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Wednesday, 1 April, 2015 - 11:35 (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.

       
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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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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLE revealed in New York

The GLE was formerly known as the M-Class
Former M-Class receives a new name and a host of upgrades, plus a new petrol-electric plug-in hybrid joins the mix

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE has been revealed at the New York motor show.

The new SUV - formerly known as the M-Class - will go on sale in September, competing in the same crowded market as other top-end SUVs including the Range Rover Sport, Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5.

Alongside revised styling and new equipment, the GLE also ushers in a new era of hybrid SUVs for Mercedes-Benz.

The new GLE adopts many of the same styling cues as seen on the smaller GLE Coupé, revealed at the Los Angeles motor show last year, including the new Mercedes family front-end styling. The GLE gets a more boxy appearance than that of its stylised sibling, however, and includes roof rails and dual exhausts integrated into the rear bumper. LED lights feature front and rear.

Engine options include a 201bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel in the GLE 250d, which Mercedes says returns up to 52.3mpg along with CO2 emissions of 140g/km.

Also available is the GLE 350d, which is powered by is a 254bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine. Producing 457lb ft of torque, the unit returns up to 44.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 169g/km. Mercedes says that across the range, fuel consumption and C02 emissions have improved by 17%.

Perhaps most significant is the new GLE500e 4Matic. Described as the first plug-in hybrid SUV in Mercedes-Benz's history, the GLE500e 4Matic features a 328bhp, 354lb ft 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine working in conjunction with a single electric motor, which produces an extra 114bhp.

The hybrid GLE produces 436bhp and 479lb ft combined, and can travel for around 18 miles on electric power alone at speeds of up to 80mph. Mercedes says the model can return up to 85.6mpg with CO2 emissions of 78g/km. Drive is sent to all four wheels through a transmission which is based on the older 7G-Tronic unit. All diesel GLE models, meanwhile, will come with Mercedes? nine-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Drivers can swap between four different driving modes in the GLE hybrid. E-Mode offers all-electric driving, while E-Save preserves the current state of charge. Charge mode focuses on topping up the battery, while Hybrid mode provides the best overall balance between the engine and the electric motor.

The GLE hybrid can be charged either from a wall-mounted box charger or from a conventional power output. Charging from a wall box takes around two hours. The launch of the hybrid will help Mercedes to stay competitive against the likes of Porsche's Cayenne S E-hybrid and the Range Rover Hybrid.

Inside, Mercedes has given the GLE the same 7.0in free-standing infotainment screen already in use across its range. Also featuring is the firm?s touch-sensitive controller, mounted on the centre console.

While the GLE?s cabin will be familiar to current Mercedes-Benz owners, the company says there?s a wider choice of interior colours and trim materials, which include wood and carbonfibre.

The optional AMG Line specification grants extra interior luxury, including Artico leather upholstery and a new leather multifunction sports steering wheel, while exterior modifications include reprofiled front and rear bumpers and large 20in alloys.

Other options include Mercedes? Airmatic suspension and the AMG Ride Control system, as well as numerous technology upgrade packages.

Also on display in New York is the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S, which produces 577bhp from its 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, along with 561lb ft. Mercedes says the high-performance SUV can reach 62mph in 4.2sec and has a limited top speed of 155mph. Fuel consumption is rated at just 23.9mpg, with CO2 emissions of 278g/km.

Those performance figures mean the GLE63 S compares well with its chief rivals, BMW?s X5M and X6M, which each get 564bhp from their twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre petrol engines.

Unique styling features on the GLE63 S include a modified front bumper and grille, 20in AMG alloy wheels - although optional 21-inch units are also available - and chromed exhausts at the rear.

Formerly a best-selling model for Mercedes, the brand will have high hopes for the GLE in what has become a highly profitable market.

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Cropley on cars - Discovery Sport is a mixed bag, 570S is McLaren's triumph

The Discovery Sport will get the option of JLR's Ingenium engines before the end of the year
Driving a Land Rover Discovery Sport to the coast; Clarkson will be missed; Classic cars can turn a profit

MONDAY - Needed a conveyance for a quick sprint to the south coast, so I clambered into a handy new Land Rover Discovery Sport ? the one powered by what people have been inclined to call ?the old engine?.

