to clutches. Diagnostics will report on E-gear clutch plates while eyeball inspection caters for manuals.

Test the front lift system. Bright red power steering fluid points to leaking seals.

Stone chips in the trailing edge of wheel arches and corrosion along the door base are the most common.

To search for a used Lamborghini Murcielago for sale on PistonHeads, click here

Used car buying guide: Land Rover Discovery 3 (2004-2009)

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 04:01 PM PDT

The Discovery 3 was a revelation when it appeared in 2004, and even the plushest of these off-roaders provides good value today.

While Land Rover dealer forecourts are busier than ever with the stramash incited by the Evoque, a steady demand for the current Discovery 4 rolls on – a demand that outstrips supply sufficiently to keep the market for the older (but technically similar) Discovery 3 on the boil.

The Disco 3's combination of refinement, flexibility and off-roadprowess put it top of the class versus other big 4x4s of the day, and now even the more luxurious examples are second-hand prospects to tempt buyers from other sectors. 

It's the auto-only, top-spec HSE TDV6 that Lovejoy recommends as best value. It cost a hefty £11,500 more than the cheapest seven-seat auto in 2004, but the leather, sat nav, premium sound system, and three-section sunroof that come as standard on HSEs can be yours for a tiny premium now.

While retained value is usually strong, there are two niche choices that don't tend to fare so well. The poverty-spec five-seat manual TDV6 relinquished three key features - two extra seats, air suspension and Terrain Response switchable traction/transmission/ride height – massively limiting its appeal.

The 295bhp 4.4-litre petrol V8 addressed the TDV6's lack of poke (sadly, the more powerful 3.0-litre diesel is the preserve of the Discovery 4), and is enjoyably refined, but 18.8mpg didn't court many suitors, so used prices are soft. If you don't cover many miles, though, it's good value, as service costs are similar to the diesel, and road tax is identical for cars registered before 23rd March 2006, or marginally more for newer examples .

A last-gasp facelift came in August 2008, a year before the Discovery 4 arrived, including colour-coded plastic exterior panels, improved Bluetooth and other minor tweaks. Clear side indicators confirm facelift status.

There are no big peaks in the TDV6 service schedule until seven years/105,000 miles when a timing belt change will result in a bill of about £1000 at Lookers. Independents will be cheaper of course, but stray from specialist care and you'll take a hit on residual value as well as missing out on software updates essential to keep the dash free from warning lights. Most owners are diligent, though, and well-tended cars will last – Lookers have a farming customer who's TDV6 auto has covered 197,000 miles without drama, save for an early transmission oil change.

Recalls and service actions include failing steering wheel clock springs that flag an airbag alert, height sensor malfunction, brake vacuum hose changes and high pressure fuel pump replacement. All will be executed at no charge, but call a dealer to check if any are pending.

What to look out for:

Screeching sound from the rear probably means a sticky parking brake. If a two-hour clean up fails, replacements cost about £500.

Test all settings on the ride height switch. Lopsidedness means height sensor failure, buzzing means the air suspension compressor's damaged.

Feel the front carpets for dampness. Fixing sunroof or windscreen leaks is usually simple, but drying the upholstery less so.

Juddering or hesitancy from auto 'box could mean an early transmission oil change is required.

To search for a used Land Rover Discovery 3 for sale on PistonHeads, click here

Used car buying guide: Ferrari 456 (1992-2003)

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 04:01 PM PDT

The forgotten family-friendly Ferrari is a stunning car. Here's how to secure the best secondhand one.

If you want the appeal of the Ferrari 456 in a nutshell, ask yourself what else you can buy for the money, is powered by a glorious V12 engine, will do 186mph, hit 60mph in little more than 5sec, is utterly gorgeous and carries one of the most coveted badges on earth on its carbon fibre bonnet.

Oh, and seats four in comfort. Exactly.

Launched back in 1992, the 456 has suffered the same fate as all two plus two Ferraris and failed entirely to cling to its value like its more glamorous two seat stablemates. Which means you can now buy a Ferrari 456 for the same money as a specced-up Ford Focus.

And don't think you'd be crazy to do so. Russell Smith works at Ferrari gurus Bob Houghton and explained that, certain well known issues aside, the 456 is an extremely strong and durable supercar, and one that stands up to the challenge of both very high and very low mileages remarkably well.

For instance, 'In all the years we've been looking after them, I've never had to do a bottom end engine rebuild.' Nor does it deserve to be tarred with the same brush as earlier multi-cylinder Ferraris like its 400 and 412 predecessor that really could reduce grown men to tears.

But first what, exactly, are you buying? The 456 returned Ferrari to 2+2 building in 1992 after a three year hiatus following the mercy killing of the 412 in 1989. In many ways it marked a new beginning for Maranello with a fresh design language for the exterior, a brand new cabin that didn't look like a repository for unwanted Fiat switchgear and, most importantly, a brand new 5.5-litre V12 motor.

And it was brilliant: fast, with excellent handling, remarkable ride quality and, for the first time in any mainstream Ferrari road car, a genuinely spacious interior. It was called a 2+2 but the rear seats were proper chairs for properly proportioned people.

