..:: Special Editions - RB320, P2, WR1, UK300, P1, RB5, 22B & more
Here we have the complete list of Special Edition Subaru Impreza's were/are available in the UK. There have been many more editions released world wide, but here is the list of UK models along with there specifications.
RB320 - 2007
November 2006, exactly one year after the sad death of Richard Burns from a brain tumour. Subaru UK announced a new special edition of their MY06 Subaru Impreza WRX STi. The RB320 is packaged in Obsidian black, with bespoke black alloys. May not be to everyone's liking but I think it looks fantastic and appropriate for the anniversary. The RB320 is no limited edition paint job, as the name suggests the RB320 delivers around 320bhp from it's WRX STi PPP package. That's a lot of oomph!! Added to that just about every subaru/prodrive option you can think of has been added as standard on the RB320
In 2004, the Subaru World Rally Team finally got back to winning Rally Championships thanks to Petter Solberg and traditionally released a Special Edition Subaru Impreza to celebrate, in the form of the WR1. Based on the latest Subaru Impreza WRX STi the WR1 also had the added Prodrive Performance Pack PPP Which makes this the most powerful and fastest Subaru Impreza you can buy off the shelf!
After a gap of no special editions. Subaru came back in 2001 with a new shaped Subaru Impreza, a new World Rally Title, with the help of Richard Burns , and a therefore a new Special edition in the form of then UK300.
The second special edition to be released in 1999 was the P1, which was more to do with Prodrive than Subaru directly. Prodrive is the company that develops the Impreza's for the World Rally Teams, so they know a thing or two about the Subaru Impreza. Therefore, they decided to release their own special edition Impreza. P1.
Often considered the best Subaru Impreza ever. The Impreza 22B was released in 1998 and came with a new 2.2litre engine. Although overall power was the same torque was improved to to the larger capacity. The 22B was also dresses in 2-door coupe form unlike previous 4-door Impreza's
The Series McRae Subaru Impreza was released in late 1995 to celebrate the achievement of the Subaru 555 World Rally team and Colin McRae winning the World Rally Championship for the first time for both driver and manufacturer.
MUSEO LAMBORGHINI: Lamborghini's museum was opened under the instruction of parent company Audi to celebrate the Italian brand's history, which began when it was established in 1963.
Lamborghini's museum is located beside its factory in Bologna, Italy; these are the rare and iconic models on display
The Lamborghini Museum, or Museo Lamborghini, was opened in 2001 after parent company Audi decided to celebrate its then newly purchased Italian supercar brand.
Located beside the Sant'Agata Bolognese Lamborghini factory, where every vehicle produced by the firm has been built since it was established in 1963, the two-storey museum features iconic road models and several pre-production prototypes.
We visited Lamborghini's home for the unveiling of the new HuracŠn Super Trofeo Evo racer but took a moment to admire the metal (and carbonfibre) on display at the museum. Our gallery illustrates every car on display at the moment.
Click through the pictures to find out more about the cars.
Changan?s CS95 is a seven-seater with a Land Rover theme
Europe had better start getting used to Chinese car makers muscling in. Julian Rendell visits Changan, a car giant tipped for overseas growth
Any car enthusiast is excused if they?ve†never heard of Chongqing. Populated by 30 million people,†this city in the centre of China is 1100 miles south-west of the capital, Beijing, yet it can easily claim to be China?s motor city as it's home to 30 car factories. There?s enough capacity ?to produce three million cars a year, about 12% of China?s total car output. For context, the output from this one city outstrips the UK?s production record (two million, set in 1972).†
Much of Chongqing?s automotive focus is Changan, a state-owned enterprise that has built cars since 1959, starting with a military truck modelled on the World War II US Jeep. Today, its range has expanded to 17 Changan-badged models, including an electric vehicle, and output is around one million a year from seven assembly plants and one engine factory. But Changan also has joint ventures with Ford, Peugeot and Suzuki, taking annual output to three million.†
Recently, Changan has benefited from huge investment; its factory in Liangjiang, outside Chongqing, the centrepiece of an industrial ?cluster? has been boosted by a colossal £60 billion of investment. The clearest evidence of this investment are Changan?s two newest models, which are both high-riding SUVs: the five-seat CS55 on sale in China since July and the seven-seat CS95 from November last year.†
