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New 2022 Maserati Granturismo shots confirm combustion option

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Our spy photographers have caught the next-gen, 2022 Maserati Granturismo lapping a private test facility in Italy, revealing more of its design than the official ‘spy shots’ released by Maserati earlier this year.

Most tellingly, aside from showing how the Ferrari Roma rival’s design will subtly evolve, this newly spotted prototype sports a prominent quad-exit exhaust system, confirming the retention of a combustion-engined option alongside the new fully electric variant. 

Modena remains tight-lipped on what lies under the bonnet, but the new Nettuno V6, as fitted to the MC20 supercar, and the Ferrari-derived V8 used by the Quattroporte are likely choices. The Granturismo is also set to follow the Ghibli and Levante in adopting a hybrid option, but its positioning makes their mild-hybrid 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine an unlikely fit. 

The new images confirm the Granturismo will retain the sleek silhouette of its predecessor, as well as its name. It looks to bear a resemblance to the long-awaited Alfieri concept, which was previewed as long ago as 2016 but has yet to be seen in public. 

The pictures follow the release of a clip (below), last year, in which Maserati previewed the sound of its first electric powertrain, which will be fitted to the 2022 Granturismo. 

Technical details remain unconfirmed, but the all-electric variant will no doubt be the quickest and most potent in the line-up. 

Maserati says that it’s working to ensure the EV’s powertrain has “a distinctive sound, already a unique attribute of all Maserati cars equipped with traditional combustion engines”. It’s not yet clear how this will be achieved, but it’s unlikely that the firm will artificially recreate the noise of its V6 or V8 engines. 

The testing is taking place at private facilities and on surrounding roads, meaning camouflaged prototypes will likely soon be seen in public, giving more clues as to what to expect of the new model. 

The announcement follows September’s confirmation that Maserati is to extensively upgrade its Turin production facility and launch a wave of new models, and, more recently, the unveilings of the Ghibli and Levante mild hybrids. 

READ MORE

Maserati confirms EVs, hybrids and a raft of new models​

E-bike review: Perry Ehopper 16″ Electric Folding Bike

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One particular brilliance of the Ehopper is how easily it folds. Like many folding bikes, it does require adjustment to the saddle height so be wary of this when you unfold the bike, but once you’ve figured out the process, it does only take ten or so seconds to get it in a transportable condition. This and its compact size means it’s ideal for taking on a train or bus without worrying about taking up space.

The ride itself is relatively smooth thanks to the wide tyres, although there was a confidence-sapping creak from the joints of the bike every time it rode over a bump in the road. There is only one frame size, which can be limiting if you’re above average height, but the bike’s fit is adjustable through the stem and saddle height. At 170cm this tester found it was adequate, but another rider at 180cm struggled to find enough saddle height.

The Ehopper comes with five assist modes and will aid with speeds up to the legal limit of 15.5mph. In a flat, urban area, you probably won’t need to crank it up, but if you live anywhere with hills, you’ll probably find yourself using the highest level quite often. It struggled on inclines as a result of the low power of the battery and the small wheels. The assist, however, does kick in quite quickly, which makes it great for setting off from traffic lights or junctions, with barely any lag.

The screen on the handlebars provides you with information such as mileage, assist level, and battery level. Perry has even included additional items that take it from a convenient bike to something extremely practical; there’s a pannier rack, a bag, mudguards, and lights. The test bike even included a lock, which is thoughtful for those quick stops at the shop – or bakery, if you’re of the same mindset as this tester.

Racing lines: the stars shined at this year’s Goodwood

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Tom Cruise turned up on the Sunday, having watched the women’s final at Wimbledon the day before and ahead of attending a certain football match at Wembley. If only he had come in character as Cole Trickle from his glorious Nascar movie Days of Thunder…

But film stars… pah. They’re nothing compared with Mario Andretti, who was oozing charisma and charm as he always does.

