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Kimera Evo37 given special livery to open 90th Monte-Carlo Rally

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The Kimera Evo37 will open the 90th Monte-Carlo Rally in a special Pirelli-inspired livery to celebrate 150 years since the tyre company’s inception. 

An homage to the original Lancia 037 that won the famous rally in 1983 at the hands of Walter Röhrl, the Evo37 will be driven by Pirelli motorsport boss Mario Isola and 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg.

“The new Evo37 brings back the legend of 037 on the same streets which consecrated it as one of the most loved and celebrated racing cars in the history of rally and motorsport,” Kimera said.

The hardcore coupé will be exhibited in the city’s Place du Casino during the three day event. 

Its special livery, designed by Kimera itself, features a combination of red, white and black paint and Pirelli and Kimera logos. 

The Evo37 was revealed back in May 2021, before it made its first public appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed a few months later. 

The modernised and uprated take on the 037 is driven by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 498bhp and 369lb ft, with a top speed of around 190mph and a 0-62mph time of around 3.0sec.  

It’s based on the central chassis section of the Lancia Beta Montecarlo, with new tubular frame sections added to the front and rear.

The overhauled chassis has been equipped with adjustable Öhlins shocks, modern Brembo brakes and Pirelli sport tyres, which gain a special design as part of its Monte-Carlo livery.

Just 37 examples of the Evo37 will be made, each selling for a price of €480,000 (around £406,000). 

“I’m really proud to bring to the Monte-Carlo Rally the Kimera Evo37, 40 years after the birth of the 037, on the roads where the most beautiful pages of motorsport have been written and which have inspired all our work,” said rally driver Luca Betti, who has previously won the Monte. 

Jeep Renegade and Compass gain mild e-Hybrid variants

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Jeep has revealed pricing and specification information for new mild-hybrid variants of the Renegade and Compass SUVs, which start from £31,130 and £32,895 respectively.

The two models already offer plug-in powertrains but gain a new e-hybrid option, which the firm says provides savings of 15% on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to petrol models currently on sale.

Both cars are driven by a four cylinder 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 130bhp and 177lb ft, mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. 

A 15kW (20bhp) electric motor offers energy recuperation, regenerative braking and fully-electric drive during vehicle start-up and setting off, when parking, at low speeds and when cruising. 

The Renegade and Compass both benefit from similar levels of equipment, including an updated instrument panel to display information about the hybrid system. 

An 8.4in touchscreen display is fitted as standard, which can be upgraded to a larger 10.1in unit on the Compass. The models gain a pre-installed Uconnect box, used to control remote functions with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Both cars also gain a selection of safety software as standard, including traffic sign recognition, speed assist, drowsy driver alerts, emergency braking and for the first time in Europe, level two autonomous driving with adaptive cruise control and lane centering. 

Both cost significantly less than their plug-in counterparts and gain a special Upland specification at launch. 

Upland models gain bespoke design features including a Maz Azur exterior paint, a two-tone black roof and 17in gloss black wheels on the Renegade, upgraded to 18in alloys on the Compass. Both also receive a special front grille with a bronze chrome finish.

Nearly new buying guide: Skoda Citigo

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If you want an automatic city car, the Citigo isn’t the best option, because its ASG is ultra-slow and jerky, plus it can suffer issues (as can the manual).

Several owners have reported brake and exhaust system issues, so check these on your test drive; and there can also be a loss of power due to the camshaft oil-pressure valve blocking, so ask if the oil has been changed regularly. The cambelt should be changed every 60 months or five years, too, plus the auxiliary drive belt and battery should be changed at every major service.

Some owners have reported lighting problems, too, signalled by dashboard warning alerts.

The stereo is basic, but you can clip a separate display to the top of the dashboard that includes sat-nav and a Bluetooth phone connection and can display the car’s trip computer.

The last time the Citigo featured in the What Car? Reliability Survey, it came sixth of 23 small and city cars.

