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    Long-term test Winter Wunderkind Robert Hefferon has warmed to the i3

    CAR: #BMW / #BMW-i3 / #2017-BMW-i3 / #2017 / #2018

    OWNER: Robert Hefferon

    There was an extra air of smugness about me as I passed the fuel station and saw that prices had increased again, and it stayed with me all the way to work.

    The morning had already started well. I opened the curtains and saw a crisp covering of frost smothering the i3. There was none of that ‘Where have I left the scraper?’ or ‘I’d better set off ten minutes early’ business because the day before I had luckily and unknowingly got one-up on winter, and set the i3’s pre-conditioning schedule for 7.30am and 5.45pm.

    Another peek out of the window at 7.40am confirmed that the i3 was very kindly warming the cabin and defrosting itself. OK, similar things exist and have done for a while, but often they have to be activated in real-time. Incidentally, you can do that too on the BMW i3, if you don’t have a schedule set for the pre-conditioning or you want to access the car at a different time, by pressing a diamond-logo button on the key fob, which will instantly activate the warm-up function. The idea of the pre-conditioning setting isn’t just to keep me toasty: it also improves the batteries’ efficiency in the cold months.

    Win-win! And it got me thinking: how many people, despite warnings to the contrary, leave their car idling to warm up and de-mist? Countrywide that adds up to a boat-load of fuel! It’s the little things that make a big difference, and this little i3 has some big ideas. Less pollution, less global warming, more properly cold winters for the i3 to do its thing…
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    Long-term test 2017-BMW-i8 The same but different

    CAR: #2017-BMW-i8 / #BMW-i8 / #2017 / #BMW / #BMW-i3


    Love or loathe’em, hybrids are here to stay – although it’s more than 20 years since the Toyota Prius was launched and you do have to wonder whether the public would have embraced hybrids sooner if they’d looked more like spaceships and less like painted vegetables.

    Fact is, as I was always banging on about when I ran my first-generation Honda Insight (now sold; see), hybrids can be a lot of fun to drive. We’ve been running an i3 on the mag for a few months now, and all of us have relished the intellectual challenge of using its regenerative charging system to the max – and, less intellectually, the childish thrill of swooshing past other drivers by surfing the i3’s remarkable wave of torque.

    Interesting car though it is, the i3 has its limitations. It’s intended to be a city car but several of us live a considerable distance from the office, which means that a one-way drive will exhaust a full electrical charge – and the tiny range-extending petrol engine only gives you another 70 miles. Charging the car at home from a domestic supply can take up to 15 hours, and if you live in a flat, like me, you’re stuffed.

    Which is why we were keen to try the i3’s bigger brother, the i8. It’s a completely different kind of car: a GT with supercar performance that promises supermini economy. Yes, it’s a petrol-electric hybrid, but you can choose to run the i8 on petrol all the time (unlike the i3), using its turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine – nicked from the entry-level Mini, can you believe – with added oomph supplied by the electric motor. A 1.5-litre triple may not sound exciting, but 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds tells a different story.

    Talking of exciting sounds, the i8 is a bit of a fibber in that its sporty exhaust note (which sounded a bit racing #V8-like , to these ears) is artificial and piped into the cabin. Shame! But that doesn’t detract too much. The #BMW-i8 is not just blisteringly fast, it feels genuinely special, and at night its cabin is streaked with blue-LED curves in a very spaceship manner.

    The one feature about the i8 guaranteed to divide opinion is the gullwing doors. They look super-cool but, leave the car in a typical British car park, come back to find someone has parked either side of you, and you may not be able to open them wide enough to get in. You have to be pretty athletic to climb in and out of the lowslung seats with any decorum, too – which rules out much of the #Drive-My team.

    For that reason, my colleague Glen said that he’d rather spend his hypothetical 100 grand on a 911. I take his point but I’d still have an i8. After all, who doesn’t want to pilot a spaceship?
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    END OF TERM Nissan GT-R The latest GT-R is more useable than ever, claims Nissan. So did that claim turn out to be true? And does it make for a better car overall?