Reunited with old friends and rivals Sir Jackie Stewart and Emerson Fittipaldi, Andretti was like a pig in the proverbial, especially when he got a run in a 1952 Ferrari 500 that was raced to F1 title glory by his childhood idol, Alberto Ascari. Andretti is 81 now, Stewart 82, Fittipaldi a mere 74… Having recently lost the likes of Sir Stirling Moss and Murray Walker, it’s imperative that we cherish every moment we can grab with such towering heroes of motorsport. Reutemann’s passing only rubbed that in.

Bell chimes on the hill

Proper speed on the hillclimb is something Goodwood has been cautious to encourage in the wake of serious accidents that included the tragic deaths of a driver and a marshal in 2000. But in recent years, the Sunday afternoon shootout for the fastest time of the weekend has gained an all too familiar edge.

Jack Tetley’s shunt in a Chevrolet Camaro stock car (or was it actually Cruise as Trickle?) was a reminder of how things can unravel when drivers get carried away. Still, it was assuring how well the quaint straw bales contained the Chevy as it ping-ponged across the narrow track, Tetley having dropped two wheels on the grass on the run to the finish.

Once the significant mess was cleared away, McLaren works GT driver Rob Bell did the quickest run, taking just 45.01sec in a moody black 720S GT3X.

Hyundai Tucson Ultimate Plug-in Hybrid 2021 review

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What is it?

The Tucson has been a mainstay of the Hyundai line-up since 2004, steadily growing in popularity to become the marque’s best-selling model in the UK. It’s therefore not hard to see why, despite the emergence of the new all-electric Ioniq sub-brand, Hyundai still has big plans for its traditional family hauler, particularly for fleet drivers with an eye on BIK rates.   

That’s where this new plug-in hybrid variant comes in, because a radical design overhaul – including the unmissable grille, with its integrated LED lighting – is not the only big development for the fourth-generation Tucson. The PHEV technology means this crossover now offers the broadest array of powertrains anywhere in the Korean giant’s line-up, and pairs Hyundai’s 1.6-litre GDi four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a 90bhp electric motor annexed to the car’s six-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is also standard, and in total the range-topping Tucson produces a gutsy 261bhp and 258 lb ft. 

Naturally, it’s also a heavy beast, the lithium-ion drive battery that resides beneath the rear seats helping bring kerb weight to 1924kg, making the car around half-a-tonne heavier than the standard petrol model. In terms of straight-line performance, the Tucson PHEV pays the price for this, with a 0-62mph time of 8.6sec compared to the 7.7sec of its 227bhp full-hybrid sibling. It’s also beaten by the 241bhp Tiguan eHybrid, which manages a claimed 7.5sec. The Tucson’s electric driving range of 31 miles is also only modest, matching the Tiguan to the mile, but easily surpassed by the Toyota RAV4 PHEV’s class-leading 46 miles. 

Our test model is in top-rung Ultimate specification, which is equipped with 19in alloy wheels, an impressive haul of safety assist systems, a panoramic sunroof and electric seats. It also benefited from the optional Tech Pack, which adds multi-mode dampers, park assist, blind spot camera and collision assist, as well as an electric tailgate which gives way to a practical 558-litre boot, ahead of the Tiguan eHybrid, which makes do with a smaller 476-litre space thanks to the relocation of its fuel tank. 

What’s it like?

Inside, the Tucson begins to flex its muscles. It’s a prime example of how new-era Hyundai models now give drivers a premium experience. Soft plastics and fabrics adorn the dashboard and doors, mixed with metal trim surrounding the air conditioning vents. The model features a 10.25in touchscreen unit with sat nav, which is simple to use with good screen resolution at a reachable angle for the driver and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included. The driver’s display is also digital, matching the central screen’s 10.25in size, and in the PHEV can be used to display a useful energy-flow graphic, showing when the petrol unit, EV motor and brake regeneration function are being called upon. This display also highlights the car’s coasting feature, which prompts you to take your foot off the accelerator and allow the engine to shut off when approaching junctions, or upcoming traffic. Interior buttons are also well positioned, though many of the traditional switches and controls have been replaced with touch-sensitive controls, which can be fiddly to use on the move.