Need to know

Just £3000 will get you into a used Citigo, but it will be an early three-door S with the 60 engine. For five doors and the 75 engine or a higher trim, you will need at least £4000. Spend between £4000 and £6000 on good 2014 to 2017 cars or around £7000 to £9000 on 2018 and 2019 examples. You will need at least £18,000 for an EV.

Zeekr 001 2022 review

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In the main, the interior materials and finish are impressive and the architecture quite pleasing, with the layered dashboard and driver-orientated centre console notable highlights. 

Equipment levels are also high, and interestingly the 001 is the first production car to feature a Yamaha sound-system. 

The 15.4in touchscreen controls most functions and won’t be to all tastes. It dominates the cabin, Tesla-style, although not in quite as stark fashion, thanks to the Zeekr’s dedicated instrument display and some other physical switchgear. 

Zeekr’s desire to give the 001 some level of sportiness is evident on the road, and the steering is decently accurate and responsive, with more life in the motion than we’ve come to expect from inert EV racks.

There’s also a Dynamic driving mode, which in contrast to Comfort weights up the steering and cuts from slack from the air suspension. The other modes include Eco, Snow and Off-Road, which raises the ride height. 

The 4WD version of course has very brisk acceleration and happily tolerates being put down more challenging roads, although it’s no sports car.

There’s breadth here, though: Comfort mode has the air suspension soaking up bumps nicely.

True one-pedal driving is possible via a selection on the menu, but speed only really rapidly bleeds off below about 30mph.

A head-up display aids your situational awareness.

Racing lines: the race of Sir Jackie Stewart’s life

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There will also be an unprecedented display of all his trophies. “We will have the British Grand Prix of shooting standing beside the solid-gold RAC British Grand Prix trophy, which we’ve got for the weekend,” says Stewart. “The quality of these trophies is fantastic, when sometimes those of today leave something to be desired. It will be a good attraction on its own.”

A cast list of special guests is guaranteed, and given who we’re talking about, he might even manage to order decent weather. But you sense his frustration that when it comes to the most important person in his life, for once he has found himself powerless – hence the charity and its high ambition. 

“Helen, my timekeeper and lap-charter, can’t walk now,” he says sadly. “She can remember a lot of things from the past, but if you speak to her four minutes later, she can’t recall it. It’s a very cruel illness.

“The statistics now are that for everybody born today, one in three is going to have dementia, and there’s no cure. We’ve got to do something about it.”

Hamilton vs Russell

I later ask Stewart what he’s looking forward to from F1 this year. He dismisses fears that Sir Lewis Hamilton might not return after the manner of his title defeat to Max Verstappen and is relishing the prospects of “that young and over-height” George Russell, “who might for the first time give Lewis a little push and shove” at Mercedes-AMG.

But were the events of Abu Dhabi damaging? “No,” he fires back. “It would’ve been damaging if a pace car had crossed the finish line first. That’s not what F1 is about.”

Stewart likes Verstappen but adds: “He still has time to learn emotionally. What you can’t do is over-drive. He and Lewis tangling wasn’t what I would call pure world champion [behaviour]. Juan Manuel Fangio didn’t do that, neither did Jim Clark – and, by the way, neither did Jackie Stewart.”

Glickenhaus Hydrogen Boot is zero-emissions Baja 1000 desert racer

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American car maker Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has released the latest images of its hydrogen fuel cell endurance race vehicle, which is set to take part in this year’s Baja 1000 off-road desert race in November.

Best known for its Nürburgring 24 Hours successes with the SCG003 supercar and the SCG007 it campaigned in the new Le Mans Hypercar class at the Le Mans 24 Hours last year, the NY-based firm already builds the SCG Boot, a road-legal Baja 1000 endurance racer, which won its class on its debut at the event in 2019. That model costs $287,500 (approximately £211,279).

