Renault Megane RS comes again, with feeling

1. The Megane RS comes again, with feeling

This is the very welcome Trophy version of the Megane RS. Power climbs to 296bhp and torque to 320lb ft should you opt for the twin-clutch gearbox (295lb ft on manuals). That’s a useful increase, courtesy of a new exhaust and a trick new turbo running ceramic bearings.

2. Chassis upgrades to suit?

People Are More Into Cars In The UK Than Anywhere Else

The CAR Inquisition: VW’s R boss

Dakar winner, former F1 team boss and now the man in charge of VW’s R division, Jost Capito won’t let the old-school hot hatch disappear without a fight

THE SMALL PRINT of Jost Capito’s CV is enough to bring any petrolhead out in a sweat. He didn’t just work at BMW – he was in the high-performance engine development team from 1985. That same year, he didn’t just take part in the Dakar rally – he was in the winning truck crew. His first job within the VW Group was in Porsche’s racing division. After a stint at Sauber he moved to Ford – and there he helped bring to fruition the first Focus RS, no less.

F1 Teenagers, from Amon to Norris

F1: who is the youngest of them all?

Promising embryo Lando Norris is young. But he’s not the youngest F1 pilot ever…

IN THE DAYS BEFORE forensic data analysis and NASA-spec simulators, drivers needed time-tempered experience to be fast in F1. Technology is making it possible to get quicker faster, but as this countdown shows, the presence of teenage drivers in F1 isn’t a 21st-century phenomenon.

Renault does a Bentley

‘Design is not dead’

Renault’s latest concept seeks to prove that, in a future of identikit driverless ridesharing blobs, there is still hope for privacy, luxury and beauty. By Ben Miller

WE WERE ANNOYED by this notion that we’re all going be riding around in white boxes,’ smiles Renault senior design VP Laurens van den Acker.

‘I’m not saying we won’t – for most of us, 90 percent of the time, that will be the reality – but we won’t only be doing that. I like to think there is hope for design, even in this new world. Who wouldn’t want to be driven in this? Tell me this is a white box!’ There’s nothing like a deadline to set minds racing and change in motion.

Old-School, Rear-Drive Quick Group Test F-Type et al

The simple things

Hybrid? Self-driving? Nah. While the rest of the world powers ahead at full steam, Jake Groves and these four revel in ravishing, rear-drive, petrol-guzzling retro

NISSAN 370Z

A face only a mother could love?
Hardly; it’s growing old gracefully. The Z’s a modern performance car icon complete with wide, low stance and half a century of heritage.

Lexus UX250h, What The UX?

The hardware’s new but it’s put to familiar use in another slightly odd Lexus SUV. By Keith Jones

FEW CARS HAVE such a zeitgeisty moniker as the Lexus UX, the Japanese luxury marque’s most compact of SUVs. Think not of ‘user experience’ but of ‘urban crossover’. It’s one size smaller than the RX, and is clearly angling for a piece of the BMW X1/ Volvo XC40 action, although it’s so lacking in height and the usual crossover ruggedness that if Lexus wanted to talk about it as a hatchback few would quibble. Like the Mercedes GLA and Infiniti QX30, it’s right on the border.

Audi Q3 Searching for The Elusive Fun Mode

Every box ticked but one

Nobody makes classy, practical SUVs like Audi – and nobody is so reluctant to engineer in some driving pleasure. By Jake Groves

IT ALL STARTS off pretty well with Audi’s new Q3. First impressions are great – it’s a handsome car that updates the previous Q3 to bring it in line with Audi’s latest family look. Minor details like the blocky scrolling indicators and the fact you can spec the same alloys as the RS6 Performance are cool. But ultimately it’s far from striking or ground-breaking, just very nicely done – no more, no less.