The 2.2-litre Ford-PSA diesel may be getting long in the tooth but it was as good as ever: flexible, quiet, long-legged and torquey.

Its main disadvantage is that it will probably turn out to be thirstier than Jaguar Land Rover?s new Ingenium engines, which will go into the Discovery Sport before the year?s end.

But given that I returned to the office after 120 miles with 40mpg showing on the trip computer, I don?t believe the practical advantage will change the world. The new engine will help company car sales, of course, but the old one looks like being a bit of a star on the secondhand market.

The rest of the car? Its steering and handling are terrific ? miles better than the Freelander ever was and better even than the much pricier Range Rover Sport I?ve been driving. Biggest fault I could find was a knobbly low-speed ride ? partly attributable, possibly, to the 19in wheels ? but it?s excusable in my mind because the handling?s so great.

This may be the everyman Landie, but I reckon its chassis is the most sophisticated yet. 

TUESDAY - As a former McLaren ?owner? ? remember our 12C long-termer a couple of summers ago? ? can I just say how much I approve of the new 570S, first of the marque?s new entry-level Sports Series? When it was first announced that there would be three tiers of McLarens using the same twin-turbocharged V8 engine and carbonfibre tub, I couldn?t see how the range could offer enough variety. Now it looks far more plausible.

Having said that, even if I were in the P1 bracket, I reckon I?d still choose the new £145k 570S from all of them because, to my eye, it?s the nicest car yet. But then, people always make such remarks when they don?t know what it feels like to be rich.

WEDNESDAY - Jeremy Clarkson is a goner from Top Gear, which, I must say, strikes me as an enormous shame.

For days after the announcement, Tweetosphere was chock-a-block with HR-minded experts insisting that anyone who dots a colleague in the workplace deserves the bullet, and he probably does, but I still see Clarkie?s demise as a matter of tremendous regret. I hope that he turns up somewhere prominent and appropriate to his talents.

THURSDAY - Woke up last night after dreaming that the all-rust, barn-find Porsche 356 sold by Bonhams at Goodwood for a staggering £32,200 had fallen in half as it was loaded onto a trailer.

It was listed in the catalogue at £10,000 to £15,000, with no reserve, but occasion-crazed buyers bid it into the stratosphere. Strikes me that classic car prices are getting as stupid as they were in the early 1990s, when you could buy a Ferrari out of The Sunday Times at the weekend and turn a profit on it a month later.

Modern cars like the Volkwagen Golf R, deemed to be pricey by some, have never looked better value.

FRIDAY - A drive in What Car??s three-door Vauxhall Corsa makes me especially pleased about GM Europe?s decision to keep this bodystyle for its supermini, when so many others are making five-doors only. It?s a 1.0-litre three-cylinder example, and your eye reads it as a sophisticated little coupé. The three-pot engine hasn?t reviewed quite as well as Ford?s 1.0-litre triple, but it?s a long, long way ahead of the four-cylinder engines that used to power cars like this ? to the extent that anything in the patch with a four now operates at a disadvantage.

Lightweight Porsche Boxster Spyder is most powerful version yet

New Porsche Boxster Spyder is the most hardcore version made yet
Lightweight 370bhp Boxster Spyder is the most powerful version of the open-top sports car yet

The new Porsche Boxster Spyder has been revealed at the New York motor show, and is the lightest and most powerful version of the car yet created.

The Boxster Spyder joins the range above the GTS and is priced from £60,459. It is available to order now and will reach UK showrooms in July.

Powering the new convertible sports car is a 370bhp 3.8-litre flat six engine sourced from the 911. This normally aspirated unit is a significant upgrade on the 325bhp 3.4-litre flat six found in the current range-topping Boxster GTS.

The 3.8 engine, which has 309lb ft of torque between 4750rpm and 6000rpm, is hooked up exclusively to a six-speed manual gearbox in keeping with the car's purist brief.

