Saturday, April 13, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Audi S3 S tronic first drive review

Posted: 12 Apr 2013 06:22 AM PDT

Audi S3 first drive review The latest S3 is more powerful and more efficient than its predecessor, but remains slightly aloof when compared to the best hot hatches A car on which high expectations are placed, as the fourth-generation Audi S3 follows the impressive new A3 introduced late last year. Moreover, with a revised turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine developing 35bhp and 22lb ft of torque more than its predecessor as well as a reworked four-wheel drive system with Haldex-style multi-plate clutch, the ingredients are in place to make this new car a truly cracking drive.

Picture special: History of the hot Subaru Impreza

Posted: 12 Apr 2013 04:54 AM PDT

Picture special: History of the hot Subaru Impreza We take a look back at some of the greatest Subaru Imprezas ever made

The New York motor show played host to some exceptional debuts, including the Subaru WRX Concept. It previewed the next-generation Subaru WRX, but it also emerged that the hot Subaru most likely won't be returning to the UK.

To mark the potential demise of such an iconic performance car, we're going to take a look at the plethora of special Impreza models sold in the UK over the past two decades.

Launched in 1992, the Impreza was initially available with a naturally aspirated boxer engine and a choice of front- or four-wheel drive. The hot models were developed using the lessons learned through Subaru's WRC campaign with its Legacy. At the hands of Colin McRae, it chalked up a single victory in New Zealand.

The first Subaru Impreza Turbo arrived in 1994. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer produced 208bhp and 201lb ft of torque. It soon became a favourite of enthusiasts thanks to its exceptional cross-country price, unique soundtrack and affordability; it had a list price of £17,499.

To celebrate Colin McRae's first world rally championship with Subaru, 200 Impreza McRae editions were produced in 1995. All paid homage to the rally cars with blue paint and gold Speedline alloy wheels. Additional extras for the McRae edition included a sunroof and Recaro seats.

Again marking world rally success, the Impreza Catalunya edition was made in 1997 to celebrate a Constructors' championship and a victory on the Catalunya rally. Just 200 were sold in black with gold wheels and an interior with black and red accents.

The Terzo (Italian for third) Impreza special marked three consecutive WRC constructors' championships for Subaru. There were 333 made, all in the trademark Subaru colours of Sonic Blue with gold wheels. Alcantara-trimmed seats were fitted over the standard Impreza Turbo.

For many Subaru fans, the Impreza 22B is the most legendary of all Impreza special editions. Only 400 of the two-door cars were produced, with just 16 officially sold in Britain. The 22B marked 40 years of Subaru and featured a 276bhp 2.2-litre engine, and the cars sold in Britain featured revised gearing to those offered in Japan.

Subaru commemorated the arrival of Richard Burns to its WRC team with the Impreza RB5. Production was limited to 444 units, with every car painted in Blue Steel metallic paint with 17in grey Speedline alloys. Many were also fitted with the WR-Sport package, which added a larger spoiler and upped power to 237bhp.

The Impreza P1 was announced at the British motor show in 1999. Another two-door Impreza, Subaru produced 1000 P1s in association with Prodrive. Identifiable by its OZ ten-spoke alloy wheels and unique bodykit, the 276bhp P1 revered status is reflected in solid used values today.

Subaru's second-generation Impreza was launched in Britain at the end of 2000. Its 'bug-eye' headlight design won it few fans initially. The Impreza Turbo became the Impreza WRX, a badge previously reserved for Japanese domestic market models. The ingredients for a great driver's car remained though; a turbocharged boxer engine (now with 221bhp), a grippy 4WD chassis and relatively low mass.

The UK300 was the first special-edition second-gen Impreza. As the name implies, it was a UK-only car and 300 were produced. It featured Prodrive bumpers, new headlights and Alcantara interior accents. It also marked the arrival of the Prodrive Performance Pack (PPP) option to the Impreza WRX, taking power to 261bhp.

The first WRX STI (the latter standing for Subaru Technica International) Impreza arrived in Britain in 2001, and would remain the nameplate for flagship Imprezas in Britain for over a decade. It offered 261bhp and a six-speed gearbox (the WRX had five). A PPP option also featured on the STi, this time increasing output to 300bhp.

Subaru's controversial 'bug-eyed' Impreza was facelifted by Subaru in 2003, with the revised look gaining the tag 'blob-eye'. Subaru introduced the WR1 special in 2004 to mark Petter Solberg being crowned world rally champion. Ice Blue was the only colour option on each of the 500 cars, and all were equipped with the PPP option and Subaru's Driver Controlled Centre Differential.

Another facelift for the Impreza range occurred in 2005, with the new headlight design being termed 'hawk-eye' by aficionados. The most memorable special from this Impreza generation was the RB320, built in memory of Richard Burns with badges evoking his helmet design.

Tweaked by Prodrive and equipped with an adjustable rear anti-roll bar, Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs, the RB320 is held in high regard by Impreza enthusiasts. Power was 320ps (316bhp) and 320 were made.

The third generation marked a radical change of direction for Subaru's most iconic model. A hatchback body replaced the traditional saloon, and its uncompromising focus was dialled back to make it more appealing to the hot hatch mainstream.

A turbocharged boxer engine remained (now 2.5-litres in capacity and with 227bhp), as did four-wheel drive. But even at £19,995 it struggled against hot hatch contemporaries such as the Renault Megane R26.

The WRX STi version of the third-generation Impreza arrived in 2008. It delivered 296bhp and 300lb ft of torque but failed to recapture the spirit of the original saloons.

In 2010 the the Impreza badge was dropped, as was the hatch body, with the introduction of the WRX STi saloon. It used suspension settings from the Japanese Spec C cars and was perceived as a more successful fast Subaru by many.

Subaru teamed up with Cosworth to produce the Impreza CS400 in 2010. Boasting uprated engine internals and a vastly uprated turbo, the CS400 produced 395bhp and was capable of 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds. Just 75 were produced, priced at £49,995 each.

Matt Bird

MG CS SUV concept confirmed for Shanghai show

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 05:43 AM PDT

MG CS SUV concept poised for Shanghai reveal An MG5-based SUV concept will be revealed at the Shanghai motor show later this month

The MG CS Concept will make its world debut at the Shanghai motor show. The car has been penned by MG design boss, Anthony Williams-Kenny.

MG Motor says the former MG Rover and Mitsubishi designer's concept "oozes British design flair while embracing the sporting DNA of MG, an iconic brand".

The MG CS has headlights which have a "multi-faceted shard structure" that refract light in different colours and shapes from the side, but forms the MG hexagon from the front.

Last year, MG revealed its Icon SUV concept, a retro-styled take on the Nissan Juke. The CS Concept appears to be a refined version of the Icon concept, but has ditched MGB-inspired styling for a more modern look, falling in line with the rest of MG's range.

Little is known about the CS concept, but should it be an evolution of the Icon, it is likely to be based on the MG5's plaform. Power could come from a SAIC-developed, 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that's understood to develop around 135bhp.

Rumours of an MG SUV have circulated since 2011, when MG's sales and marketing director suggested such a car could follow the introduction of more mainstream models.

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