    CAR: #Nissan-GT-R / #Nissan / #2017 / #2017-Nissan-GT-R

    In the end I spent 99 days with the #2017-model-year Nissan GT-R. And in the end I loved it to bits. That verdict was far from a foregone conclusion, however. The whole reason for running this latest GT-R – albeit for a less-than-ideal three months only – was to see if Nissan had softened the car sufficiently to make it liveable with seven days a week. That was always going to be the key question that needed answering. And the simple fact is, it has.

    If there’s so much as a single millilitre of petrol in your veins then you could easily put up with the GT-R’s firm but no longer ridiculous ride quality. Same goes for its much improved transmission, its much reduced tyre noise, its more soothing engine refinement and its slightly less manic steering. In all these areas Nissan has, without question, improved the GT-R and made it more useable as an everyday car in the process.

    But there was a second key question, namely: if Nissan really had polished away the GT-R’s rough edges to a point where you can live with this car daily, then how might that affect its core ability to make your heart explode when the right road appears in the windscreen? Because this is ultimately what the Nissan GT-R has always been all about. No other car, with the exception of a few of the most hardcore Porsches and the Ferrari F40, has ever been able to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention like a GT-R does when you give it the beans over a deserted mountain road. So if this aspect of it went missing, I’m not sure the thing would deserve to wear its badge any longer.

    But I’m glad to say that the madness is still very much intact. You need to press a few buttons to unleash it, true, but on the right road and ideally when there’s no one else around to witness it, the nutcase that has always been at the centre of the Nissan GT-R is still very much in situ. If anything, in fact, it is more unhinged than ever before because the suspension is that little bit softer nowadays, I that little bit more in tune with the average UK B-road, which means you don’t get airborne quite so often as you once did, which basically means you can generate, and carry, even more speed. Everywhere.

    It’s not perfect, though. During my time with #OY66-UOP I became increasingly irritated by a piece of plastic trim near the steering wheel that would fizz randomly to a point where it began to bore a hole into the middle of my brain on some journeys. The car’s packaging is also ridiculous in terms of the amount of road space it occupies relative to the amount of interior space it fails to offer. And the combination of its silly fuel consumption (22mpg sometimes, more like 17-18mpg most of the time) allied to a 74-litre tank meant its real-world touring range was always an issue.

    But you put up with these things in a GT-R because the payback, when it arrives, is immense. And now that they’ve smoothed away most of the rough edges – none of which added to the purity of the driving experience; they were just flaws, pure and simple – the Nissan GT-R has become a more complete car. And a more desirable one as a result.

    To a point where I genuinely can’t think of another vehicle that offers more raw ability for less, even if its weight and packaging are a bit dubious. Bottom line: I know 82 grand (basic) sounds like an insane amount of money for a Nissan, but this ain’t no ordinary Nissan. It’s a GT-R first, and a Nissan second; always has been. And for the 2017 model year version the GT-R happens to be in better shape than at any point in its near 50-year history. Which, as you’ll know, is saying something.

    Steve Sutcliffe

    Date acquired July 2017
    Duration of test 3 months
    Total test mileage 3622
    Overall mpg 19.0
    Costs £0
    Purchase price £83,745
    Value today £72,500

    ‘The nutcase that has always been at the centre of the GT-R is still very much in situ. If anything, it is more unhinged than ever’
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    Ready-to-race #AMG / #Mercedes-AMG / #Mercedes-AMG-GT-R-C190 / #Mercedes-Benz-C190 / #Mercedes-AMG / AMG / #Mercedes / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-AMG-GT / #Mercedes-AMG-GT-R / #2017 / #2018

    Testing the track-focused GT4 sibling of the AMG GT R
    Words Kyle Fortune

    ‘It’s very demanding, very technical,’ says Thomas Jäger, who’s driving me round Paul Ricard in an AMG GT R and describing the best line. Demanding and technical are not words I was hoping to hear, especially as in a few minutes I’ll be strapped into the Mercedes-AMG GT4, the GT R’s racing twin. With as much nonchalance as I can muster, I get in the GT4. It’s not as easy as the GT R. I’m trussed-up in five-point harnesses in a deep, body-hugging bucket seat surrounded by a cage and nets, a twin-grip steering wheel in front, with a digital read-out behind it.