The powerful engine, in combination with a weight saving of 105kg over the 1420kg Boxster GTS, allows the Spyder to sprint from 0-62mph in 4.5sec and reach a top speed of 180mph. In comparison, the Boxster GTS has a 0-62mph time of 5.0sec and a top speed of 175mph.

Unlike its recently launched Cayman GT4 stablemate, the Boxster Spyder has not been created by the GT road car division of Porsche?s Motorsport arm and uses no motorsport parts. However, the model has been created in full consultation with the GT division.

Although the car eschews motorsport parts, it does feature a host of significant mechanical upgrades over the Boxster GTS on which it is based.

The upgraded brakes have been sourced from the 911 Carrera and a firm-riding sports suspension system has been fitted, with the ride height lowered by 20mm. The standard equipment does without items such as sat-nav and air-con to further reduce weight. However, these are available as no-cost options and a full range of infotainment options are still offered.

As for the styling, the Boxster Spyder?s most notable feature is its new roof. As with the previous-generation Spyder, the lightweight fabric roof is opened and closed by hand, although it is released electrically (as is the rear deck) to make the process more user-friendly than before.

There are also nods to the 718 Spyder from the 1960s in the styling, including the streamlined bulges on the rear lid that extend from the headrests of the two-seat interior. Fins that extend to the rear of the car also give it a classic silhouette. The front and rear-end designs of the car are borrowed from the Cayman GT4.

Inside, new lightweight sports seats are fitted with large side bolsters. There is also a new steering wheel, designed to ensure that the Boxster Spyder can be driven ?precisely and with great agility?, according to Porsche.

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Cadillac CT6 revealed at the New York motor show
The Cadillac CT6 is expected to reach the UK early in 2016

The Cadillac CT6 is expected to reach the UK early in 2016
Mercedes-Benz S-Class rival comes with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6, and will be crucial in rebuilding the brand

The flagship Cadillac CT6, a rival to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, has been revealed at the New York motor show.

The lightweight luxury saloon is one of eight new cars that Cadillac is launching by the end of 2020 as part of a $12 billion (£8bn) investment, and it?s expected to reach the UK and Europe in early 2016.

The S-Class rival is powered by three petrol engines at launch: a turbocharged 2.0-litre in-line four, a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 and a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 with 400lb ft. The engines are said to produce around 266bhp, 335bhp and 400bhp respectively, and are paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

A plug-in hybrid variant and a twin-turbo V8 will join the engine range further down the line, Cadillac confirmed to Autocar.

Measuring 5184mm long, 1879mm wide and 1472mm high with a wheelbase of 3106mm and an estimated kerb weight of less than 1700kg, the CT6 comes with a choice of 18in, 19in or 20in alloys.

The 2.0-litre model is rear-wheel drive, while the two V6 powerplants are mated to an Active Chassis System as standard that includes an all-wheel drive system and Magnetic Ride Control that adjusts each wheel?s suspension damping individually to improve the ride. It has double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, and the driver will have a choice of three different drive modes: Tour, Snow/Ice and Sport.

According to the manufacturer, the CT6 is structurally lighter and stiffer than the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 thanks to its aluminum exterior body panells. It is also said to offer ?bank vault? levels of quietness.

The cabin in the premium saloon utilises a combination of ?luxurious leathers, exotic woods, and carbonfibre?, and the dashboard features a large high-resolution touchscreen. There are also screens in the back of the front two seats for rear-passenger entertainment.

The interior is clad in Opus leather and includes heated seats with five massaging functions. The reclining seats in the rear are electrically adjustable and have media controls on the armrest that feature HDMI and USB ports. Wireless phone charging will also be available, and the CT6 offers ?segment-best? interior storage, including a 2.2-litre capacity in the centre console.

Cadillac says the CT6 has an ?industry-first? 360deg camera view around the car that will be able to record front and rear views while driving, while full 360deg recording is offered if the security system is activated.

Among the technology systems offered are Advanced Park Assist, which parks the car automatically, and new safety features including Night Vision, which helps identity objects through heat signatures on the infotainment system, and a Pedestrian Collision Mitigation feature that detects pedestrians and uses autonomous braking to avoid collisions.

