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Saturday, 23 May, 2015 - 12:50 (UK)  

..:: The Subaru Impreza Story

1. The Subaru Impreza Story, as told by me
2. The History of the Subaru Impreza
3. Special Editions
4. Image Galleries
5. My 2001 Subaru Impreza WRX - Red Mica


..:: The History of the Subaru Impreza

Subaru is a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries. Which was originally Nakajima Aircraft back in 1917. It's wasn't until 1954 before Fuji Heavy Industries took on the challenge of building a road car. The name of this car was the P-1 (Nothing like the modern Subaru Impreza P1) which stood for Prototype-1. This name was later changed to the Subaru 1500. And here the Subaru was born. The name Subaru Closely translates to reference the star cluster Pleiades, which is the same famous star cluster that we see make up the subaru logo today. over the decades Subaru continued to build motor cars and in 1972 made it's first 4WD car with the Subaru Leone 4WD Station Wagon. From that point onwards Subaru made something for a name for it's self in the 4WD motor car department, almost like a trade mark. Think Subaru, think All Wheel Drive. However it wasn't until 1992 that the Subaru Impreza was born. So let's pick up the story from there.

1992

The Launch of the Subaru Impreza (Japan) The Subaru Impreza was developed after rule changes in the World Rally Championship (WRC) demanded a replacement to the Subaru Legacy which was previously used by Subaru in the WRC. The changes meant that a new smaller, lighter and faster car was required in order to compete in the WRC. So even from day one, the Subaru Impreza was developed for rallying.

1993

The Subaru Impreza reached the UK. Initially the Subaru Impreza was available in both Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and All Wheel Drive (AWD) versions. However the FWD was soon dropped in preference of the trademark Subaru AWD system.

1994

The Turbo Charged Impreza 2000 AWD reached the UK (Known as the Subaru Impreza WRX in Japan). Also in 2004, Subaru Technica International (STI) was born and we started seeing STI versions of the Subaru Impreza Turbo. The Subaru Impreza WRX STI meant much more than an extra badge on the body. The STI stood for a full upgrading of the Subaru Impreza Taking was was learned on the World Rally stages and incorporating developments into the road car. Many areas were upgraded for the Subaru Impreza STI versions. Engine, Suspension and overall performance and handling greatly improved over the standard car. Top speed was limited to 155mph and 0-62 came in at just 4.7seconds for the Impreza STI. These figures made the Subaru Impreza very sought after by the local boy racers. Albeit a bit more expensive than the your every day Peugeot 205 and Vauxhall Nova.

1995

Subaru won the World Rally Championship in a 555 WRC Subaru Impreza driven by fellow Scotsman Colin McRae. A brilliant achievement for both driver and manufacturer. Driver Colin McRae for being the first ever British driver to win the WRC, and Subaru proved that the Impreza was a World Leading rally car. To mark the success of Subaru winning the WRC championship that year, a special edition Subaru Impreza was released in the form of the McRae Series Subaru Impreza.

1996

Subaru took the manufacturer title for a second year in a row, and promptly released another special edition Impreza knows as the Subaru Impreza Catalunya.

1997

Subaru won a hat-trick of manufacturer championships and celebrated once again by releasing a new special edition Impreza. The Subaru Impreza Terzo (Italian for 3rd). Only 333 Subaru Impreza Terzos were made, as a mark of the three championships won with the Subaru Impreza. 1997 also saw a few changes to the Impreza road car. Interior styling was updated including an exclusive MOMO racing steering wheel. Meanwhile STI versions were given an newly designed rear spoiler. In Japan a special 2-door coupe Subaru Impreza was released which was used as the 1998 WRC car.

1998

The Subaru Impreza 22B. A label that often conjures up thoughts of what the ultimate Subaru Impreza might be. The 22B (Note: for the computer geeks out there, 22B in hex converts to 555 in decimal.) provided a 2.2l boxer engine, more hardcore styling all round including 2-doors instead of 4 and an adjustable rear wing made up just some of the key features of the 22B. Only 400 22B's were made in order to celebrate 40 years of Subaru and only 16 of those were destined for the UK. I've seen three in total!! UK versions also had tweaked gearing which was specifically optimised to UK roads. How cool is that!