Suzuki Jimny Not Just a Pretty Face

Suzuki Jimny Trumpton Riot Wagon

Cute but tough, old-school but new, fun but infuriating… at least there’s nothing dull about Suzuki’s reborn icon. By Gareth Evans

THERE’S A HIGHLY evolved enthusiast scene for the previous-gen Jimny – a car that went on sale two decades ago and to this day remains in a class of one: a tiny, ladder-frame 4x4 with proper off-roading talent, at the expense of on-road manners.

The Next Big Things: Why AI Changes Everything?


Merc R&D chief Ola Källenius on why artificial intelligence doesn’t mean the robots taking over

> IN MY job, you tend to be a technology optimist by definition. On the cusp of this knowledge society, supported by AI, job profiles will change and companies and individuals alike will have to adapt.

> IF WE keep that mindset, I believe there will be an explosion of new areas to be explored within the realms of technological possibility.

Does It Work? Ferrari Drift Control

Ferrari’s Dynamic Enhancer

FERRARI’S LATEST handling tool is about intentional and unintentional loss of traction – supporting plenty of the former, to make your driving way more fun, without letting it progress into the latter. Or, in layman’s terms, a crash.

Ferrari has used extremely clever traction control systems for years, with Side Slip Control having found a home in some of Maranello’s most extreme cars since the 458 Speciale, followed by sideways superstars including the 488 GTB, F12 tdf and now the 488 Pista.

VW Reveals Its EV Hardware

Countdown to the big plug-in: just one year to go

With its all-electric ID range set to be revealed before the end of 2019, VW reveals the hardware that will underpin 10 million cars. By Ian Adcock

THE ELECTRIC ID brand is as significant to VW as the Beetle was in 1945 and the original Golf in 1974. In their different ways, they transformed the company. Can ID do the same at a time when VW is still being buffeted by the aftershocks of Dieselgate?

The next big things  Formula 1-inspired car makers

Business secretary Greg Clark on the need for Britain’s car industry to put the D back into R&D

> ANTICIPATING THE future is fraught with difficulties. Faced with all of the technological possibilities, you need to prepare for it, to make sure you make the right decisions now in order to succeed in the years ahead. That’s why the automotive sector features prominently in the industrial strategy we launched just before Christmas.

> WE’RE PROUD of the achievements of the sector. It’s a sector that employs over 400,000 men and women in this country, providing not only good jobs

Everyone Needs a Place Outside Their Normal, a Way to Unplug; The Garage As a Sanctuary

By Sam Smith, The Gear Head

WAR IS HELL, as the man said. More so if the main weapon is a garage full of rump-logs. I have been engaged of late in a furious and titanic battle with my dog. When no one is looking, she sneaks into the garage, hides behind a car, and poops.

I am afflicted with several vehicles. Most are slightly tatty, because owning and using good cars on a writer’s budget often involves tattiness.
The only nice machine in the stable is a 2001 Acura, an Integra Type R. Unmodified, original paint, tight and clean, no rust. Not coincidentally, the Acura is the only car I own that lives at home, under a roof, behind a locked door. One of the best front-drivers in history. I like it. Its presence is calming. This is almost certainly why the dog dumps at it.

Those Who Drive Pickups With Crew Cabs Are 6% Less Likely to Vote for Obama Than Those Who Do Not

By Mark Walton, The Incurable Enthusiast

I OWN A Subaru, but would I consider myself a ‘Subaru Man’? Not sure. To be honest, playing the word association game, ‘Subaru Man’ makes me think of lads in modified Imprezas, gold wheels, big exhausts, enough bass to set off a burglar alarm. I drive a battered Forester diesel and listen to Radio 4.

I also own two classic Land Rovers, but does that make me ‘Land Rover Man’? Oh God, I hope not – ‘Land Rover Man’ drives a Series III covered in checkerplate, he wears camo and is an active participant in his local 4x4 club, along with his long-suffering wife, Barbara.