Autocar launches Apprentice Academy to nurture editorial talent

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Autocar and Haymarket Automotive have launched a new Apprentice Academy to nurture a new generation of editorial talent across our four market-leading brands: Autocar, Car Aftermarket Trader (CAT), Classic & Sports Car and What Car?

Four roles are being offered, with successful candidates being given the chance to undertake a structured learning programme that combines formal studies towards a NCTJ Journalism qualification with working as an integral part of the 57-strong editorial teams.

To apply for the role of Editorial Apprentice, click here

“We’ve got an enviable reputation for bringing on talent, and it’s a source of great pride that so many people who came to us over the years looking to get started have gone on to be alumni of the industry,” said Rachael Prasher, managing director of Haymarket Automotive.

“For the past seven years we have formalised that by taking on apprentices, many of whom are now senior members of our teams, enjoying amazing careers with us. However, today’s announcement, and the structure we’re putting in place to support it, ramps up our commitment to doing that on a much bigger, more involved scale than ever before.

“We have put this programme together with a sharp focus on ensuring that the roles are open and appealing to everyone as we acknowledge the benefits of diversity across our business and redouble our efforts to ensure our workforce reflects that understanding.”

Applications are open to school, college or university leavers, and placements will give hands-on experience of news, feature and review writing, video presenting and editing, a variety of social media platforms, website design and using content management systems. It’s also anticipated that successful candidates will introduce Haymarket Automotive’s existing teams to consider new skills and media platforms.

“Our priority is not to recruit car enthusiasts, but rather anyone serious about developing a career in journalism with a curiosity for cars and the industry,” added Prasher. “In exchange we will give them incredible experiences across four diverse brands and hopefully set them on their way to a brilliant career.

“My advice to anyone interested is to apply with excitement for the opportunities to learn and a clear vision of why they are ready to seize the experiences on offer and make a difference for our audiences.”

To apply for the role of Editorial Apprentice, click here

READ MORE

Autocar Drivers of Change

Smart EQ Fortwo gets Brabus design cues for £25,495

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The Smart EQ Fortwo Racing Green Edition is now on sale, with Brabus-inspired features inside and out inflating the car’s price to £25,495, a figure that includes the government’s plug-in car discount of £2500.

The special-edition EQ Fortwo rides on 16in Brabus Monoblock XI alloy wheels with a silver undercut. LED headlights, a panoramic glass roof and Racing Green metallic paint complete the exclusive exterior look.

Inside, the hand-stitched seats are finished in Cognac nappa leather, as are the dashboard, door panels and three-spoke multifunction steering wheel. Diamond and Racing Green stitching is used throughout.

Other Brabus touches include the sports pedals, handbrake lever, gear stick and aluminium door sills, while the dashboard features a carbonfibre-esque trim.

As with the entry-level, £19,200 version of the EQ Fortwo, the Racing Green Edition uses an 8.0in touchscreen running a Connect media system, which is compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Smart says the Racing Green Edition will be on sale for “a limited time only” but hasn’t said how long interested buyers will have to place their orders.

Underneath, the powertrain is untouched: an 81bhp electric motor drives the rear wheels, with 0-62mph taking 11.6sec en route to a top speed of 81mph. The 17.6kWh battery gives an official range of 80 miles, although drivers will see something closer to 70 in real-world conditions.

Smart says a rapid charger will top up the battery from 10% to 80% in less than 40 minutes and a typical home wallbox unit will deliver a full charge in under six hours.

The EQ Fortwo and EQ Forfour have been the brand’s only models for some time. However, last week, Smart released preview images of a new electric SUV that’s due to be unveiled at the Munich motor show in September.

READ MORE

Smart EQ Fortwo review

Smart electric SUV will show off brand’s premium ambition

Ineos finalises purchase of Smart factory from Mercedes-Benz

Adrian Newey could follow up Valkyrie with new bespoke road car

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Autocar had the chance to experience the Aston Martin Valkyrie at the Goodwood Festival of Speed from the passenger seat. Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey – the man behind the original idea and much of the execution – got to drive it on the Sunday. We spoke to him about the experience shortly afterwards.