1999

To celebrate the new driver lineup of Richard Burns in the Subaru World Rally Team, Subaru decided it was once again time for a special edition. This time the RB5 named after Richard Burns. Sadly in November 2003 Richard Burns was diagnosed with a form of brain tumour and later died on the 25th November 2005 from his illness. This makes the RB5 all the more special now. Only 444 RB5's were made, with the option of the WR Sport pack.

1999 Also saw the release of another special edition. The Subaru Impreza P1, which like the Subaru Impreza 22B was a 2-door coupe model, and like the 22B it was only available in WR Blue. However unlike the 22B the Subaru Impreza P1 delivered a 276bhp out of the box, and supporting a whole load of new accessories such as 10-spoke OZ Titanium racing wheels, improved quick-shift gearbox, rear-wiper, new front wing/splitter, new fog lamps and a new exclusive rear wing. Unlike the Impreza 22B there were 1,000 P1's made. Despite this the Subaru Impreza P1 remains one of the most expensive Subaru Impreza's to buy today.

       

2000

For eight years, the Subaru Impreza remained more or less unchanged (externally) until 2000 where Subaru decided to update the Impreza for the 21st century. This change was met with mixed views. The appropriately labeled Bug-eye version by critics, was just that. Bug-eyed! One can only guess it was Subaru's attempt to make the Impreza all cute and cuddly. But this didn't go down well with the fans. Many NewAge impreza's promptly had their headlights replaces with WRC look-alike HI-Definition (HiD) lamps or the more aggressive looking Morette cluster. What was in favour of the fans was the globalisation of the WRX name. Previously only used in Japan, the WRX badge was now stuck to any Impreza with a Turbo!

2001

To celebrate Richard Burns's win in the WRC and the launch of the of the new model, Subaru decided to launch yet another special edition Impreza. This time the Subaru Impreza UK300. Once again just like the 22B and P1 the only colour available was WR Blue. The UK300 supported new prodrive styled spoilers of which the rear wing looked like was picked from bit of an airfix kit and not put together properly. Thankfully the front end was improved slightly, with the addition of improved HiD headlamps which made the car look slightly less like a bug. Yet no matter what they did, it was still going to be remembered as the Bug-Eyed version. 2001 also saw the arrival of the NewAge (Must stop calling it bug-eyed) Subaru Impreza WRX STI to the UK. Just like previous STI's, this was based on the WRX but tweaked a little by the Subaru Technica International (STI) team. If that wasn't enough there was also the option of a Prodrive Performance Pack (PPP). The Subaru Imrpeza WRX STI saw a few key changes over the standard Subaru Impreza WRX. This time, the addition of a 6-speed gearbox as opposed to the WRX 5-speed. Also a nice welcome was similar headlamps which were found on the UK300.

2002

It didn't take long before Subaru had to give in to pressure from fans and go back to the drawing board (literally) to come up with a new style Subaru Impreza. So in 2002, Subaru announced yet another NewAge Impreza. The MY03. Main difference here was the front end. More or less everything else stayed the same, but those bug-eyed headlamps were out and replaced with slightly less ugly ones. Also a bigger bonnet scoop was included. Not to be outdone, the Subaru Impreza WRX power was increased by 10bhp. Not surprisingly many Bug-eyed Subaru Impreza's were made available on the 2nd hand market as many owners wanted to change their driveway accessory for the new style Subaru Impreza.

Although Turbo versions of the Subaru Impreza were available in Japan and Europe from more or less day one. The US favoured their muscle cars and not these Japanese breed of performance cars. Which meant the Subaru Impreza Turbo's never "officially" reached US soil until the 2002 model. Any previous Subaru Impreza's were Imports. Unfortunately for the US market the famous 2.0l boxer engine had to go. The fuel regulations in the US meant that the high performance expected from the Subaru Impreza could not be achieved from the 2.0l engine with US fuel. Instead, the Subaru Impreza was given a nice new 2.5l boxer engine for the US market, in order to keep the power and performance up.

