Porsche has granted the 600bhp-plus Mission E an official codename, indicating that the advanced electrically powered saloon has formally entered development.
The move follows an announcement in December last year confirming that the Tesla Model S rival had been given a production green light and was tentatively set to go on sale in 2020.
The production version of the Mission E, codename J1, has been conceived to sit on a bespoke platform designed to accommodate a lithium ion battery pack capable of providing the car with arange of more than 330 miles. In combination with two electric motors, the sleek four-door promises a 0-62mph time of just 3.5sec.
The new platform is said to be separate to the structure being developed by parent company Volkswagen for its new range of electric cars, which includes a production version of the Budd-E concept seen last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Heading development of the zero-emissions Porsche is Stefan Weckbach, who previously led product strategy and more recently was responsible for the development of the Boxster.
Meanwhile, officials have confirmed to Autocar that the upcoming facelifted 911 GTS will retain its existing naturally aspirated 3.8-litre flat six engine, rather than adopting a powered-up version of the company?s new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre flat six.
Read more about the Porsche Mission E
Subaru Impreza 2.5 WRX STI
Subaru has broadened its line-up in recent years, but its used models remain a byword for cool, fast, all-wheel-drive machines
Subaru is arguably most famous for making the legendary Impreza, but that's not the only model to look for on the forecourts these days. Here's our pick of Subaru's performance range.
1 - Subaru Impreza 2.5 WRX STI (2007-2011)
The Mk3 Impreza broke the model?s mould, being available for the first time as a practical five-door hatch in the hope of competing with the Volkswagen Golfs of this world.
But while the WRX can?t quite be held in such high esteem as its predecessors, it retains a unique and alluring character. The steering has near-perfect weighting, while the handling is spot on and able to keep everything neat and tidy until the tyres run out of traction.
Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre boxer engine, which develops 296bhp and is full of character and delightfully smooth. The WRX gets to 60mph from rest in 5.2sec.
An 80,000-miler from 2008 is available from £10,000.
2 - Subaru Legacy 3.0 R Spec B (2003-2009)
For years it was the unsung hero of motoring, let alone Subaru?s range. A decade on and a Legacy saloon is a steal.
The Legacy does everything well in a manner that?s as modest and unassuming as the car looks. The handling is great and the steering is accurate and responsive.
The 3.0-litre petrol Spec B is the muscle of the Legacy range. Delivering 241bhp, and with the help of all-wheel drive, it?ll get to 60mph in 8.2sec.
Servicing intervals are reasonable, but repair bills can be high. Watch out for engine issues, ventilation failures and clutch and gearbox problems. A 2005 Spec B with 37,000 miles can be found for less than £4500.
3 - Subaru Impreza 2.0 WRX (2003-2007)
Subaru?s second attempt at the Impreza came with a divisive frog-eyed front end, rectified by a hastily launched facelift.
The Mk2 is an impressive performance car. It?s rapid, with 221bhp rocketing the four-door from standstill to 60mph in 5.6sec. Mated to a four-wheel drive system, top-notch steering and excellent handling, the car really excels. It?s roomy and well made, too, but the cabin is drab, with lots of plastic on show.
Running costs are on a par with a small mortgage. Tyres and brakes wear quickly, insurance is high and economy is in supercar territory. Breakdowns and failures, however, are rare.
A super-quick, 65,000-mile frog-eyed car can be yours for around £3500.
4 - Subaru Forester XT Turbo (2003-2008)
Did Subaru get to the crossover market too early with the Forester? Not a normal estate, not a full-on 4x4, it didn?t catch people?s imagination as it might. Nevertheless, it?s a unique ownership proposition, especially in XT Turbo form.
The high-riding, all-wheel-drive estate rides smoothly, has good handling and is fast, with a 2.5-litre engine that propels it to 60mph from rest in just 5.7sec.
Cabin quality isn?t the best and it?s not the roomiest, but it will cope with some muddy stuff, while carrying the family. As with most Subarus, it?s generally reliable, but clutches and driveshafts can give out at around 60,000 miles.
Ten-year-old cars with 70,000 miles are on forecourts from £5000.
5 - Subaru Impreza P1 (1992-2003)
The relationship between Subaru and Prodrive in the 1990s not only delivered a wealth of World Rally Championship wins but also produced what is arguably the best Impreza ever.
The P1 was produced in rare two-door form, with a 2.0-litre rally-edition engine producing 280bhp. The limited-edition model comes with a big-bore exhaust, quick-shift gears, suspension tweaks ?and 17in titanium-finish alloy wheels. ?The sprint to 60mph takes just 6.3sec, with a top speed of 144mph.
Watch out for imports disguised as UK-spec cars, and have all the full vehicle checks carried out before parting with your cash. This collectable model can be appreciating in your garage from £13,000 for a 2001 example of the P1 with 83,000 miles on the clock.
Alpina has revealed the US-version of its new B7 super saloon ahead of the car?s world debut at the Geneva motor show next month.
The US car is identical to the model we will get in the UK, barring the fitment of xDrive four-wheel-drive, orange side repeaters and a left-hand-drive layout.
Under the bonnet of the new B7 is Alpina?s 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine. It?s a unit that?s shared with the B5, where it produces the same 591bhp between 5750-6250rpm and 590lb ft of torque from 3000rpm.