Both have been engineered in China but with considerable input from engineering and design centres in the UK, the US and Italy. Changan is much more than a local enterprise, even if today its cars are largely focused on the domestic market.†
?We have really put everything we know into the two new SUVs,? says Gordon Cook, Changan?s head of vehicle integration, ?and we?ve really got the cars working well.?†
Previously, the Briton was involved in honing the handling of Ford Europe?s range up to the previous generation of the Fiesta, before moving to Changan?s Ford joint venture and then to the parent firm.†
There?s a significant Ford theme running through Changan. Head of safety Hui Zhao, an American-Chinese, used to work at Ford?s Dearborn safety centre.†
Today, staffers such as Cook are implementing Ford doctrines on ride and handling, and the benefits can be felt in the road manners of the two SUVs, which bear comparison with better-known models.†
But it?s still a mystery whether Changan will launch its models in the UK. We asked sales and marketing boss Yang Jie and he batted the question away with a smile ?and offered answers that were less than illuminating. Despite his promises to fill in the detail later, the information was never clearly communicated.†
His clearest answer was this: ?Britain and Europe are where we want to go, but we are concentrating on the domestic market. We have a target to be number one in China and then we will go to Europe.?†
Another source suggested the US is the first target market, with a launch date of 2025 pencilled in and Europe following in 2028. But given the pace of development at Changan and its incredibly short, four-year model cycles, this feels a lazy timeline for a company developing at such a pace. Given the strong level of technical competence exhibited by the CS55 and CS95 now, it feels more sensible that the next-generation models after 2021 could be engineered ready for either the US or Europe.†
Changan managers and engineers are well aware that its powertrain strategy won?t get it very far in Europe, being held back by a lack of diesel engines. The two-tonne CS95 SUV, for example, is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol unit understood to average around 30mpg in Chinese driving conditions. Trying to sell this model against rivals with 40-50mpg diesels would be tough.†
As far as we could discover, Changan has no plans to develop a new range of diesel engines. That?s unsurprising. Europe is the only global market where they sell in volume and the political shift against oil-burners makes that strategic move unappealing.†
More likely for Europe is a new range of plug-in hybrid petrol engines currently in development. A 1.0-litre four-cylinder petrol hybrid will power smaller saloons and? SUVs in the home market, but more applicable to the UK is a 1.5-litre petrol plug-in using the same Blue Core engine as in the CS55. There?s no word on whether these would be series or parallel hybrids, but the fact that they are plug-ins at least suggests they use the latest in lithium ion battery technology.†
A tour of Changan?s crash safety centre revealed that work is already in progress on the impact safety of lithium ion battery packs in a full range of the three main global safety standards: Chinese, European and US. That?s a strong indication of Changan?s global ambitions. A compact battery electric saloon is already on sale in China.†
If you put the hybrid and battery electric strategies together with increasingly competitive chassis engineering and interior and exterior design quality, it?s easy to imagine Changan being positioned to move into the UK market in the next three to five years ? 2020 to 2022, much faster than unofficially indicated.†
Of course, having the right models and powertrains is only part of an export push. A distribution plan needs to be formulated ? either a conventional distributor/dealer organisation or a direct sales model.†
Direct sales is the plan for Geely?s mid-market Lynk&Co, which arrived with a bang at the Shanghai motor show in April with a new compact crossover, badged 01, in the mould of Changan?s CS55. Geely?s proposals for a Volvo V60-based saloon, the†02, and an S40-based saloon, the 03, were also revealed, with European launch dates in 2018-2019. Geely is forecasting 20% of its global sales will be from Europe by 2020.†
Right now, Changan won?t even discuss its thoughts and ideas for distribution in Europe, but our guess is that it is working on the project behind the scenes. Why else would Changan invest in an engine design centre in Birmingham or a styling studio in Turin?†