2004

Another Subaru WRC title win with Petter Solberg at the wheel. Once again sticking with tradition a new special edition was released, known as the Subaru Impreza WR1. I must admit the WR1 is one of my personal favourites, if only because of the unique Ice Blue colour. Only 500 WR1's were made, but Subaru decided to throw everything at it, including PPP and Driver Controlled Centre Diff (DCCD). The Subaru Impreza WRX STI also saw further improvements in 2004 with upgraded mechanics from the Japanese models. This new revised STI saw a new front diff, along with the DCCD system which was found on the WR1 and UK300 models. Nice!

2005

Towards the end of 2005. Again just 2 years after the previous model was replaced, Subaru decided to release another new bodied Subaru Impreza, the MY06. This time with new crystal rear light cluster and yet another new front end. The jury is still out about whether or not it is a hit or a miss. I personally think it looks Awesome. Almost as though Subaru have forgotten the last 5 years and gone back to the aggressive styling of the original Subaru Impreza from the 90's! I admit, it did take a few days to get used to, but after you see past the SEAT grill and BMW headlamps you soon realise that this is the sort of car you want other people to see you in, in their rear view mirror. (Admittedly briefly as you scream past them shortly after words :) Sadly the MY06 marked the end for the traditional 2.0l boxer engine. Instead we saw the introduction of the 2.5l boxer engine into the Subaru Impreza. A sad end which seems to have gone relatively unnoticed. But then think of what they can do with that extra 500cubic centimetres of space. Mwaahaahaahaa!...

2006

Towards the end of 2006. Subaru / Prodrive announced the realease of a new Special Edition Impreza. Sadly without recent success in the WRC. This time the special edition was to celebrate the life of previous Subaru WRC Champion Richard Burns who sadly died 12 months previously due to a brain tumour. The New Special Edition Subaru Impreza was to be named the RB320. That's 320bhp and a limited number of 320 to be produced. Essentially the RB320 is a 2006 model Subaru Impeza WRX STi PPP with just abotu ever add on you can think of, along with bespoke prodrive/blitsen dampers, exclusive obsidian black paint work, black alloys and full dront grill set. All in all making the RB320 very exclusive and ver agressive looking with only small markings on the passenger, drivers doors and boot lid of a small orange RB320 logo. The rest of the car is very much black in respect for the late Richard Burns. A true trubite to a great champion!

       

2007

I have yet to come up with a word that describes Subaru in 2007. At the time of writing Subaru had recently announced the drascically redesigned 2008 model of the Subaru Impreza (You can see some photos here) Make your own mind up about what you think of it. My initial thoughts are yuk.. And I have to say my thoughts are still more or less the same. The car does NOT look agressive as it shoudl and just looks like any other family hatchback on the road. a fair pecentage of the Impreza's appeal has always been it's agressive shape and styling. Even teh bugeye version admitedly wasn't welcomed by many had the trademark styling that for every other angle you knew it was an Impreza and more importantly a car to be reckoned with!. This new one doesn't do much for me I'm afraid. Doesn't excite me when I see pictures of it like previous styles. The same recipie is still there usign the same 2.5l boxer engine from teh MY06 models, a new intercooler has been shoved in. Power remains teh same at 225ps for the WRX model, awd as standard of course :). However the tyres are narrower than previous versions. Also it's worth noting that at time of writing there are no plans for a WRX version or saloon version for the UK. Instead we'll have the basic models then a jump up to the STi's I see this as a mistake as the WRX hits a just about affordable market for most peopel who cant afford te £25k price of the STi. However somethign new for the MY08 Impreza will be the introduction of a 170bhp Diesel Impreza. Thats right diesel. Should be interesting...Watch this space...

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Mass-produced Honda fuel-cell cars here by 2020
Japanese manufacturer to bring hydrogen fuel-cell-powered cars to market by the end of the decade

Honda is planning to mass-produce hydrogen fuel cell cars by 2020.