There?s no word on pricing yet, but it?ll be up against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is priced from £67,000 to £180,000.

Described by Cadillac boss Johan de Nysschen as ?a technological masterpiece?, the CT6 is expected to take a central role in the rebuilding of the brand globally as it moves to break free of predominantly US sales and crack the Asian and European markets.

?As is traditional for a luxury brand, we?ll lead from the top,? said de Nysschen. ?We have until 2020 to get our product offering in shape for a European launch, and that means starting at the top and building credibility and establishing a reputation for cutting-edge technology.?

In an interview with Jalopnik, de Nysschen confirmed that the CT6 would also be sold with a plug-in hybrid variant and a twin-turbo V8. Although no power output has been revealed for either of those engines, the V8 would most likely take centre stage in Cadillac?s V-badged range of performance models, which are designed to rival equivalent cars from Mercedes-AMG, BMW M division and Audi's Quattro GmbH.

In addition, de Nysschen has targeted the creation of a wider SUV and crossover line-up, topped by the Escalade, and the creation of an Audi A3 and Mercedes CLA-rivalling saloon. The latter model would be rear-wheel drive, he confirmed.

?Cadillac has got to be bold and expressive,? said de Nysschen. ?Owning a Cadillac should be a symbol of arrival, but without being brash or ostentatious. In the past we have been quite formal in that expression, but in future we can be a bit more casual in our expression.?

Although Cadillac has only 46 dealers in Europe at present, de Nysschen also hoped technology and a new approach could help the firm establish European sales without having to undertake investment in a full network. ?We are investigating if there is room for us to have just a few flagship stores and then take cars to prospective customers, and let them test them and transact with us in their own homes,? he said. ?Then we could collect the cars for servicing and make use of the existing GM dealership infrastructure.?

Having previously worked at Audi and Infiniti, de Nysschen suggested establishing Cadillac as a global premium brand could take more than 20 years, but he added that the brand?s 112-year history, strong home market and understanding of European tastes should stand it in good stead.

?We respect all competitors, but Europe requires heritage and an understanding of driving dynamics,? he said. ?In that respect, Cadillac has an advantage over its Japanese competitors.?

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2015 Jaguar XF revealed - full pictures and details

The new Jaguar XF will receive its public debut at the New York motor show next week
Jaguar's high-tech new executive saloon will receive its public debut in New York next week, and will go on sale towards the end of the year

The new Jaguar XF will be priced from £32,300 when it goes on sale in the UK towards the end of this year.

Making its public debut at the New York motor show, the new XF is claimed to be lighter, more efficient and far more technologically advanced than the seven-year-old model it replaces.

Built around the company?s latest aluminium architecture, which it shares with the XE, the Mk2 XF is powered by Jaguar Land Rover?s all-new 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol and diesel engines, as well as a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel V6 and a supercharged 3.0-litre petrol V6. Jaguar says that 83% of parts on the car are new and it is it's 11% lighter and 28% stiffer than the old XF's body.

The new XF also features the company?s new InControl Touch Pro multimedia system, which is based around a quad-core processor and uses an ?ultra-fast? ethernet network.

The new car employs Jaguar?s aluminium-intensive platform, which is also used, ?in smaller form, under the ?new XE saloon.

The XF?s structure is, like the smaller XE?s, about 75% aluminium in its construction. The XF?s front-to-rear weight distribution comes in at close to 50/50, because the rear structure of the body is made mainly of steel, which places more weight at the car?s rear.

Jaguar also says the structure is nearly 30% stiffer than that of the current car.

Thanks to the use of these lightweight materials, the new XF is as much as 190kg lighter than the outgoing model, contributing to much-improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures.

The XF shares its suspension set-up with the XE, which means struts with double wishbones at the front and an ?integral link? independent set-up at the rear. 

