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CAR UK May 2020

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 day I passed my driving test: 10 October 1995. The weather was like a fine June day that got lost and turned up late. Alone at the wheel for the first time, I headed to the nearest long stretch of straight road and ‘un-corked’ mum’s Mk2 1.3 Golf (four-speed manual, 16.7sec 0-62mph…). That metallic blue VW and I flew, windows down, Sweet Child O’ Mine loud. The sense of peace and wellbeing was profound. The day I picked up my first car, with my dad. He’d tried to surprise me one Christmas morning with a Rover Metro. Fortunately for everyone concerned (except the seller), the immobiliser went on the blink, forcing a delay. Dad was gutted, but it bought me time: time to save him some money and bag me…

5 min
making mercedes great again

Being ‘too big to fail’ is a myth of the modern corporate world. No one is safe from drastic changes to public sentiment, buying habits and supply issues. The Stuttgart behemoth that is Mercedes-Benz is looking wobbly at present, as years of unnecessary spending and a lack of clear-cut preparedness for the EV future are starting to hit home. But 2020 is the year one of the biggest names in the premium car market pulls up its socks and gets real, with a vision to return itself to the glory years of the ’70s and ’80s – decades in which it built cars that lasted for generations and stood clear of the pack when it came to luxury and innovation. The updated E-Class is an auspicious start; the mid-size exec looks cleaner…

1 min
the cars that built the first golden age

W114/W115, 1968-’76 The pretty W114/W115, designed by Paul Bracq, was the first all-new post-war Merc saloon and Stuttgart’s answer to BMW’s Neue Klasse cars. Well-built? Mercedes’ museum has a ’76 car showing 4.6m kilometres (2.85m miles). When Merc The replaced the W114/W115 (having shifted 1,919,056 units) German cabbies insisted production continued alongside the new car. R107 SL, 1971-’89 If peak SL was Bracq’s second-gen Pagoda, the R107 was arguably the more important car – the masterpiece that helped Merc go mainstream. It shared the saloons’ epic build quality but added desirability and versatility – the R107 met with success both as a fashion icon and a competition car. Nearly a quarter of a million were sold in two decades on sale. W123, 1976-’86 Functional, expensive and the very essence of automotive respectability, the W123 is…

2 min
the virus will hit some harder than others… wild ideas for high-end bmws…

As with the human cost, so the business implications of the coronavirus pandemic will be much harder on some than others. Don’t be surprised, for instance, if cash-rich Geely takes this opportunity to splash out €2.4bn on getting a further 10 per cent stake in Daimler, which could significantly increase its influence on the German giant’s decision making. Or the Quandt and Klatten families may take advantage of a 45 per cent drop in the share price of BMW, the company they control, and buy back more of their own stock. The virus has come at a terrible time for VW, which has barely got going with Golf Mk8 production, while the electric ID 3 has been held up by software glitches. The electric SUV from Mercedes, the EQC, has been…

2 min
project ‘rockstar’: the punchiest m car yet

Factfile POWERTR AIN 4395cc V8 plus e-motors, 750bhp, all-wheel drive CHASSIS Aluminium/steel monocoque DUE 2022 1 ROCKING AND ROLLING At this point, BMW’s M division is still a completely electric-free environment. But, in the short-to mid-term, ‘power PHEVs’ are the answer. The X8 M, known as Project Rockstar, is the exciting cream-of-the-crop neo-SUV. It’s a cross between the X6 M and M5 Competition; expect on-demand rear-wheel drive. 2 POWER APLENTY The M team are putting together a dedicated high-performance crossover that will, in its most extreme hybrid form, unleash 750bhp. What makes all the difference here is, of course, a 200bhp e-motor supporting the V8. Together they make 737lb ft of torque; enough for random burn-outs and wild slides. 3 THE iNEXT GENERATION Fifth-gen electric motor technology derived from the iNext SUV, which will go on sale in 2021, is expected to…

3 min
defending the 500 ev

Dwindling sales of the 500L and Tipo, together with the withdrawal from sale of the 124 Spider, could be seen as indicators of tough times at Fiat. Not so, says Fiat global CEO (and FCA marketing chief) Olivier François. Here he tackles four myths about the new electric 500 and what it says about Fiat’s plans for the next decade. THE CHARGE: THE ELECTRIC 500 IS HALF-BAKED THE DEFENCE: ‘The new electric 500 is a revolution, not an evolution,’ insists François. ‘We consider it a pocket-sized Tesla. This is thanks to the fact that this is not a plan B; a platform that we tweaked. It’s all new. With this all-new platform comes a new electric architecture that also enables Level 2 autonomous driving – a true first in the city-car segment.’ THE…