    Jäger’s telling me what all the buttons and knobs do, saying to leave the #ABS setting at 7, though to start with traction control at 3 and move it up to 6 or 7. In true Spinal Tap fashion the dial goes up to 11, but we’ll stick with Jäger’s advice. He should know, after all, having wound 30,000km onto it, along with Bernd Schneider and Jan Seyffarth honing it to be both reliable and competitive.

    That’s a tricky yet necessary balance with a race car, especially a customer one. Add in the need for it to be, in Jäger’s words, ‘easy to drive and forgiving’ for those who don’t possess quite the skill-set that he has. People like me, then, or at least people like me with the €200,000 needed to buy this #Mercedes-AMG-GT4 and the desire to take it racing.

    Indeed, Jäger anticipates demand will be high, GT4 appealing as a category because it’s affordable, relatively speaking. There’s plenty of competition, too, from Audis, Aston Martins, BMWs, Corvettes, Ginettas, Maseratis, McLarens, Porsches and more. If that sounds like a disparate bunch then their performance will be equalised by the FIA’s Balance of Performance formula, Jäger anticipating the #Merecedes-AMG-GT4 to run around 400bhp from its twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine. Today it’s at 503bhp…

    The relationship to the GT R helps reduce costs. There’s a steel body instead of a GT3 car’s carbon, the GT4 has the same track as a GT R, the wishbones are off-the-shelf, and pretty much everything bar the safety equipment, slick tyres, bigger front splitter and electronics come from the road car.

    Not that you’d know it inside: it’s pure racer. Trip the ignition switch, press the button on the pistol-grip wheel and the 4.0-litre V8’s cacophony fills the cabin. Keep the clutch floored, pull the right paddle and the first of its six gears is fired in, with a spit of air from the pneumatic system that selected it.

    Plenty of revs, lift the clutch… and stall. A quick prod of the start button and the engine fires; more revs and the GT4 pulls out of the pits, juddering as it fights the urge to drive quickly. Everything about its make-up is about the pursuit of speed. It gets easier as the pace rises; the track, as #Jäger suggests, is demanding but the car is an absolute joy.

    There’s immediacy to its responses, the steering is sharp (though today there’s some safe understeer that could easily be dialled out), grip is sensational, the brakes are mighty. The eight laps that follow are a joyous mix of highs and frustrations, as it’s apparent that I’d need a lot more time and money to really get the best of it. Neither of which I have. If you do, you’re very lucky indeed.

    Below With 503bhp from its #Twin-turbo #V8 , the #GT4 understeers safely around Paul Ricard – although its suspension settings are highly adjustable…
    ‏ — at 2760 Route des Hauts du Camp, RDN8, 83330 Le Castellet, France
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    Taking the 911 to a whole new level

    Kyle Fortune tests Porsche’s latest ’Ring-meister: the 211mph #Porsche-911-GT2-RS-991.2 / #Porsche-911-GT2-RS-991 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-991 / #Porsche-991.2 / #Porsche-911-991 / #Porsche-911-991.2 / #Porsche / #2017 / #Porsche-911-GT2-RS / #Porsche-911-GT2-RS-991 / #Porsche-911-GT2-RS-991.2 / #Porsche-911-GT2 / #Porsche-911-GT2-991 / #2018 / #2018-Porsche-911-GT2-RS-991.2

    There was a gap in the traffic and suddenly we were travelling at 180mph before a slow-moving truck prevented bigger numbers appearing. The car was a prototype 911 GT2 RS. When he’d pushed the accelerator to the floor, Andreas Preuninger, Porsche’s GT product line director, calmly said there’d be more to come from the production cars. Goodness.