When Self-Driving Cars Rule, The Potential for Surveillance Jumps to a Whole New Level

By Gavin Green, The Voice of Experience

HE ISRAELI ACADEMIC Yuval Noah Harari, author of the beautifully written and scholarly Sapiens, has a new book. Rather than breezing us through the history of our species, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century warns about tomorrow. In particular, the threat of misusing personal data, algorithms and AI.

Our data that we casually hand over, says Harari, is as bad a bargain for us today as the exchange of land for beads was for African tribes in the past. Yet every time we use Facebook, Google or any of the other data gatherers, we ‘sell’ (for free email access, funny videos or easy messaging) information gold.

What a Terrible Mistake That Car Wasn’t. $300 for a Bronze 1984 BMW 318i. Lord, I Miss It


By Sam Smith, The Gearhead

THE BEST WORST car I ever owned died a horrible death twice. The interior smelled like a cross between elephant and old grandmother house. The middle of the left door, maybe six inches up from the sill, held a rust spot the size of a football but still managed to be one of the nicest panels on the car. The silencer hangers and clamps were so rusty that the exhaust fell off weekly. Paint flaked off in chunks. For the entire time I owned this buttbeast – roughly a year, start to finish – I did not have a girlfriend, which is far from coincidence. No other vehicle in my personal history has been as laughably ugly or as structurally unsound.

Inside Prodrive, Life After The Impreza WRC Glory Days

WE LOOK AT THINGS DIFFERENTLY

Synonymous with race and rally glory, Prodrive’s evolving into a go-to powerhouse for everything from hybrid vans to carbon bicycles

SUBARU IS PRODRIVE’S hit single, the word you’d blurt out if someone said ‘Prodrive’ in a word-association game. You’ll probably know there’s a richer tapestry than the McRae, Burns and Solberg WRC championships: that the business was founded in 1984 by David Richards (who still runs the show), that the 911 SC RS, its first ever rally car, kick-started the Rothmans-Porsche relationship, that Prodrive took Frank Sytner to BTCC glory in a BMW M3, won with the Ford Mondeo in the Super Touring days too. Today, Prodrive runs Aston Martin’s GT racing team, winning GTE Pro at Le Mans 2017.

Sports Car Giant Test 2018, Porsche, McLaren, Ferrari, Alpine, M2, Aston

Porsche 911 GT2 RS vs McLaren Senna vs Ferrari Pista vs Alpine A110 vs BMW M2 Competition vs Aston Vantage

From Svelte Alpine to Ballistic McLaren, 2018 Is a Vintage Year for Going Fast. Time to Find The Best Among The Merely Brilliant

NO HOT HATCHES, no super saloons, and definitely no SUVs. That’s the mantra for CAR’s 2018 Sports Car Giant Test, because as talented as the Ford Fiesta ST or Lamborghini Urus might be, when faced with a proper performance car their compromises just won’t cut it.

Instead, we’ve whittled this year’s most talented newcomers down to just six absolute standouts.

The New Porsche 911, The Ever Changing Constant

We drive 2019’s 992 and reveal what makes it tick

The new 992 version of the ever-evolving 911 promises high-tech hooliganism like never before. It's almost here – and we've had an early drive

AND STRAIGHT DOWN to business. There’s virtually no familiarisation required before you drive the new 911. It may be the most technically advanced version yet, designed with one eye on a likely future hybrid, but the 992 generation is very much the car we’ve known and loved for decades now. It looks like a 911, feels like a 911 – and drives like a sensationally good 911.

Similar on the outside, very diferent inside

Seven generations in, BMW has finally created the first perfect 3-series. In fact, after a sneak first drive, we suspect it might be too good...

ON THE FACE of it, it’s just a compact saloon. And traditionally a pretty expensive one at that. But, by dusting its practicality with a little race-bred rear-wheel-drive dynamic magic, BMW’s 3-series has always added up to more than the sum of its parts. Practical yet perky, versatile but keen to oversteer, the 3’s been making late-night airport runs and early morning commutes fun since 1975.

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