The steering uses the ?same electric power-assisted set-up as the F-Type and XE. Active dampers will be on the options list. A feature called Jaguar Configurable Dynamics will allow the ?driver to tailor the settings ?of the dampers, steering, engine and eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Jaguar is also introducing All-Surface Progress Control, which, it says, has been developed ?for low-speed driving in adverse conditions?. This system automatically ?manages the brakes and throttle? to maximise traction on, for example, surfaces covered with heavy snow. ?The driver simply steers ?the vehicle.

Although the new XF is 7mm shorter and 3mm lower than the current model, the wheelbase is 51mm longer. ?At a lengthy 2960mm, it?s only a whisker shorter than that of the BMW 5 Series. The British car maker is promising ?class-leading rear seat space, ?with more leg room, knee room and head room? - it says it has 3mm more rear legroom than the 5 Series for example.

A feast of new technology means that the new XF range kicks off with CO2 emissions as low as 104g/km, which are delivered by the most frugal 161bhp, 280lb ft, 2.0-litre diesel Ingenium engine.

Jaguar says this is the lowest CO2 figure in the class for any non-hybrid vehicle. It?s well down on today?s BMW 518d, which has an official rating of 114g/km as well as a lower-powered, 141bhp engine.

The company says there will also be a 178bhp, 317lb ft, 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel XF. Both of these engines can be combined with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

At the top of the diesel ?range is a tweaked version of the familiar twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6, which offers 296bhp and 516lb ft of torque.

The only petrol-engined version that Jaguar has so far released details about is the supercharged petrol V6, ?which develops 375bhp and 332lb ft of torque.

Inside, the XF has a completely different design language from Jaguar?s XJ flagship. Rather than the XJ?s flamboyant circular vents and much more extravagant detailing, the new XF has a rather more contemporary and sparse appearance inside.

The centre console is notably wide, with plenty of storage space, and the interior detailing - both the brightwork and wood trim ? is given a very lean and taut treatment. The XF gets the familiar pop-up rotary controller for the automatic gearbox and the outer air vents roll open when the car is started.

The new XF comes with a big, 10.2in ?dual-view? smartphone-like touchscreen and JLR?s latest multimedia system, known as InControl Touch Pro. The main instruments are displayed ?on a 12.3in TFT panel, which can be reconfigured.

Jaguar will offer the new XF in Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and S specifications. Top-end S models get Jaguar?s Configurable Dynamics system, which allows drivers to adjust the dampers, steering, engine and transmission settings to suit their driving style.

Other options include Jaguar?s All Surface Progress control system, as well as a laser head-up display, adaptive cruise control and LED headlights. All-wheel drive will not be offered in the UK, but the new system is all new and 18% lighter and 10% more efficient, and has a rear-drive bias

The car?s safety suite consists of autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keep assistance and traffic sign recognition systems.

Q&A with Ian Callum, Jaguar design director

What was your aim in designing the new XF?

?I wanted to protect Jaguar?s visual DNA and I wanted to make sure that we created a genuine sports saloon. However, I also wanted the new XF to be more mature and sophisticated than the previous car. It may be slightly shorter and lower than the old XF, but I wanted the car to have more presence, which I think we?ve achieved.

?We?ve given the new car three side windows, which helps illuminate the interior, and we have this new strong line running down the side of the car.?

Why did you decide to stay with the familiar Jaguar nose design?

?The current XF is nearly eight years old and I think it has worn well. I wanted to translate the XF nose into the new family look. I wanted the front to look slightly menacing, but not aggressive or vulgar. The grille surround stands proud at the front. I like the way it looks like an air intake.?

Why is the interior design of the XF such a break from the flagship XJ saloon and quite unlike any previous Jaguar model?

?We?ve certainly gone for a very simple interior architecture, although we have carried over some design themes from the current Jaguar line-up.

?Running around the top of the dashboard and into the doors is the upright strip we call the ?Riva hook?, and it was used on the XJ. And like the current XF, we?ve used a metallic finish on the dash, retained the pop-up controller for the automatic transmission, and the outer two air vents are powered and flip into place when the car is started.

?This time, though, we?ve put a lot more sculpture into the shaping of the seats. On the leather-trimmed interior, we?ve alsoused a fluted finish, which could be thought of as old-fashioned, but I wanted to bring it back to Jaguar.?

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