    Now, a few months later, I’m sitting in one. It is ‘the alpha 911’, as the GT man said during that prototype ride. You only need to look at it to see that. It’s a vented, ducted, bewinged, carbonfibre lightweight monster, that is in no way shy in exhibiting its intent.

    The GT2 RS has always been a little bit unhinged, and this one is no exception. Rare, exclusive, collectable, but a car sought out by those who want not only low-number bragging rights but also the fastest, most outrageous 911 Porsche builds.

    The formula remains the same, the GT2 RS taking elements of the GT3 RS and the Turbo S and adding new, exotic technology to the mix. It’s got a 3.8-litre bi-turbo flat-six with water-cooling on the charge air system, bespoke internals and a titanium exhaust. Power is up to 700bhp. Yes, a 700bhp 911. Driving the rear wheels only.

    There’s PDK now, a seven-speed auto insetad of its predecessor’s six-speed manual. Being faster, paddleshifts are the RS way. Frankly, with that much horsepower, it’s probably sensible. There’s less weight, as you’d expect with the RS badge, but the GT2 RS’s 1475kg kerb-weight can be reduced by a further 29kg if you lighten your wallet by £21,000 for the Weissach package. You get magnesium wheels, a carbonfibre roof and bonnet with body-coloured stripe, a titanium rollcage and anti-roll bar and coupling rods in carbonfibre. We can’t imagine anyone won’t.

    Inside, as standard, there are bright red, body-hugging Alcantara lightweight sports seats and a little less sound deadening. You hear the engine and find it lacks the rich, racer’s intensity of the GT3 RS and GT3 naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat-sixes, this turbocharged 3.8 having instead a heavier, more bassy blare. Blip the accelerator and there’s less eagerness, as you’d expect, not that you’ll notice that too much on the road.

    That it’s fast is no surprise, but it’s not the engine that defines the GT2 RS. Yes, there’s massive, linear shove, and the gearbox is so quick to translate your finger-pulls to swapped ratios that it cracks 62mph in 2.8sec. You can double that in 8.3sec and go on to a top speed of 211mph shortly after. Yet, for all that, it’s the chassis that shines through. In essence it runs on GT3 Cup settings for the Nürburgring. There are upside-down dampers, with every connection, bar a single one on the rear-wheel steering, being ball-jointed, yet that uncompromising set-up does not manifest in a chaotic, harsh ride. Far from it: the way the GT2 RS copes with the vagaries of the UK’s ravaged tarmac is revelatory, as it rides with tautness yet civility too. It’s never the chassis that demands you slow down, rather the engine’s exponentially increasing pace. The steering is rich in sensation, quick in response and near-perfect in its weighting.

    This is a GT2 RS that bins the uncouth, difficult manner of its predecessors and responds with pin-sharp agility, mated to its massive power. It’s engaging and interesting at any speed, which begs the question why it needs quite so much of it. Sure, nobody will be disappointed with the GT2 RS; it moves the 911 game on massively. But however incredible it is, the idea of this chassis being mated to the more intoxicating naturally aspirated 4.0-litre of the GT3 is an even more bewitching proposition.

    Above Despite some awesome performance figures – 2.8sec to 62mph and just 8.3sec to double that – it is the sublime chassis that defines the new GT2 RS.
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    Smooth operator #2017-BMW-i3 / Mark Dixon Long-term Test / #BMW-i3 / #BMW / #2017 / #BMW-i3-I01 / #BMW-I01

    ‘Any colour you want, as long as it’s black.’ So said Henry Ford, allegedly, but my advice to anyone in the market for an i3 would be: ‘Any colour except black.’ The i3 is a chunky little thing and it benefits from a two-tone treatment rather than the all-over black of our longtermer. Even plain old white sets off the (standard) black bonnet and tailgate nicely.