Thanks to the standard fitment of four-wheel-drive, US-spec cars will be quicker off the line than rear-driven UK cars. The US model can sprint from 0-60mph in a claimed 3.6sec, 0.8sec faster than its predecessor, while top speed is a quoted 193mph. For UK cars, less traction means we can expect a figure closer to four seconds for the same sprint, but a lighter weight (due to no four-wheel drive parts) may enable a top speed slightly closer to 200mph.
There's an eight-speed automatic transmission with Alpina?s familiar Switch-Tronic shift buttons, which are located on the back of the steering wheel. The car maker claims that the gearbox?s close ratios - with a spread of 7.81:1 - ensure maximum power is more readily accessible.
Alpina says that the car?s twin-scroll turbocharger engine has also been tuned to offer strong performance at low revs. It backs this up with an impressive claim that 494lb ft of torque is available at just 2000rpm.
The carmaker attributes the engine?s strong performance to effective cooling systems ? which include large volume intercoolers ? and its use of high-performance Mahle pistons and NGK spark plugs. Along with other high-performance parts, these enable the engine to run with 20psi of boost pressure and a compression ratio of 10.0:01.
Back pressure is reduced with the fitment of a model-specific stainless steel exhaust system, which features active valves to allow drivers to adjust the sound by switching the Driving Dynamic Control (DDC) switch between Comfort and Sport modes.
The car?s chassis settings can also be controlled through DDC, with an adjustable air suspension system that in conjunction with adjustable dampers and Road Preview, which uses GPS to adjust the car?s suspension for upcoming corners.
The car?s ride height can be manually adjusted, and it can also automatically adjust according to driving scenarios. Above 140mph, for example, the car lowers itself by 2cm, helping to lower centre of gravity and therefore improve high-speed stability. This squat position also increases front wheel camber, which makes for more direct steering responses.
Conversely, drivers can raise the ride height by 2cm when driving at speeds of 20mph and under, to help clear obstacles such as speed bumps and kerbs.
The car sits on 20in Alpina classic wheels as standard, while 21in items are available as an option. The car is stopped by 394mm front and 368mm rear discs and four-piston calipers all round.US cars use xDrive four-wheel drive, which can continually adjust torque to each wheel depending on traction. This option won?t be made available in the UK market.
We?ll know more about the UK car when the European model is launched at the Geneva motor show next month. The European car will likely be called the B7 Biturbo.
Alpina has also confirmed that the upcoming B6 will be sold in the UK market. Though details of that car are slim, it should feature the same 4.4-litre V8 engine as the B5 and B7, and, like those cars, will be available in the UK exclusively as a rear-wheel-drive car.
Renault boss Carlos Ghosn is targeting annual sales of about 735,000 cars in China when the company?s new road car operation there gets up to full speed.
The company has forged a joint venture with Chinese automotive superpower Dongfeng and last week the first fruits of the relationship, a new 150,000-capacity production plant, was officially opened in Wuhan in central China.
The factory will build two Renault-badged crossovers for the Chinese market to take advantage of an explosion in popularity of high-riding vehicles. The market for crossovers and SUVs in China grew by 53% last year compared with 2014.
Renault is one of the last of the major European makes to forge a joint venture to enable it to build and sell cars in China. Previously, Renault sold fewer than 25,000 cars per year in China and as an import-only operation, the prices of its products were heavily taxed.
Although Ghosn wouldn?t put a timeframe on how rapidly Renault could grow in China, he eventually expected the company to attain about ?3 and 3.5%? of the nation?s new car market, which currently comprises around 21m per year but is expected to reach 25m by 2020.
The new Wuhan plant has the potential for expansion to produce up to 300,000 vehicles. When production of the two crossovers is underway, the factory will build an electric saloon based on the Fluence on behalf of Dongfeng.
This is the last ever Land Rover Defender, which rolled off the Solihull production line on 29 January 2016.
Our 32 exclusive images reveal the details of that final model, which was the 2,016,933rd to be produced. It's owned by Jaguar Land Rover itself and will forever mark the end of a model that was on sale for a staggering 68 years.
Land Rover commissioned this final Defender to be built in as similar spec as possible to the first ever Series car. Despite the near seven-decade age difference, the resemblance between the two cars shows just how little has changed since the Land Rover Series? inception in 1948.
The final Defender is a 90, the smallest production Defender with a 93in wheelbase, and is finished in Grasmere Green, the same as the first car. Again, like the first car, it has been built in UK right-hand-drive form and wears a soft-top.
In keeping with original specifications, it gets two parts that have been fitted to all open-top Series Land Rovers since 1948: hood cleats and an underbody support strut.
At its heart is a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, which was sourced from the Ford Transit and has been standard fitment in the Defender since 2012.
The car?s number plate, H166 HUE, and the fake HUE 166 number plate decals are in tribute to the original Land Rover, which was nicknamed Huey.
Inside there's cream coloured leather seats, and the dash trim has been painted in the same colour as the exterior.
The last ever Defender will be kept as part of the Land Rover Heritage Collection.
Interestingly, Land Rover employees have already begun referring to it as the last of the ?current Defenders?, suggesting thoughts are quickly turning to its replacement. That car isn?t expected to arrive before 2018, however.