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CAR UK June 2019

Every month CAR interviews the stars of motorsport, demystifies the latest in-car technology and shares our writers’ passion for car culture and car design. Discover the world’s newest and most exciting cars: join us to drive everything from supercars and hot hatches to family cars.

United Kingdom
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min

The passenger-ride opportunity is the automotive PR machine at its most inventive – an opportunity where there is none, offered as if gilt-edged. It goes like this. Your new car’s been revealed but not launched. To fill the dead air between the two, swaddle your baby in camo and stick some journalists in it a good three months before they drive it. And so, as the writer, you climb into the passenger seat and press ‘play’ on the unfortunate media-trained development engineer (whose name was surely on the shortest of short straws). What follows is perhaps 25 minutes of fevered concentration as, with fists clenched and the questions pouring out of your mouth like hot lead from a minigun, you try to garner a single helpful impression about the new car that…

4 min
sensible, by mclaren

Who wants their mid-engined supercar to go big on luxury and practicality? McLaren is about to find out as its launches the GT, a £165k grand tourer that breaks from Woking’s Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series hierarchy. It’s aimed at Ferrari Portofino, Aston DB11 and Porsche 911 Turbo S buyers. The GT takes its lead from the 570GT, essentially a 570S with a side-opening glass hatch and dynamics softened to suit longer journeys. The 570GT accounted for around 10-15 per cent of Sports Series sales but is being discontinued. ‘Customers told us they wanted more differentiation, more power, and more luggage space, luxury and refinement,’ says Ian Digman, head of product management. The GT has targeted improvements over the 570GT in all areas, with the largest gains in comfort and…

1 min
business class deja vu

Lotus dubbed its 2006 Europa ‘Business Class by Lotus’. It was a car that borrowed from the Elise, Exige and VX220, but added a more luxurious and usable twist. There are similarities here, given that the GT brings little that hasn’t been seen on other McLarens. The Europa sold poorly; nobody wanted a softer Lotus. There’s a school of thought that a supercar owner who wants to drive to the Alps will leave the Ferrari at home and take the Range Rover. Will the new McLaren really be versatile enough to change that?…

1 min
why build a gt now?

McLaren sold 4806 cars in 2018, and has a target of approximately 6000 cars annually by 2025 as part of its Track25 business plan. Ian Digman, head of product management, notes that 12,000 cars are currently sold each year in the GT category, making it twice as large as the supercar segment. If McLaren can tap into that niche, sell 1000-2000 units a year of the GT – as one insider suggested McLaren hoped – and do it using parts mostly shared with other McLarens, then the business case certainly stacks up.…

2 min
70 electric vws planned… bentley future in doubt… ev-only brand mulled…

If you thought the VW Group’s plans for 50 new electric vehicles by 2028 were ambitious, how about the tweaked plan: 70 zero-emissions vehicles, with as many as 22 million EVs coming out of Volkswagen’s factories in a busy year? By 2030, 40 per cent of all group products will be electric vehicles. In 30 years, according to the latest thinking, VW will be CO2 neutral in terms of its products and its production. The transition process will require major streamlining. The number of different combustion engines offered will be reduced by as much as 60 per cent, the group’s brands will share three plug-in hybrids, and transmissions are being redesigned to accommodate e-motors. CEO Herbert Diess says: ‘In the long run, we want to scale back the portfolio of conventional…

2 min
look away, colin

THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE A Lotus crossover – or ‘four-door’ – has been in the mix since Jean-Marc Gales’ 2014-18 tenure, and it hasn’t gone away. It’s expected to use a version of Volvo’s SPA2 platform (above), set to see service in the next 60 and 90 cars from 2022. Lotus founder Colin Chapman was rigorous in his pursuit of light weight. At best, this Lotus will be light… for an SUV. HOW HYBRID SHOULD HETHEL GO? The biggest question is the extent to which the Lotus SUV’s powertrain will be electrified. With experience gleaned from the upcoming hypercar, a light PHEV powertrain (like the Volvo XC60 T8, below) could be on the cards, as might something more modest, such as Merc’s EQ Boost. The ‘four-door’ is expected to use a modified Volvo four-cylinder…