    White is, of course, something we associate with electrical appliances, but the i3 is far from boring. Yes, if you’re in the mood, you can hoon it around corners at unlikely velocities, and it can be devastatingly effective in a rapid overtake. As I quickly learned from the 2001 Honda Insight I bought eight years ago, however, there’s a completely different kind of satisfaction to be had in the way you drive these kinds of cars. It’s all about being smooth and disciplined, reading the road well in advance to achieve the best possible economy. Sounds dull? Not at all.

    It adds a welcome mental challenge to an otherwise routine journey. And if you’re more engaged, you’re more aware, and that means you’re driving better.

    I love my Insight, and I think I will learn to love our i3. So far, I’ve found little to dislike other than its flat, slightly-too-firm seats, and irritatingly oversized gear selector. Oh, and the colour. Nevertheless, I’d buy this car in a heartbeat.
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    A punch to the solar plexus. Lexus’s Mercedes SL rival offers a properly snorting V8. Words Andrew English.

    / #Lexus-LC500 / #2017-Lexus-LC500 / #Lexus / #2017 / #Lexus-LC

    After a mixed reception for the smaller Lexus RC coupé in 2014, there’s a lot riding on this all-new LC. Not least is the pride of this upmarket Toyota badge, which has been continually traduced for being boring by Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s chief executive. There’s also the fact that this steel, carbonfibre and aluminium chassis platform will also underpin next year’s new LS saloon and all future big, rear-drive Lexus cars.

    So the 4.8m-long, 2+2 GT has been given the startling look of the 2012 LC-LF concept, while the cabin borrows from the style set by the LFA supercar, its facia dominated by horizontal lines and slightly reminiscent of 1970s US luxury cars. Material choice is fabulous, with soft leathers and satin metals, but the centre-screen is too small and the touch-pad controller is a poor substitute for the capstan controls on German rivals. Top models get a Mark Levinson stereo; it sounds terrific but struggles against the roar of the optional 21in Michelin run-flat tyres.

    There are two drivetrains, both costing the same. The LC 500, with a 467bhp/389lb ft 5.0-litre, quad-cam V8 coupled to a ten-speed auto transmission, has a top speed of 168mph, reaches 62mph in 4.4sec and emits 267g/km of CO2. The innovative LC 500h is a petrol-electric hybrid that uses a 291bhp/257lb ft 3.5-litre V6, a four-speed automatic gearbox mounted on the back of the 174bhp twin-motor hybrid system with CVT, and a 1.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The idea is that the four gears combine with the CVT’s artificial ‘ratios’ to give ten ‘speeds’ in total and reduce the rubber-band driving effect often associated with this Prius-based technology. Figures are 155mph, 0-62mph in 4.7sec and 148g/km of CO2.

    Double-wishbone suspension, a low centre of gravity and a 50:50 weight distribution promise pleasing chassis dynamics, while the most expensive Sport+ package gets variable-ratio steering, a rearsteering system, a carbonfibre roof and a Torsen limited-slip differential. These were the cars we drove.

    On the road the V8 is a delight, gurgling and snorting with giddy amounts of high-revving power up to 7100rpm and that tenspeed filling the low-torque gap at the bottom end of the revcounter. We’re going to miss engines like this when they’re gone. It’s fun to over-drive this Lexus with the tyres squealing, but ultimately the handling is deliberate rather than sports-car agile. It’s a big, wide car and feels it, but body control is good, the steering loads up progressively and the brakes feel strong and positive. It rides well, too, although those harsh tyres don’t do the low-speed comfort many favours.

    The hybrid likes to pull away in electric mode but the engine chimes in soon after, providing a screaming, high-rev soundtrack. It’s possible to identify the real from the artificial gearchanges but there’s still a precision in the driving process. It’s not as fast as the #V8 , of course, but the combined electric and petrol power is more than enough, even if it sounds laboured at times.

    The hybrid weighs just over two tonnes and it shows. The steering feels over-assisted when turning-in and it’s difficult to sense just how hard the tyres are working. It feels more trustworthy once it’s actually in the corner, but you can’t grab it by the scruff of the neck and hurl it up the road in quite the way you can with the V8. It rides brilliantly, however, even on those optional 21in tyres.