“It’s still slightly raw; there’s some development still to be done,” he said. “The car at Goodwood didn’t have active suspension and there’s lots of mapping work still to be done. But I think when everything comes together, it will be really special.”

Newey had previously driven the 1160bhp hypercar at Silverstone, but this was the first time that he experienced it in a public arena. Although it’s one where, by his own admission, “you would have to be really brave to push.” What surprised him about it in nearly finished form?

“The cabin noise is higher than we wanted, I have to be honest,” he admitted. Given the 11,400rpm-capable Cosworth V12 is mounted directly to the rear bulkhead, sound insulation was always going to be an issue.

“I don’t think we’re unique in this. There will be at least one other high-performance hypercar coming out with the requirement to either wear headphones or earpieces, whichever is your preference.”

That sounds like a reference to the Gordon Murray Automotive T50 and its even-revvier Cosworth V12.

“Luggage space is also smaller than I had hoped,” continued Newey, “which is down to our inexperience of realising just how much paraphernalia is associated with modern road cars when it comes to emissions standards. The weight crept up a bit, too, but not too much.”

Overall, though, Newey is proud of the car, and especially its usability, citing both its ability to manoeuvre under pure-electric power and the good manners of its motorsport-style dog-cut gearbox, which uses the hybrid system’s electric motor to help damp unwanted frequencies.

“It’s a car that’s perhaps more targeted and focused than other cars have been,” Newey said. “We didn’t do any benchmarking against potential competitor cars, because we wanted to try to establish a new genre of car that was more track-biased than other road cars have been, while still making it usable on the road.

“The analogy I always had in my mind was a modern superbike: incredible performance, you can take it to the shops, but you really need to have your wits about you or it will bite you. When you really enjoy it is when you take it on track.”

Newey’s decision to drive his stint while wearing full Red Bull Racing overalls also highlighted the impending divorce between the car’s creators. Now that Aston Martin has its own Formula 1 team, the alliance with Red Bull Advanced Technology is set to end. 

Tesla Supercharger network to be opened to rival EVs

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Electric cars other than those made by Tesla will be able to use the firm’s Supercharger network from later this year, CEO Elon Musk has said.

The network – which consists of 2500 stations with 25,000 charging points worldwide, including more than 600 across the UK and Ireland – is currently exclusive to Tesla drivers.

Opening these up to all brands would represent a significant boost for EV drivers. Zap-Map estimates that only 1137 of the near-25,000 charging devices in the UK are capable of ‘ultra-rapid’ rates of 100kW or more.

“We created our own connector, as there was no standard back then and Tesla was only maker of long-range electric cars,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “It’s one fairly slim connector for both low and high-power charging. That said, we’re making our Supercharger network open to other EVs later this year.”

Asked if the network would be open to all EVs in specific territories, Musk replied: “Over time, all countries.”

While Musk has a habit of making impromptu announcements on Twitter, his tweets are often taken with a pinch of salt. In 2019, he and Tesla were each forced to pay a $20 million fine by the US Securities and Exchange Commission after he falsely claimed that he had “funding secured” to take the company private, damaging investors.

The deal with the SEC compelled him to step down as Tesla chairman for at least three years and his tweets regarding the company now have to be pre-approved – although the regulator believes the latter term has been broken at least twice, according to documents recently seen by the Wall Street Journal.

In any case, Musk’s latest claims don’t go into detail about the difficulties of opening up the Supercharger network to all electric cars. In the UK, Superchargers offer both Type 2 (for the Model S and Model X) and CCS connectors (for the Model 3), but charging points in the US would need an adapter.

The move could also prove unpopular with Tesla owners, who view the exclusive Supercharger network as a key benefit of buying one of the American manufacturer’s cars.

There’s also the issue of pricing: certain Teslas can use the Supercharger network for free, while others are charged a rate of 28p per kWh after exhausting an annual allowance of 400kWh.

It’s not clear if non-Tesla drivers would be charged more or if they would be entitled to the same charging speeds of up to 250kW that equate to 1000 miles of range per hour on some models.