The Japanese car maker?s FCV was revealed at the Geneva motor show in March and was described as a late-stage concept.

?It?s relatively close to the production car,? said Thomas Brachmann, head of powertrain development at Honda. ?We may need to revise some body parts, but it?s very close.?

Brachmann wouldn?t be drawn on how many FCVs the firm intended to produce but said it didn?t want to distribute just 250 to 1000 cars a year.

There are hurdles still to be overcome, such as the infrastructure required to refuel the cars, but Honda believes the technology has its place. ?Norway, for example, was focusing on electric cars two years ago, but now they want something with a longer range,? said Brachmann.

The zero-emissions FCV has a range of about 300 miles and be refuelled in five minutes, but Brachmann estimates that it will be 10 to 15 years before the technology is widely accepted.

?This is likely unless we change the marketing strategy and also society, in which case it might be faster,? he said. ?But we are prepared to have a wide powertrain mix over time until everyone appreciates and accepts fuel cell electric vehicles.?

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Celebrating 40 years of the BMW 3 Series

The 3 Series name first came to market in 1975
The BMW 3 Series saloon celebrates its 40th birthday this month. We study the storied history of the car that turned around the fortunes of its maker

Really, the first BMW 3 Series went on sale in 1966, and had it been called by that name, we?d be celebrating its half-century next year.

The car that set the template for what today remains by far BMW?s most successful and important car was called, according to engine, the 1502, 1602, 1802 or 2002.

It took BMW, which was still recovering from being close to collapse in the 1950s, and set it on the course to becoming the massively respected global player it is today.

It was the 2002 that brought to market a state-of-the-art compact saloon that not only made sense for the family but also appealed to the driver, and it was the 2002 that, with the introduction of the Tii and Turbo, pioneered the concept of the ultra-sporting small BMW saloon.

These, in all but name, were the actual first M cars. History does not recall it as such, but it is the 2002 that was the true hero of this story, but because of a change of naming strategy, it must now prematurely depart the scene.

But not before it had proved the concept and made massively easier the job of designing its successor. It arrived 40 years ago and was known internally as the E21 but to everyone else very simply as the 3 Series.

These cars were all two-door saloons, which sounds like a contradiction in terms these days, but back then that was simply how it was done in that size category.

In mechanical terms, they broke no new ground but were robustly built and engineered and featured an all-new interior with some of the clearest, best-looking instruments ever to be fitted to a road car, elements of whose design can still be found in BMWs today.

The early E21 cars were actually quite clunky, with their four-cylinder, carb-fed motors and limited performance, but they quite quickly got a lot more interesting with the introduction of fuel-injected six-cylinder engines of 2.0-litre and 2.3-litre capacity and the kind of options you just don?t find today, including a limited-slip differential and a close-ratio gearbox.

And the 143bhp 323i needed both, because not only was its engine quite peaky, but its semi-trailing arm rear suspension also made it want to oversteer pretty much everywhere, especially in the wet. It was hugely successful and set BMW thinking that maybe that fast 3 Series idea was a theme worth developing.

By the standards of the day, the E21 didn?t last that long. It was replaced in 1982 by the E30, which was probably the most significant of all 3 Series generations.

Whereas the E21 had been offered as a two-door saloon only (although Baur made convertible versions), closed E30s would in time be offered with two, four and, in Touring form, five doors and the convertible would be brought in- house.

This was the first generation of 3 Series to be fitted with diesel engines and, most significant of all, it was the E30 platform that hosted BMW?s first volume-built M car, the M3 regarded by many to this day as the finest car BMW has ever built.

For those unwilling or unable to go the whole hog, BMW produced other, less powerful yet still superb driving machines on this chassis, including the 325i and still very underrated 318iS, which, with its twin-cam, four-valve 1.8-litre engine, rightly earned the reputation as being an M3 for those who couldn?t afford an M3.