    Priced at between £76,595 and £85,895 depending on spec, the LC is good value against the opposition. I’d choose the V8 for its power, soundtrack and superior handling, but the hybrid is far more economical and – much to Lexus management’s surprise – is occupying about half of UK orders.

    Left, above and below LC touts shout-out-loud looks and supremely comfortable seats, but it’s a wide, heavy GT.
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    Electric future for E-type. Jaguar is electrifying its classics – starting with the E-type Zero. Words Glen Waddington. #Jaguar-E-Type / #Jaguar-E-Type-Zero / #Jaguar / #Jaguar-E-Type-Electric / #ElectricCar / #2017

    Jaguar has announced that by 2020 it will offer an electric or hybrid variant of every model it makes. It has gone a step further by announcing an electric version of the E-type – and the powertrain could underpin more from the back catalogue. Could this be the most beautiful electric car in the world? The Zero is based on a #1968 Series 1.5 E-type Roadster, and appears outwardly identical. Inside are a carbonfibre facia with touchscreen and TFT dials that ape the graphics of E-type instruments. Bigger differences are underneath.

    And there’s genius in the packaging. Put together by Jaguar Land Rover’s new #Classic-Works in Warwickshire, the Zero is powered by a 40kWh lithium-ion battery pack that has similar dimensions and weight to the outgoing XK engine, in place of which it sits. The 220kW motor was specially designed, and sits in place of the gearbox, sending power via a new propshaft to a carry-over differential and final drive. Suspension, brakes and all other mechanical components remain unchanged, and a 170-mile range is promised from a seven-hour charge.

    Weight is down by 80kg, and Jaguar says the Zero ‘handles, rides and brakes like an original E-type’. It will accelerate from rest to 62mph in just 5.5 seconds, although, as a privileged passenger ride confirmed, an eerie whine replaces the traditional XK growl. Will it be made? That depends on potential orders. This car took 18 months from concept to reality; a production version could be batch-built for around £300,000, including an E-type Reborn donor car.
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    Are four cylinders enough? Jaguar’s F-type gets a new turbo engine of just two litres, but it still has the claws. Words Robert Coucher.

    / #Jaguar-F-Type / #Jaguar-F-Type-Coupé / #Jaguar / #2017 / #2018 / #Jaguar-F-Type-R-Dynamic-2.0-Coupé-Carbon-Fibre-Pack / #Jaguar-F-Type-R-Dynamic-2.0-Coupé / #Jaguar-F-Type-2.0-Coupé / #Jaguar-F-Type-R-Dynamic

    GAD! A four-cylinder Jaguar sports car? Whatever next? A diesel? As we know, a ‘proper’ Jaguar should have a large-displacement, multi-cylinder engine that’s smooth and powerful. But a new F-type has just been launched with a 1997cc turbo engine – surely this has to be a laggy screamer.

    The F-type is certainly a looker in both Coupé and Convertible configurations and the four-pot version appears almost identical to the proper V6 and V8 models. Only the single tailpipe gives the game away. The car benefits from a freshened-up bumper design, lovely (optional) LED headlights and attractive alloy wheels, 18in as standard.

    But hang on. Jaguar claims its state-of-the-art, lightweight Ingenium four-cylinder engine produces a whacking 300bhp, with 295 lb ft of torque available at just 1500rpm. This translates to 150bhp per litre, the highest specific output of any engine in the F-type range, and it’s also the most efficient, with a 16% improvement in fuel economy over the V6 and CO2 emissions of just 163g/km. Driven through an eightspeed Quickshift auto ’box, the F-type promises 0-60mph in 5.4 seconds with a top speed limited to 155mph. That’s as near as dammit to the V6 model!

    To our eyes the Coupé is the best-looking F-type and has all sorts of Jaguar design cues harking back to the fabled E-type FHC. The Convertible is cute but more derivative and less distinctive. But what will the four-pot sound like and how will it feel in action?

