Sound the new Ferrari klaxon, we’ve got another one. The fifth new model from Maranello this year - F8 Tributo, F8 Tributo Spider, 812...
Lister’s getting busy. Not content with turning F-Types into possibly the loudest objects in all of history, they’re now working on something that sits...
Fully electric delivery vans are nothing new. Nissan, Peugeot, Renault and Citroen will all sell you an emissions-free workhorse that’ll help to limit pollution in built-up areas. What those options can’t solve, though, are congestion issues at the same time. Step forward the EAVan. Yes, we know it looks remarkably odd, but stick with us here. Designed and built by Oxford-based startup EAV, it’s described as a bio-mechanical electrically-assisted super-lightweight delivery vehicle. In plain English – it’s a four-wheeled bicycle with an electric motor attached and a big boot for parcels. Seems like a worthy idea for city centres doesn’t…
The Vanderhall Carmel is an American, hand-built autocycle. We’re told this new 2020 model now has “a host of upscale amenities”, one of which...
An electric car with 1,000 miles of range per cycle and that you never need to plug in to recharge. How does that sound? Impossible?...
Here is a convertible version of an Aston Martin sports car. It is called the Vantage Roadster, and you’ll be able to deploy this...
The Mazda3 is a very, very good-looking hatchback. We’re big fans of it here at TG, and Mazda North America’s latest announcement hasn’t helped...
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Say a big hello to W Series, an all-new single-seater race series exclusively for women. Whether the W stands for ‘women’ or ‘woke’ we’re not quite sure, but it’s designed to lead us to a point where there’s a far greater gender balance in motorsport. “At the heart of W Series’s DNA is the firm belief that women can compete equally with men in motorsport,” says the official bumf. “However, an all-female series is essential in order to force greater female participation.” It is important to not that there is also the argument that a separate series has the potential to segregate women away from mainstream motorsport even further. The idea is that W Series trains its 18 to 20 racers up to a level that allows them to complete in other existing, top-flight race series. It’s free to enter, and its score of competitors will be selected via lots of on-track auditions, simulator tests and fitness appraisals. On top of that, they then go through a “thorough training programme”, with big names like Adrian Newey and David Coulthard tutoring them along the way. “At the moment, women racing drivers tend to reach a ‘glass ceiling’ at around the GP3/Formula 3 level on their learning curve, often as a result of a lack of funding rather than a lack of talent,” says Coulthard.
“That’s why an all-new all-female single-seater motor racing series is required to establish a competitive and constructive motorsport habitat, in which our drivers will be able to equip themselves with the necessary skill-set eventually to move on up to existing high-level mainstream racing series and compete with the best male drivers on equal terms.” Note that, the first W Series car is a Formula 3 car. The first season will begin in spring 2019 and will visit “some of the best and most famous circuits in Europe, most of which have staged Formula 1 races for many decades,” although these are still yet to be named. Future seasons will spread out to America and Asia. The prize fund for the first season is $1.5 million (just over £1m). Your thoughts, then. Is this a long-overdue move to make Formula 1, WEC and rallying more inclusive? Or does a separate, women-only series only serve to reinforce the current male dominance of motorsport more? We’d love to know what you think.
Here is a convertible version of an Aston Martin sports car. It is called the Vantage Roadster, and you’ll be able to deploy this to buffet your hair into hilarious styles from Spring 2020. Aston has released these four initial images of the engineering prototype ahead of the car’s launch next year, in order to showcase how pretty the little Aston will look. Job done, we’d proffer. No technical details have been released, but a cursory glance over the images reveals that the new Vantage Roadster will feature a folding fabric roof, which one assumes can be raised and lowered in some seconds. Further revelations we can add include the addition of an entire Aston Martin body, some wheels, doors, lights and maybe even wipers. Underneath? The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 Aston uses for the regular Vantage coupe, which is sourced from AMG and currently produces 503bhp. It also has the capacity to accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.6secs, so we’d expect a tiny time penalty for the Roadster. But speed isn’t everything, of course. Price? No idea, friend. But again, a premium over the Coupe is to be expected, so in excess of £120k is what you’re aiming for. The Vantage is a good, pointy little thing too – here’s hoping Aston can continue that run of form for the soft-top. More as we have it… [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" td_gallery_title_input="Aston Martin Vantage Roadster" ids="12826,12828,12830,12832"]