The E30 spent a decade in production and was replaced by the E36 in 1992, a car that will never receive the same plaudits as the E21 or E30 but which was, in fact, probably a finer effort than either. Until then, the 3 Series had always been fun and sufficiently quiet and comfortable to fit into family life, but priorities changed subtly for the E36. 

Although the car remained more dynamic by far than the Mercedes-Benz 190 and the C-Class that would appear during the E36?s lifetime, it also reached a level of sophistication that no previous 3 Series would recognise.

Partly this was due to greater interior space and dramatically improved materials lending the car a new sense of occasion and maturity, but the perhaps bigger yet hidden change was the deletion of semi-trailing arm rear suspension and the adoption of BMW?s multi-link Z axle. True, it meant less oversteer for the drift jockeys, but the seven-league leap in ride quality and stability was of rather greater use.

E36 cars had their detractors, none more so than the M3, which lost its motorsport-focused four-cylinder motor and on-the-limit feel and crispness, but for most people this was not only the best 3 Series yet but also the best small saloon (or coupé, hatch, estate or convertible) in the world.

Which is why the E46 that replaced it in 1998 was entirely evolutionary in approach and, in that respect, the complete antithesis to the clean-sheet design that had been the E36 in 1992. The platform was new but, architecturally, very much informed by that of its predecessor.

No more body configurations were added as BMW focused on optimising the earlier design by improving aerodynamics, reducing weight and increasing torsional rigidity. Few thought the E36 in any need of replacement, so the success of the E46, which was better in all respects that mattered, was assured.

However, it did herald major developments. This was the era in which diesel power went from being a novelty niche performer to a major player and the E46 introduced the 320d, a car capable of close to both 130mph and 50mpg, a combination never seen in a road car before, and the 330d, a diesel car that would hit 62mph in less than 8.0sec and reach more than 140mph, numbers unimaginable for any diesel car just a few years earlier.

This was also the generation in which BMW sought to re-establish the credentials of the M3. Out went the slow-selling saloon version and in came a 3.2-litre motor that hit 8000rpm and developed a stunning 343bhp without a turbo in sight.

There was BMW?s first production SMG paddle-shift transmission (better in theory than practice) and, perhaps most significant of all, the M3 CSL, which dropped 110kg in weight, added a carbonfibre roof, featured stiffer suspension and gained a 16bhp power hike.

Just 1400 were built, although those who missed the boat could get a far more affordable CS that lacked the CSL?s wacky materials and hot engine but retained its steering, brakes and suspension.

By 2005, an entirely new 3 Series was required, but on the basis of not fixing what was clearly not broken, the all-new E90 sought to expand further on the theme of the E36 and E46 without fundamentally changing the formula. The number of bodystyles didn?t change (although the convertible gained a retractable hard-top), but the powertrains offered an ever greater choice of performance and economy options, or blends between the two.

It was the E90 M3 that eschewed the straight six motors of the two previous models for a howling 4.0-litre V8, and it was the E90 that introduced BMW?s most powerful six-cylinder diesel up to that point: the 286bhp 335d, offering as much power from a 3.0-litre diesel as BMW had offered from a 4.4-litre petrol V8 10 years earlier.

And so to the current car, the F30, which in many ways is the most revolutionary 3 Series since the E36. Emissions and economy are now the most important considerations, which is why even a 328i has just four cylinders, sixes being saved for the 335i, 330d, 335d and, of course, the first turbocharged M3, a radical step in its own right.

You can now buy a hybrid 3 Series, a four-wheel-drive 3 Series and a new body shape in the form of the large hatchback 3 Series GT. What you can no longer do, in name at least, is buy a coupé or convertible 3 Series, these now rebadged 4 Series.

The past 40 years have taken the 3 Series on an incredible journey and, en route, provided the bedrock for the success that BMW enjoys today. But although the cars have changed beyond all recognition, the design brief has not.

Then, as now, if you buy a 3 Series, you expect a car that will not only do all the things you require of any everyday compact family car, but also to a standard at least as good as anything else that amount of money will buy. And it will still put a smile on your face, its key USP these past four decades.