Lynk&Co is going for no-haggle, direct sales without dealers. As well as offering close control over distribution, it enables a quicker set-up, with no complicated process of selecting and vetting potential dealers. The drawback, as demonstrated by the now defunct Daewoo, is having no regional mechanism to value trade-ins and offer service and warranty back-up. Geely and Lynk&Co have a big head start over Changan, having owned Volvo for seven years. That?s plenty of time to understand western markets and how to tackle Europe. Geely and Lynk&Co also have a core of highly experienced western engineers at director level to pull the design, engineering and marketing levers. In our meetings, Changan still seemed like a Chinese local-market company feeling its way slowly to the West with an unclear strategy.†
Geely is a privately owned company listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange rather than a state-owned company like Changan. It will be interesting to see how Changan?s statist culture will cope with the highly competitive, capitalist European market, where it can?t rely on direct government help.†
Changan is highly successful at home, although it didn?t have a model in the 2016 Chinese top 10, which was dominated by SAIC, Trumpchi, Great Wall, Volkswagen and General Motors. Last year, the bestselling model was the Wuling Hong Guang, a seven-seat MPV, with 650,000 units sold. Wuling is in joint venture with GM.†
Changan is well backed and ambitious, with an improving range of models, and the engineering of its cars is well advanced and the design of interiors astutely judged. But any push to European sales feels some way from commercial readiness. That?s not to say Changan couldn?t get a foothold in Europe right now, but it doesn?t seem to be confident in taking that risk just yet.†
What are Changan's cars like to drive?†
A tour around the Shanghai motor show in April was enough to convince you that China?s own-brand car makers have made phenomenal progress in the past decade.†
Driving the latest products from Changan, the five-seat CS55 and seven-seat CS95, just confirms that impression in their all-important and likeable on-road behaviour.†
In driving manners, rolling refinement and interior quality, these two models bear comparison with equivalents from Dacia, Ford, Kia and Skoda.†
The involvement of UK chassis engineers has clearly had a big influence of the fluency of the steering, compliance of the chassis, consistent weighting of controls and smoothness of brakes. The CS95 feels very well isolated from road noise, for example.†
For the home market, though, with its madcap traffic and brutally potholed and undulating road†surfaces, there is probably a limit to how far this dynamic excellence can be pursued.†
With safety so high on the agenda for Changan, its engineers are promising a deep dive to explain why a CS55 test car rolled in a 30mph lane-change manoeuvre during our visit, after the journalist driving it switched off the ESP.†
Stability control is standard on the CS55 and CS95, which are also well equipped with anti-lock braking system, electronic brakeforce distribution, autonomous emergency braking, traction control, hill descent control, dual front airbags, side airbags and curtain airbags.†
There is work to be done on powertrain refinement and transmission calibration, though. And Changan?s design studio in Italy needs to be given more freedom to find an authentic new styling theme that?s less Land Rover-inspired.†
But with the resources at Changan?s disposal, progress seems highly likely and rapid.†
Six more Chinese-owned brands with designs on Europe:†
The defunct German brand is being revived by Chinese truck maker Foton for two SUVs, the mid-sized BX5 and larger BX7. They?re due to be built in a new factory in Bremen.†
Its mid-sized crossover was revealed at the Frankfurt show to spearhead a European launch in the next three to five years. Rivals include the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5.†
Its Lynk&Co brand will be launched in Europe in 2018-2019, starting with a mid-sized SUV. A new plug-in London taxi is also on the way.†
Great Wall made history this year with the first Chinese-branded model to be sold in the UK: the £17,000 Steed double-cab pick-up. Inauspiciously, it achieved two stars in our review.†
There are plans to extend MG?s UK range to six models in 2017-2018, including the ZS compact SUV, a replacement for the 6 and a larger, Nissan X-Trail-sized SUV.†
Partly owned by Chery, Qoros started production in 2013/14 and had bold plans to export to Europe. But, recently, it has scaled back those ambitions.†
So far, 23 scrappage schemes have been launched in quick succession by car makers. Are they a good deal or just a sales and PR ruse?
Every car I?ve ever owned has lost money - until now.