Every year as part of their program, Skoda tasks apprentices at its Mladá Boleslav HQ with designing, developing and even building a one-off concept based on one of the company’s existing models. You can imagine there have been some interesting ones, to say the least. This year, though, the team took things to the next level with this – the Kodiaq-based ‘Mountiaq’. Yes thats right, the apprentices’ sixth concept is effectively a Kodiaq pick-up. And a bright orange one at that. The Mountiaq took the 35 student team a total of 2,000 hours to finish. Work began last autumn, but production only started in January, ahead of a May deadline. After reinforcing the body, the students removed the Kodiaq’s roof, fitted a new rear panel and bed and shortened/widened the doors. Following that, they fitted running boards, the opening tailgate that was supposedly their “biggest challenge” and finally modified bumpers. It’s 4,999 millimeters long, 2,005 millimetres wide and 1,710 milliliters tall, thus making the Mountiaq bigger in every respect than the Kodiaq on which it was based. It is also heavier as well, weighing in at nearly 2.5 tons. Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 190bhp. The increase in weight was primarily due to adding off-road tires and wheels. They also equipped it with a snorkel, winch, bull-bar and light-bar. And, because these are youths we’re talking about, a whopping great stereo. Do you reckon Skoda’s students have got it right this time? [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="1535,1536,1537,1538,1539,1540,1541,1542,1543,1544,1545,1546,1547,1548"]
Overview A business phenomenon. Toyota’s shifted 1.5 million Priuses worldwide, but it’s no longer the default eco-darling, as electric, hydrogen and plug-in rivals up their consumption game and swoop in, carving up Toyota’s kingdom. So naturally, the new Prius moves the frugality game on again (according to official test figures at least) now offering up to 94.1mpg and a mind-boggling 70g/km of CO2. But you’re not grimacing at those numbers are you? You’re more concerned with those Freddie Krueger looks, which is the 4th-gen Prius’s other tactic to stand out. Yikes. Still, it’s slipperier than before– same ultra-low drag coefficient as a Tesla Model S, in fact. Driving Wonders shall never cease, for Toyota has admitted that hybrid CVT drive is not the most pleasant way to get about if you need to move quickly, and has addressed the problem with a meatier motor and battery (though both are lighter than before). The idea is you get more electro-torque more of the time, so the transmission drones less, and the engine isn’t leant on as hard. It’s a subtle improvement, but a worthwhile one. Meanwhile, the body knifes through the air with a smidge of wind noise, the crucial low-speed urban ride is nicely damped, and the regenerative brakes are way better than Toyota’s previous efforts. It’s still not a driver’s car, not by a long chalk, but it’s less wearing for you to pilot than before. Mind you, it’s still a car with a very urban comfort zone – the high-geared, superfast steering that makes traffic-dodging a cinch in town makes this heavy car rather nervous on the motorway. And, of couse, economy soon begins to plunge if you start leaning on that hybrid drivetrain.. On the inside The familiar Prius jigsaw pieces remain – central driving data display atop the dash, a touchscreen for the nav above the climate controls, and a chopped rear window. However, the sweeping new shapes and less oppressive colours lift the ambience into something really rather pleasant and much less plasticky than we’re used to. The seats are particularly praiseworthy – not just extra comfy, but mounted 55mm lower in the car than the old model, so you feel more integrated into the body rather than perched in-mid-air, MPV-style. Aside from the powertrain tweaks, the cabin is easily the best aspect of Prius Mk4. Owning Think 94.1mpg is vaporware? Drive one of these through a typical British city then think again. It’s not thoughtless economy, mind – you need to concentrate, anticipate, drive to the Prius’s strengths, feathering the throttle and keeping an eye on the attractive graphics detents for when fossil fuels will cut in, ruining your average. Oh, and beware the entry-level trim level – it gets plenty of kit, but bizarrely wears lower rent cabin plastics as a cost-cutting measure. Weird: there was us thinking eco hairshirts were a thing of the past. [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="1692,1694,1696,1698,1700"]
It started with Aston Martin, now even Toyota wants a slice of the action. On the eve of the 2019 Le Mans 24hrs, some of the biggest names from its hall of fame are committing to endurance racing’s future, as new regulations approach that give its top class of cars a much more road car slant. So while is busy Aston is readying a Valkyrie racecar, hoping to win Le Mans 2021, Toyota is readying a direct rival based on the deeply promising GR Super Sport Concept (Gazoo Racing). Which, if you need a reminder, produces a nice 1,000bhp from a combination of V6 petrol power and electric motors. And you thought the new Supra was exciting. “Toyota Gazoo Racing is delighted to confirm it will participate in the 2020-2021 season with a hybrid-powered prototype based on the GR Super Sport road car,” reads an official statement. “Both road and race car are undergoing design and intensive development at the company’s technical centres in Toyota City, Higashi-Fuji and Cologne.” Even if motorsport isn’t really your thing, a 1,000bhp Toyota supercar for the road really ought to be. Will find out more as soon as we can. While we wait, Gazoo will undoubtedly be looking to strike another Le Mans victory with its LMP1 prototype. Pole position is naturally a good way to start… [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="1511,1512,1513,1514"]