READ MORE

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New Tesla Supercharger can give 1000 miles of charge per hour

Tesla plots £20k, 250-mile EV hatch to rival VW ID 3

Aston Martin launches new configurator for updated 2021 line-up

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Aston Martin has updated each model in its line-up for 2021 – showcasing the changes via a new configurator platform – as the latest step in CEO Tobias Moers’ radical Project Horizon transformation plan. 

Claimed to simplify the specification process and to allow customers “to intuitively create their most desired Aston Martin”, Gaydon’s new configurator has been developed in partnership with digitalisation firm MHP, and is based on gaming company Epic’s Unreal software – known for forming the basis of hit video game Fortnite. 

It is said to offer “immersive” three-dimensional, high-definition renderings of customers’ created cars, with the ability to zoom in on fine details and play a full video of the final product, with a choice of backgrounds. 

At any point in the configuration process, customers will now be able to start a conversation with an Aston Martin representative, schedule a meeting with a dealer or download a personalised brochure of their specified car. 

Aston claims that since its re-entry into Formula 1 at the beginning of the 2021 season, it has seen “very high levels of traffic” on its website and configurator, and says it registers a spike in interest every time the Vantage F1 safety car or DBX medical car appears on screen. 

Moers said: “Like many businesses, a proportion of our customers switched over to online buying during the pandemic, so we have improved this process to allow remote customers to receive the full Aston Martin experience.”

In launching the configurator, Aston has shown off a raft of tweaks for its Vantage, DB11, DBS Superleggera and DBX models.

Most notably, the DB11 has had its V8’s output boosted from 503bhp to 528bhp – the same as the hardcore Vantage F1 edition built to celebrate the marque’s reappearance in Formula 1. Top speed is now pegged at 192mph, and Aston claims it offers a broader torque band across the rev range. 

The DB11 can also now be specified with optional ‘Sports Plus’ seats, which provide extra support at the top and bottom in dynamic driving situations. 

Elsewhere, the top-rung, V12-powered DBS has dropped its Superleggera moniker, while the V12-powered DB11 has dropped the AMR (Aston Martin Racing) suffix. Aston says it made these changes to “simplify nomenclature across the range and focus the offering to customers”. 

Meanwhile, both the Vantage and DBS are offered with new 21in wheel designs, while the DBX is offered with a set of 23in items at the top end – as well as the new Sports Plus seats and wireless smartphone charging. 

Also, three new trim packages – Create, Accelerate and Inspire – are now available across the line-up, providing unique combinations of colours, materials and finishes.  

Automobili Pininfarina offers bespoke design service for Battista

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Automobili Pininfarina will offer customers the opportunity to add their own design features to their Battista orders with a personalisation programme. 

The firm says 128 million design combinations are possible for the 1900bhp electric hypercar. Customers can customise exterior paint colours, interior finishes and aluminium detailing or choose exposed carbonfibre bodywork. 

Other customisable options include alterations to the mirror caps, rear wing, brake calipers, alloy wheels and centre-lock rings. Engravings on the Battista chassis plate between the car’s seats and on the passenger door can also be personalised.

“The Pininfarina name has a storied heritage of individual cars, and the Battista continues this legacy, as every vehicle will be truly bespoke by design,” said Sara Campagnolo, the firm’s head of colour and materials design. 

“Our clients have the unique opportunity to join the Automobili Pininfarina family, immersing themselves in the design process with our talented craftspeople to ensure their vehicle authentically reflects their personality and tastes, created with a truly personal touch.” 

The personalisation programme was revealed alongside a New York City-inspired design with a red-white-and-blue colour scheme, expired carbonfibre bodywork and performance stripes. 

The car is also equipped with a red exterior ‘jewellery pack’, matt grey wheels, brushed aluminium headlight engraving and a black finish for the roof, rear diffuser and rear wing.

Inside, it features black leather seats, white seatbelts, blue Alcantara and a combination of blue, red and white stitching. 

Customers will be invited to Pininfarina’s refurbished Cambiano facility to design their cars, where they can see colour options and combinations in person. The suite will be located alongside the production line. It’s set to open later this year.

Only 150 Battista models will be produced, with sales split almost equally between Europe, the US and the rest of the world.

READ MORE

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