While BMW continues to deliver on that promise, it is hard to see the 3 Series doing anything else than continue to be the most coveted car of its kind in the world.

Driving the E30 M3 and F30 320d

Their internal codes may be separated by just one letter, but there?s 30 years between them. In concept, the gulf is perhaps greater still. But that?s precisely what proves the point of those who say the 3 Series was then and is now the greatest car of its kind.

These two are here because, of all the thousands of variants produced over the decades, they are probably our favourites ? one a 30-year-old road-going racing car, the other perhaps the most perfectly evolved daily hack there is.

We?re not here with a view to finding a winner because, four-cylinder engines, rear-wheel drive and propellor badging aside, they have remarkably little in common. Except that when you drive the E30 M3, you?ll probably not be out of the car park before becoming infused with a sense of well-being.

It is, of course, partly because you already know that today is going to be one of the better days and that for balance, steering feel and driver involvement, there remains much to be learned from the original M3, even by its modern equivalents. But so, too, are you aware of being in a car that is supremely fit for the purpose for which it was designed. There?s nothing gimmicky about an original M3, nothing there purely for show. It is a product of minds obsessed with engineering excellence first, second and third.

And you can say exactly the same about the diesel F30 saloon. Now, of course, there are any number of 3 ? or more likely 4 ? Series that can be bought by those more interested in show than go, but while BMW continues to make the staple product, and make it as well as this, we have no problem with that.

A 320d is not flash, but despite all the efforts of Audi and Mercedes over the years, it is the best car in its class, a comment that can be applied to almost all 3 Series for almost all of the 40 years they have been in production, reflecting an ability to stay at the top of its table rivalled perhaps only by the Porsche 911 and Mercedes S-Class.

But although our purpose here is not to compare an E30 M3 with an F30 320d, we can at least use them to shed some light on the progress made in the interim. In 1985, a car designed to homologate a race car made 197bhp from its 2.3-litre engine (86bhp per litre), enough to propel the car to 62mph in 6.7sec and on to 146mph.

In 2015, a car designed to trudge up the motorway has 184bhp from its 2.0-litre diesel engine (92bhp per litre) and will hit 62mph in 7.5sec before reaching the same 146mph. But where the old M3 would do 30mpg at best, the new 320d should do 60mpg with ease.

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New Land Rover Defender 'to be built in Eastern Europe'

The all-new 'indestructible' Defender will be built on JLR's aluminium architecture
Jaguar Land Rover looking at Poland and Hungary as potential sites for a new facility which will produce the next-generation Defender

Jaguar Land Rover is poised to build a new factory in Eastern Europe according to a report in the Financial Times.

However, Autocar can reveal that the plant will build models based on the company?s new aluminium architecture and that the upcoming Defender replacement is the lead candidate for overseas production.

Known internally as ?Project Darwin? and codenamed L663, the new Defender should be the main product line for the new facility. However, if sales of the Range Rover Sport continue to boom and the Jaguar F-Pace crossover is also a sales success, lack of capacity in the UK might mean another model has to be made at the new plant.

Autocar understands that the current thinking among JLR planners is that the Discovery 5 ? codenamed L462 ? could also be made at the new facility.

Sources say JLR bosses have narrowed down the potential factory site to two areas.

The first possibility is near Gyor in Hungary, which would allow the company to take advantage of the supplier base built up by Audi for the local production of both the TT coupe and its four-cylinder engines.

The second possible site is somewhere in Poland, though the sources could not be more specific.

Although the move to build an East European plant might prove controversial, JLR?s three UK plants are already packed to capacity.

The Evoque and Discovery Sport ? both based on JLR's steel D8 platform ? are currently built in the north west at Halewood, which is thought to be operating at maximum capacity.

The Castle Bromwich site will build the new XF and the F-Pace, which are based on the smaller D7a aluminium architecture.

Solihull is building the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and the Jaguar XE. Trying squeeze in both Discovery 5 production as well as the expected third Range Rover model could result in the Discovery 5 being made in Eastern Europe.