Thanks to the raft of car scrappage schemes launched recently, my 95,000-mile, Euro 4, 2006-registered Vauxhall Astra 1.6 SXi three-door, owned by me for more than 90 days, has gone from being worth around £500 to as much as £5000 when part-exchanged against a new Hyundai Santa Fe (starting price: £32,545).†
So what are these new scrappage schemes, how do they work and are they any good? The first thing to say is that they?re not government-sponsored, so there?s a huge variety of approaches, deals and terms and conditions out there. In fact, a few of them (BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes, Mini and Nissan) aren?t scrappage schemes at all, since some or all of the cars they accept in part-exchange are not scrapped. Instead, their deals are discounts, pure and simple, especially since one or two (for example, Nissan) give a part-exchange allowance in addition.†
Most insist your old car is Euro 1-?4, registered ?no later than 31 December 2009 (Vauxhall will take any age) and that you?ve owned it for at least 90 days. Some, such as Mercedes and Seat, require you to have owned it for six months. And while some (such as Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Renault and Vauxhall) will accept petrol and diesel trade-ins, others (such as the VW Group, the BMW Group and Mercedes) accept only diesels.†
Most schemes offer a sliding? scale of allowances rather than, like Vauxhall, a ?one size fits all' £2000. It?s a good idea, since £2000 against a £29,000 Mokka X is not as valuable as £2000 against a £12,000 Corsa.†
Typically, not all new models attract an allowance and, even where a model does, you may find that certain trims don?t. This suggests that behind the car makers? environmental argument is a sales one. (During the first seven months of the year, new car sales were 2.2% lower than in the same period last year.)†
BMW and Mini dress up their allowances rather better by excluding new models emitting more than 130g/km of CO2. With BMW claiming 80% of its models, and 70% of Minis, emit less than this, there?s a†fair chance your chosen model will qualify. Meanwhile, Nissan offers up to £2000 against its approved used Leafs, but make sure you establish the true value of the Leaf you?re interested in so you can understand if the £2000 being offered is a genuine saving.†
Don?t think that scrappage allowances are the cherry on the cake; a little extra over and above all of the other generous sales incentives car makers throw at customers these days. Some schemes, such as Toyota?s and the VW Group?s, exclude other retail offers. That means you could miss out on a bumper PCP deposit contribution or 0% finance.†
The best scrappage deals give you everything: a generous scrappage allowance as well as a trade-in allowance and access to existing retail offers such as PCP deposit contributions and low-rate finance. Nissan is one of the few to offer the usual trade-in allowance as well as the scrappage allowance.†
If your car is worth more than the £2000 scrappage allowance being offered, consider the merits of the deal. If nothing else is on the table (an extra part-exchange allowance, access to other retail offers), you could be out of pocket, so first establish the trade and private sale values of your trade-in.†
Then check online car sellers for rival deals. These businesses are supplied by dealers that are keen to ?shift metal at almost any price. You? may find their deals easily eclipse any ?scrappage deal, although remember? that you?ll be offered only trade value ?or less for your part-exchange.†
So what?s it like to offer up your ?trusty nail to a dealer, in exchange ?for a scrappage allowance? I visited three to find out. The first one, a Vauxhall dealer, at first claimed the ?scrappage offer had ended before? checking it still had a month? to run. He said they?d done loads of? scrappage deals. (Vauxhall claims? that, between the current scheme?s? launch in May and the end of August,? it scrapped more than 5000 cars, 63%? of which were from other marques.)†
I said I was interested in a new Astra SRi 1.0i Turbo. I was in luck, the salesman said: there was an unregistered one on the forecourt. Its full price was £20,100 but scrappage allowance and 'FDA' brought it down to £15,192.†
?What?s FDA?? I asked.†
?Finance deposit allowance,? the salesman said. Basically, the deposit contribution if I financed it on a PCP.†
?How can I get it for that price if I pay cash?? I asked.†
?Finance it on the PCP and then settle it straight away,? he said. ?People do it all the time.?†
Ford next. The salesman told me they?d sold 17 cars on scrappage since Ford started its scheme a week ago. It was a good one since it was backed by the government, he told me (wrongly).†
Ford offers a sliding scale of allowances on most models. The salesman said I could have a Focus 1.0 125PS ST-line with Appearance and Convenience Packs, in metallic black and from stock, for £20,280, after the £4450 scrappage allowance.†
?It?s a good deal,? he claimed. ?Our maximum discount is £2500 on that model, plus you still get 0% finance.?†
Finally, Hyundai. Like Ford, the company offers a sliding scale of allowances, but 2.9% rather than 0% finance. I could have an i30 1.0 T-GDi SE Nav for £16,006 after the £4000 scrappage allowance.†
?You?re better off doing it this ?way by £1000,? said the salesman. ?Without scrappage, your Astra is worth £500. My maximum discount is £2500, which makes £3000 off the price. This way, you get £4000 off.?