If successful, the Hydrogen Boot will be the first zero-emissions vehicle to complete the Baja 1000 race, an annual enduro event held on the dirt tracks and roads of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. 

First seen as a concept last year, the vehicle uses a quad-cab pick-up shell with the back seats removed and replaced with a sizeable hydrogen system. The firm is expecting a range of more than 600 miles.

The race vehicle’s development will also spawn a road-legal variant in the US. Founder Jim Glickenhaus said:  “We will make a US road-legal version. We are using all the engineering, testing and development of this race vehicle to create the systems and knowledge around cryogenic hydrogen, fuel cells and our refueling system.”

He added: “Our truck is something you can drive to the Baja 1000, race 1000 miles, and drive home. The Baja is a brutal race, the longest continuous off-road race globally. There is not a battery-electric vehicle in the world that can successfully run the Baja 1000.” 

There are, as yet, no engineering details about the model but Glickenhaus describes the Boot as a “cryogenic supercritical hydrogen fuel cell electric Baja 1000 race vehicle”.

The firm also confirmed it is creating its own fuelling infrastructure for its fuel cell vehicle. Glickenhaus said: “When people see this vehicle race the Baja 1000 and finish, with zero emissions, it can be safely driven over the most intense landscapes and refuelled in the middle of the desert, with our own infrastructure, that will change the world.”

Stellantis to unveil long-term plan on 1 March

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Stellantis will announce its long-term plan on 1 March as it seeks to shape “the future of mobility with innovation and sustainable solutions”.

The car-making giant – formed by a merger of the PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – is celebrating its first anniversary today.

Reflecting on this, CEO Carlos Tavares said: “It’s no coincidence that Stellantis was born precisely when our world requires a new kind of spirit, one that supports this human imperative by providing clean, connected, affordable and safe freedom of mobility for all.”

There are no formal details on what Stellantis will announce on 1 March, but it’s expected to focus on digitalisation and expanding its offerings even further beyond car ownership.

It already has car-sharing firm Free2Move and short, mid and long-term vehicle rental company Leasys under its umbrella. 

Since its formation, Stellantis has launched more than 10 new vehicles across its various brands and planned investments of more than 30 billion (£25bn) by 2025 for electrification and software.

It has also unveiled an ambitious electrification strategy, with 33 electrified vehicles available now and eight more electric vehicles due in the next 18 months. 

New partnerships, considered key to software transformation, include those with Amazon, BMW, Foxconn and Waymo.

Tavares said: “We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but the Stellantis community is well on its way and so the race is on.

“Stellantis will make the difference in the demanding environment in which we operate. It is our duty, and thanks to our competitive mindset, I’m confident that our stars will continue to shine.”

Volkswagen and Bosch to collaborate on battery production

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Volkswagen and the Bosch have committed to a joint venture to significantly upscale Volkswagen’s battery factories, with an aim of making the firm self-sufficient in European battery-cell production.

The car maker and component supplier signed a memorandum of understanding that will ensure the “entire range of processes and components” will be sourced within Europe, aiming for “cost and technology leadership in the industrialisation of battery technology”.

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They aim to form the new company by the end of 2022.

The geographical aspect is key, as Volkswagen board member for technology Thomas Schmall explained: “Europe has the unique chance to become a global battery powerhouse in the years to come.

“There’s a strong and growing demand for all aspects of battery production, including the equipment of new gigafactories. Volkswagen and Bosch will explore opportunities to develop and shape this novel, multibillion-euro industry in Europe.”

Bosch sold its cell chemistry division a few years ago, at the time citing the risky high investment costs, but this tie-up with Volkswagen will give it the scale to allow it to re-enter this growing field.

Europe is struggling to catch up with Asia, and especially China, on battery production.

Reports out this week suggest that mining conglomerate Rio Tinto has had to push back its proposed Serbian lithium mine off the back of local opposition.