This production plan seems to suggest that Range Rover models should be made in the UK, but Land Rover models could be sourced from outside the UK.

JLR also has plans to relieve the pressure on Halewood, according to Autocar sources. The company is considering moving production of some of its steel platform models to the Magna facility in Graz, Austria.

Magna, which has built cars for many companies, including the Countryman for Mini, could potentially build some Discovery Sport models. Sources say Magna might also build a potential baby Jaguar crossover, which would be based on the same platform as the next Range Rover Evoque.

JLR sources privately insist that opening a plant in central or Eastern Europe and moving some production to Austria is not a vote of no-confidence in the UK, but simply a function of the UK plants getting close to capacity and the need to spread its production footprint, following the lead of rivals such as Mercedes and BMW.

JLR already has production in China and is ?strongly considering? opening a plant in Mexico.

News that significant levels of future production will be moved outside the UK by JLR is likely to contribute to the political debate about the upcoming referendum on Britain?s membership of the European Union.

However, spreading production across different continents and currency zones has become standard practice by all global car makers.

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2015 Vauxhall Adam Grand Slam name changed to Adam S
New Vauxhall Adam S gets 148bhp

The production version of the Vauxhall Adam S goes on sale in March
More potent version of Adam supermini drops Grand Slam badge in favour of Adam S to avoid confusion

Vauxhall's direct rival to the Abarth 595 Turismo has changed its name from Adam Grand Slam to Adam S to avoid confusion for its customers. It's on sale now with a starting price of £16,995.

Powering the Adam S is a turbocharged version of the existing 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine, which develops 148bhp and 162lb ft. Vauxhall says the performance Adam can reach 62mph in 8.5sec, with a top speed of 124mph. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.

Official fuel economy is rated at 47.8mpg combined, with CO2 emissions of 139g/km.

Styling changes over the standard Adam include a body kit, tuned chassis, uprated springs and dampers and VXR brakes borrowed from the previous-generation Corsa VXR. The model sits on 18in alloy wheels.

Inside, the Adam S features special floor mats, pedals and door trim. Vauxhall's Intellilink infotainment system features on the options list, as do Recaro seats.

Although weight-saving measures on the Adam S include a cast iron engine block with hollow frame structure, hollow-cast camshafts and a plastic intake manifold, the car's kerb weight is set at 1178kg - 58kg heavier than the Adam 1.4 Slam.

The Adam S was first seen in pre-production form at the Geneva motor show last March, when it was badged as Adam S before its short-lived change to Grand Slam for UK markets.

Vauxhall UK boss Tim Tozer says the Adam S "has been designed for people who want to enjoy a sporty driving experience in a car with a unique and individual look".

The Adam S also rules out any VXR-badged version of the Adam being made.

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Audi Q8 and electric Q6 confirmed as part of new product push

Audi has shown a teaser image of the Q6 at its annual press conference
Audi boss Rupert Stadler confirms range-topping Q8 will launch in 2019, and will be preceded by the electric Q6 in 2018

Audi has confirmed a new electric SUV, likely to be badged Q6, will join its growing line-up of SUV models in 2018, with a larger, range-topping Q8 model to follow in 2019.

Speaking at the firm's annual conference, Audi boss Rupert Stadler said the company's range would expand from its current line-up of 52 models to 60 by the end of the decade. As well as the Q6 and Q8, Audi's SUV range will also be bolstered by the arrival of the Q1 in 2016.

Alongside its extra models, Audi will also benefit from an extra ?24 billion worth of investment, to be spent between 2015 and 2019. Audi says 70% of that investment will be put into developing new models and technologies.

Audi's new Q6 is based on the same basic MLB platform as the Q7, but it is built around a battery pack which could be as large as 100kWh - bigger than the 90kWh battery in the new R8 e-tron.

The R8 e-tron has a predicted range of 280 miles, so the bluffer and less aerodynamic Q6 is expected to have a range of at least 250 miles on a full charge.

Speaking to Autocar, Stadler said that regulations in eight US states requiring 15% of new cars to be electric by 2025 have ensured that premium car makers will have to "build a range of all-electric vehicles".