    Slip into the low-slung bucket seat; the interior is attractive with its large, central infotainment system, neat instruments and fatrimmed steering wheel. But don’t look too closely because some of the swathes of plastic appear a bit cheap. Thumb the starter button and the little four erupts with a big sound and settles down to a purring idle. It reacts instantly to a blip of the throttle pedal and sounds much larger than just 1997cc.

    Switch into Dynamic mode, select the loud exhaust setting, pull the paddle into first gear, then mash the throttle. The purring engine ignites angrily and the F-type leaps off the mark. Six thou’ comes up almost instantly, so click the paddle and second slams in as the F-type accelerates with seamless enthusiasm, accompanied with nice crackles and pops on the overrun. Well, well, well.

    OK, so it’s not a supercar but nor is it priced as one, starting at £49,000. But this engine certainly sounds big enough for the job.

    Calming down a bit, what about the torque? Amazing! Of turbo lag there is none and the four comes across as deliciously muscular. Into the corners the steering is beautiful, the chassis is planted and flat and the car turns in fast thanks to the four-cylinder being a useful 25kg lighter than the V6. Think neat, playful, nippy and obedient. Spring rates have been adjusted accordingly so the ride is excellent. Turn off the dynamic mode, switch the exhaust to quiet and the F-type goes stealth with very little engine, tyre or road noise: sports car morphs into comfortable GT.

    So is this a real Jaguar? It sounds good (if not as operatic as the V6 or V8), it handles extremely well, it’s fast, the engine produces huge torque, the ride is superb, it looks gorgeous, it’s efficient, it can be serene and it’s very desirable.

    So yes, Jaguar has a feisty new cub.
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    Merc duo set to dazzle at auction #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Roadster-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Roadster / #3Mercedes-Benz-300SL-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-Roadster-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-SL / #Mercedes-Benz-SL-W198 / #3Mercedes-Benz-M198 / #1955 / #1957 / #3Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Gullwing-W198 / #Mercedes-Benz-300SL-Gullwing / #Gullwing-W198 / #Gullwing

    Unmolested 300 SL Roadster and Gullwing head for #Pebble-Beach sale stardom

    Even by the standards of star lots at the Pebble Beach auction sales, Gooding’s latest announcement is breathtaking. Fresh from the sale of a remarkable unrestored Gullwing that fetched $1.46 million at Scottsdale in January, it will be offering not only an even better-preserved unrestored Gullwing with a mere 16,000 miles but a 300 SL Roadster to go with it, owned from new by the same father and son and showing just 38,000 miles.

    The vendor took over the care of the cars from his father in 1964 and has in his own words ‘just kept ’em’. Neither has been driven much, as indicated by the mileage, but both have been stored in perfectly dry garages and started up often enough to arrive in #2017 in good running order.

    The Gullwing was acquired in 1955 after the vendor’s father bought out someone else’s place in New York importer Max Hofman’s waiting list. He paid an extra $65 to have the car painted British Racing Green, which with the tan hide trim makes this combination a one-of for a Gullwing. The marker lights that are all original, and the front bumper has never been drilled for a licence plate, and there’s even original sale paperwork from Hofman Motors.

    The 300 SL Roadster joined the family in 1957, the same year the model was announced. The open car’s greater userfriendliness prompted more miles and a little more wear, with touched-in Silver- Blue Metallic paint and grey leather fading to its un-dyed colour on parts of the dash and seats. It has its original set of fitted Karl Baisch luggage and, like the Gullwing, is surely enough of a survivor to be preserved rather than restored.

    Sales of $1m-$1.3m for the Gullwing and $800k-$1m for the Roadster are expected at the Californian sale on August 18-19, but anyone wanting to keep them as a pair will need serious commitment and financial clout to fight of rivals whose bids could go some way beyond those figures.

    Both the SL Roadster and Gullwing will hopefully be preserved rather then restored.
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