What the Ferrari F8 Tributo does, rather cleverly, is fuse the feral 711bhp twin-turbo V8 engine of the Ferrari 488 Pista with an updated version of the 488 GTB’s more comfortable chassis. And now, you can combine those ingredients with a whole load more headroom. Because, like the 458 Spider and 488 Spider before it, the F8 has swapped its fixed-in-place roof for an electrically retractable one. This, predictably, is the Ferrari F8 Spider. It’s 20kg lighter than the old 488 Spider, not to mention 50bhp more powerful, but it’s also almost 40kg heavier than the McLaren 720S Spider. The McLaren is built around a carbon tub too, whereas Ferrari prefers a metal chassis for its V8 supercar. So, the 720S needs no stiffening when it goes topless. And the Ferrari ends up just the wrong side of 1500kg. Still, it’s hardly hardy. North of 700 horsepower means it’ll canter past 62mph in 2.9 seconds. 0-124mph takes 8.2 seconds. And the top speed is 211mph. So no, not a slow car. It’ll keep up with a 720S just fine. As usual, Ferrari says it’s reworked all the aerodynamic bits and bobs to keep the cabin free of gale-force winds while preserving the correct cooling demands and downforce priorities of the bodywork. The roof motors away in 24 seconds and so long as you’re not above 28 miles an hour, that’ll happen on the move too. It’ll cost €262,000, before many carbon fibre lightweight options have been selected. And you’ll need them, plus a suitably eye-catching cabin leather hue. This is a cabrio after all – you’ve got to make the cockpit spec a winner. Keep an eye on the configurator… [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" td_gallery_title_input="Ferrari F8 Spider" ids="9993,9995,9997,9999"]
After 12 years in production and some 40,000 cars sold, the Maserati GranTurismo is finally being put out to pasture, giving the company time and space to concentrate on renovations to its Modena plant and development of its next “high-performance sports car”. The one-off Zeda is supposed to “tell the story of the dawn of a new era for the company through colours and materials”. It’s therefore mechanically identical to the normal GranTurismo, with a 4.7-litre Ferrari V8 making 454bhp, but gets a special paint job. The front of the car is deep blue, the middle dark grey and the rear-end satin silver. The next GranTurismo and GranCabrio, the “first models to adopt 100 per cent electric solutions in the history of the brand”, will be built in Turin. Meanwhile the Modena factory, which also produced the soon-to-pass Alfa Romeo 4C, will house production of a new “super sports model” slated for launch in 2020. In the next couple of years Maserati will also electrify the Ghibli and start work on a new SUV. The company says all new Maseratis will feature Level 2 and Level 3 autonomous driver assistance systems. Hopefully Maserati’s plans survive the merging of its parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, with Groupe PSA (owners of Peugeot, Citroen etc). After 12 long years in production, are you sad to see the gorgeous GranTurismo retire? [gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" td_gallery_title_input="Maserati GranTurismo Zeda" ids="16411,16415,16405,16413,16409,16407"]
The Brabham Automotive BT62 you should know by now. It’s a 700bhp V8-powered track special that, if you ask nicely (and give them more money), they’ll convert to road spec for you. Or race spec. Revealed today is your other option when ordering a Brabham BT62, Competition specification. It’s lighter than standard, being stripped out and ready for racing. It’s wrapped rather than painted and the interior trim has all been thrown in the bin. All of which makes it cheaper than standard, a full £250,000 sliced from its price which is now an entirely affordable £750,000 before tax. The standard BT62 is so focused, nothing else has had to change for a motorsport variant: its centre-locking wheels, pneumatic jack system and removable steering wheel all carry over neatly. Brabham’s aim is to have the BT62 racing in GTE class at Le Mans before long, so designed the car ready for it from the off. So, how are you speccing yours? Road, track or cut-price race version? [gallery td_gallery_title_input="Brabham BT62 Competition" td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="15031,15033,15035"]
So you thought the age of eccentric British explorers was over, did you? Well goodness gracious no. The latest to add his name to the illustrious list of hardy outdoorsy types covering great distance in not-much-comfort is Ben Coombs. He’s just finished his mission of driving his TVR Chimaera from the most northerly pub in the world, to the most southerly. The trip, which funny enough originated in a pub, took Mr Coombs seven months. His journey stretched all the way from Svalbard, Norway (on the edge of the Arctic Circle), right down across three continents and 20,000 miles to Puerto Williams in Tierra del Fuego, Chile. Against all the odds of unmade roads, biblical weather, altitude, other road users and the small matter of TVR’s reliability reputation, the car – and Mr Coombs - made it intact. Apparently the only breakdown was a quick stop in Nicaragua where he had to replace the TVR’s clutch. Is this indeed the most reliable TVR ever? We’d love to hear of an even tougher one… Speaking to TopGear.com, Ben, who normally resides in Devon, said: “I’d owned my Chimaera for five years before the trip, but despite sports car-based adventuring being a passion of mine, I’d never really considered taking it on a big trip like this. I guess I always saw it as too fragile; too handmade. After all, on previous, similar trips I’d had all manner of problems. “Years ago, when I crossed Africa in a classic Porsche, the breakdown count ran into double figures, while the Corvette I crossed Asia in a few years ago suffered all kinds of electrical problems. But frankly, I’ve been amazed at what the plucky little car is capable of. From 50 degree heat in Death valley, to altitudes of almost 5,000m on the Bolivian Altoplano; from the precipitous jungles of Bolivia’s Death Road to the gravel tracks of Patagonia, it’s just kept going, completely unphased. “And all the while, it’s proved its fantastic credentials as a grand tourer, maintaining the TVR traditions of comfort and space, combined with effortless performance and a heroic soundtrack.” Why asked why even make huge trips like this, he stated, “There are probably more appealing places to travel 20,000 miles to get to, but that’s not really the point. It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.” It doesn't get better than that.