UK sales started in 1993 and were joined three years later by an automatic GTA version. But this was no multi-speed flappy paddle miracle, but a determinedly old school, four-speed slusher. Unsurprisingly, it's the manuals that fetch more money today.

The only other big change was the introduction of the 456M (modificato) in 1998. It wasn't a transformation but with better aerodynamics, a cleaner interior, an even prettier exterior and a token six extra horsepower, it was a worthwhile update, good enough to keep sales ticking over until the 612 Scaglietti picked up the reins in 2003.

Why are they so cheap? As previously mentioned, four seat Ferraris never do as well as those with just two, but there are also quite reasonably quantities out there as Ferrari built over 3000 units in just over a decade. There's something else going on too: the 456 is of an age where it's too old to be considered relevant or interesting to a modern audience, but too young to have yet emerged as a classic.

True, this is no Daytona or F40 but, at the same time, it's hard to see values of nice, well maintained cars sinking much further than where they are now.

What to look out for:

The wheels are as prone to kerb damage as any supercar and indicative of at least one careless previous owner. Budget around £100 per corner to refurbish.

The clutches are quite strong and should last 25-30,000 miles, but many cars are well past that now. Replacement costs around £2500.

Exhausts. Stainless system means you won't blow holes in the pipes, but silencing units can fail and cost £2000 per side to replace

History. Has it been undersealed every three years as Ferrari recommends? If not, the car could have been neglected.

Centre console control panel. Rubberised cover can lift and bubble and is difficult to replace.

Service history. If it's not complete, walk. Houghton charges £750 for an annual, and only £1500 for cambelts, because engine stays in situ.

To search for a used Ferrari 456 for sale on PistonHeads, click here

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi first drive review

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 02:34 PM PDT

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi The Zafira Tourer is the first Vauxhall to get the company's all-new 1.6-litre turbodiesel This is a late pre-production prototype of Vauxhall's big MPV, powered by the company's all-new 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine. At the recent technical seminar for the Vauxhall-Opel's new powertrains and transmissions, company engineers were very upfront about the failings of the current diesel engine range and the inadequacy of the manual transmissions.Until now, Vauxhall has mostly used diesel engines based on existing units from Fiat and Isuzu. Indeed, Vauxhall-Opel had a Powertrain Engineering centre in Turin, which was born out of its alliance with Fiat.GM Europe retained the facility, which now employs 1000 engineers, although project manager Gianmarco Boretto says that GM engineers from around the world were involved in development, which needed '90 million' Finite Element computer calculations.Boretto says the clean-sheet project to create a mid-size diesel engine family began in 2008. The primary aims were to achieve 'class-leading' power density and for the unit to become a benchmark for low 'noise, vibration and harshness'.The final production engine is based around an aluminium block and a single, water-cooled, variable geometry turbocharger. Twin balancer shafts - mounted in the block - will be optional, depending on which market the engines are aimed at, but it seems likely that they will be fitted the UK-spec Vauxhalls.The direct-injection system operates as high as 2000bar and it uses eight-hole injectors. These injectors can make as many as 10 'pre-injections' in each piston cycle, which is one of the ways of reducing the distinctive 'diesel rattle'.To help speed warm-up, the engine's water pump can be disabled via an electromagnetic clutch. Boretto also claims that the new unit has the lowest internal friction of any current engine (a calculation expressed by 'Friction Mean Effective Pressure') and develops 1kw of power per 1.49kg of weight, also a claimed best-in-class figure.In order to meet the super-stringent EU6 pollution regulations due in Sept 2014, the engine can be fitted with either Selective Catalyst or a Lean NoX Trap, depending on the size of the host vehicle. A 'close-coupled' Diesel Particulate Filter is fitted to all versions of the engine, its design and positioning make it easier to 'regenerate' and burn off the exhaust soot that it traps.

Peugeot 208 GTI UK first drive

Posted: 17 Apr 2013 07:29 AM PDT

Peugeot 208 GTi UK first drive The Peugeot 208 GTI, the French firm's latest hot hatch contender, tested on British roads There's a moment, just as your throttle-prod lifts its engine revs above idle, when this Peugeot's exhaust issues a ghostly note from the past. That's when it sounds like a 205 GTI - and when those familiar with its ancestor might feel a faint anticipatory frisson.Peugeot goes out of its way to say that the 208 GTI is not, and cannot be, a 21st century replay of its '80s classic, while liberally referencing one of the greatest GTIs of them all. Instead, the unspoken message is that this is a much better Peugeot GTI than the 206 and 207 that have come in between, that the 208 GTI recaptures some of the spirit of the original while serving it with the sanitising shot of refinement, quality, convenience and safety that a car of today must provide.But at heart, the package remains the same – a potent engine in small body, subtly honed to maximise driver entertainment. To see how effective it is, we're driving the 208 GTI on Welsh roads that 25 years ago, would have been the scene of many a showdown between the 205 GTI and its rival the Golf, and all those GTI pretenders besides.