As Tesla established, it is customers at the top of the market who are most in tune with the idea of limited-range electric vehicles. Premium priced electric vehicles also make more sense for car makers, which need to accommodate costly battery packs in the factory cost of the car.

Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi?s research and development boss, told the annual press conference in 2014 that the Q6 was currently under development and that the final styling would take much from the Prologue concept car. The new A6, A7 and A8 models will also share design traits with the Prologue.

He added that MLB platform had been designed from the outset to be flexible enough to accommodate a battery pack as well as plug-in hybrid and gas tanks for natural gas power.

Hackenberg also revealed that the next generation Audi A4, which is based on the smallest version of the MLB platform and due to be seen later this year, will also come as a gas-powered version, dubbed the g-tron.

The crossover Q6 SUV will challenge the likes of the BMW X6, Range Rover Sport and the Mercedes-Benz GLE. It is also aimed directly at the upcoming Tesla Model X SUV, which is due to be launched later this year. Like the Tesla, the Q6 e-tron will have electric motors driving the front and rear wheels.

"When the Q6 arrives," said Hackenberg. "It will be something new, following designs established on the Prologue concept [revealed at the LA show]. It will be positioned as something more emotional and more sporty than the Q7. The Q7 will be a car for seven people, the Q6 will be more coupé-like."

The Q7 will be one of the last Audis with the current design language. Hackenberg said he and new chief designer Marc Lichte arrived at the firm too late from Volkswagen to influence the look. To that end, the Q8 will have some visual differentation to the Q7 both inside and out. 

Audi Q8 to follow electric Q6

The upmarket Q8 forms a crucial part of Audi?s growth strategy that will see it extend its line-up.

?We see a great deal of potential, particularly in the SUV segment and in the especially prestigious full-size category,? said Stadler earlier this year. 

The Q8 has been conceived to extend Audi?s reach at the top of its line-up and to provide the company with added sales in potentially crucial markets such as China, the Middle East and the United States.

In terms of performance and technology, the Q8 is described as being on a par with Audi?s A8 flagship saloon, albeit with the added ability to head off-road thanks to its raised ride height and, on top-end models, adjustable air suspension. 

Ingolstadt?s big new SUV, which will have an overall length of more than five metres, has a projected price range of between £50,000 for an entry-level turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol model and £90,000 for a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 RS Q8 flagship.

A range of V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines will be offered, alongside plug-in hybrids and an electric version. 

The Q8 is set to receive its own, unique five-door body styled under the stewardship of Marc Lichte. Among the various elements expected to set it apart from the more practical second-generation Q7 is a racier front end with a more sporting grille, more obvious tapering around each corner, shallower side glass, a generously sloping roofline and a more heavily angled rear window. Unlike the traditional, bluff off-roader styling employed by the Q7, the Q8 will be much sleeker.

The five-door hatchback Q8 will have a higher waistline, lower roofline and shallower side windows than its Q7 sister model and will be available in both five and seven-seat configurations.

The basis for the Q8 is the second-generation MLB (modular longitudinal architecture) platform. The structure forms part of a family of platforms, the development of which is being led by Audi. It is set to underpin a wide range of upmarket SUVs, including the new Q7, the third-generation Porsche Cayenne, the third-gen Volkswagen Touareg and the Bentley Bentayga.

The Q8 and Bentley will be the plushest and most premium of the SUVs, but Stadler believes the pair won?t clash, as ?Bentley can?t fill the gap? of less than £100,000 into which the range-topping Q8 will be pitched. 

Insiders say the MLB structure has far greater flexibility than that used today, with added scope for variability within the wheelbase and track widths in a move that, it is suggested, will lead to a wider differentiation between the models planned by the Volkswagen Group?s various brands.  

The key development, however, is the adoption of aluminium, thinner-gauge high-strength steel and carbonfibre-reinforced plastic, which together promise to bring a significant reduction in weight of up to 300kg in the Q7 and a kerb weight below 2000kg for the base Q8. 

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