Change is coming, though, as recent announcements from various companies put a total yearly European battery-production capacity at 700GWh by 2030.

The new partnership between Volkswagen and Bosch makes strategic sense, as the former has vast car manufacturing experience and is already committed to upscaling its battery production, while the latter has the technical know-how in factory automation.

Volkswagen is committed to European battery production and has announced that it plans to build six battery-cell factories on the continent by 2030.

To that end, it recently announced a tie-up with battery maker Northvolt with the aim of having a 16GWh battery-production facility in Lower Saxony by 2024.

Meanwhile, Bosch opened a semiconductor factory in Dresden last year.

Steve Cropley: Why I’m worried about Jaguar

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The Citroën is nice to drive, and happily uncorrupted by changes in weight distribution brought by an EV powertrain and a 50kWh battery. But in near-freezing conditions its reliable range is 120 miles, not the touted 170.

That’s disastrously far from the 500 miles of ICE versions and negates at a stroke all that happy-family-fun-outdoors stuff promised in Berlingo brochures. It’s another kind of car now, a schoolrunner, which kiboshes my long-held, back-of-mind plan to swap our 18-year-old for a new one. We’ll keep what we have.

Wednesday

I’m trying to decide if the latest announcement to “pause” the smart motorway programme is good news. It is in part, I suppose, given that the highways people are postponing projects not yet started, while reassessing five years’ worth of accidents on those already built. Mind you, it could also be a handy excuse for spending hard to-find development money more slowly. I hear the authorities’ assertions that smart motorways are our safest roads of all but am not impressed. Whenever I’m on one, I’m glad to be in a modern car and not one of the uncertain (now dangerous) machines from my past.

Thursday

Odd problem with our Mini Cooper S. One rear tyre loses pressure very, very slowly, three or four bar every three or four days. It’s enough to trigger the car’s annoyingly vigilant TPM system and spook the Steering Committee – invariably at an awkward part of her commute – even though it advises her that driving on is okay. We’ve given it a new valve and reseated the tyre on the wheel with lots of black gunge. The problem has slowed but not stopped. Anyone know if Minis have porous alloys?

Lamborghini appoints new chief technical officer in reshuffle

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Maurizio Reggiani has relinquished his role as Lamborghini’s chief technical officer after 16 years to become its vice president of motorsport and the firm has appointed Rouven Mohr as its new CTO.

Reggiani joined Lamborghini in 2006 and has overseen some of the brand’s most successful supercars, including the Murciélago, Aventador and Huracán, and the firm’s first modern-day SUV, the Urus

He began his automotive career in 1983 at Maserati’s engine design and development department, before joining Bugatti, where he was responsible for the EB110’s 3.5-litre quad-turbocharged V12 powertrain. 

As the vice president of motorsport, the Spaniard will now oversee the strategic direction of Squadra Corse Lamborghini in a move that comes, the firm says, “at a time of transition for the racing sector towards an increasingly sustainable future”.

Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini chairman and CEO, said Reggiani has been behind “every fundamental decision” to help the Italian supercar manufacturer get where it is today. 

“He was the father of Lamborghini’s most successful models, from the Aventador to the Urus, from the Huracán to the Countach LPI 800-4, models that have become icons in the history of this brand or will soon become so,” Winkelmann said. 

He added: “His pioneering vision has given continuity to Lamborghini’s DNA, which has made the drive for innovation one of its founding values since 1963. Today, his deep and long experience in the automotive field will support one of the key strategic sectors, where we aim to continually increase our presence as protagonists.” 

The firm has appointed Rouven Mohr as Regianni’s replacement as chief technical officer. Mohr, from Saabrücken, Germany, has previous experience as head of project management for the A3, TT, Q7 and Q8 models at Audi.

He moved to Lamborghini in 2017 as head of development for the Aventador, Huracán and Urus, then returned to Audi as head of energy and weight management, before stepping back to Lamborghini as head of verification and validation.

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