When available with other existing retail offers, scrappage is a great idea. However, you need to be clear about the value of your trade-in and check online sellers to see if you can get a better deal without scrappage.†
Among the best schemes is Nissan?s, for its scope. It accepts petrol and diesel trade-ins, while scrappage and trade-in allowances are available that can be combined with existing retail offers. However, it finishes at the end of September. Ford, Renault and Hyundai offer handsome allowances and access to existing retail offers and will accept petrol and diesel trade-ins, too.†
Velar owners get, in return for the £70k asking price, a luxurious driving experience
Can the new Velar justify its high asking price and beat the standard-setting Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne?
The defining sound? of this year?s most-wanted luxury car, the new Range Rover Velar, isn?t generated†by its multi-cylinder diesel engine, some clever active exhaust or even ?its 17-speaker audio system.
It?s the rhythmic sequence of gentle whirrs and puffs made by the car?s pillowy, beautifully upholstered ?massager? driver?s seat as it sets about discreetly but determinedly kneading the tension out of your lower back.†
It?s a sound you can hear because the noise of the car?s V6 motor descends to a barely audible background hum at a motorway cruise ? and also because there?s little more than the faintest flutter of wind noise creeping around the door seals at that speed. And what ?it sounds like ? honestly ? is a polite but persistent case of robotic after-dinner flatulence. It is not quite silent and a little bit violent at times, but thankfully unaccompanied by any lingering odour. Nope ? the pseudo-farts of the new Velar?s driver?s seat don?t actually smell of anything; but that may even be a missed opportunity when you consider they might have been so deliciously perfumed.†
And so, having had the glare of? a full Autocar road test on it and some stinging criticism made of it ?in lower-end four-cylinder diesel form, the Velar gets a chance to reveal what it?s really all about.? Our focus turns to the near-top-of-the-range six-cylinder diesel model. If this is the outstanding modern luxury SUV that Gaydon claims it is, so accomplished in? all the ways it?s purported to? be, then it should easily prove itself superior to a couple of other similarly priced SUV rivals.†
But even without the Italian,? these are opponents that vividly demonstrate why this magazine?s voice has been one of many to remark on the ambitiousness of Land Rover?s Velar pricing. The Porsche offers more cylinders, more power, more torque and more performance from its 380bhp V8 diesel, as well as a lasting reputation within the luxury SUV set for sporting handling.†
The Audi, on the other hand, matches the Range Rover?s claims on acceleration and beats the other two on fuel economy and CO2 emissions, combining the usefulness of seven seats with an outstandingly classy and well-finished interior and one of the most refined SUV-class driving experiences you can currently ?buy for any price.†
So, can this superbly handsome new Range Rover prove it?s got the substance to match its evident style and bring home a couple of big SUV scalps? Or will it wilt in the face of the competition that Gaydon has chosen for it?†
Value in the Velar?
Seventy grand. We keep coming back to it but it?s obvious why: because ?it seems an awfully high price for a Land Rover that?s supposed to sit below the Range Rover Sport in Land Rover?s showroom model range. That?ll be the Range Rover Sport that, in what you might consider as-close-as-possible-to-matching 3.0-litre SDV6 HSE Dynamic spec, costs £1400 less than our Velar test car on Land Rover?s current price list.†
And yet, if it could, Land Rover might interject here and point out that this Velar isn?t expensive as much as high-end: lavishly appointed and generally dressed to impress. And, if you buy a six-cylinder HSE at any rate, there?s a certain amount of credibility†to that claim.? The Audi we?re comparing it with†here might look like it?s £14,000 cheaper in upper-trim S line form but it doesn?t come with half of? what the Velar?s giving. Matrix? LED headlights; 21in alloy wheels; leather upholstery extended to the doors, dashboard and centre console; air suspension; memory seats; adaptive digital instruments; keyless operation; and a full suite of active safety systems - all come on the Velar R-Dynamic HSE D300 as standard and all are cost options on the Q7.†
And guess what? Equipped to the same level, order would be restored: the Audi would cost more than the Range Rover ? just as it should, you might argue, being a longer, larger, full-size seven-seater SUV.†
The Porsche would cost quite a? lot more. A set of 21in alloy wheels, some memory sports seats and a full leather interior take the Cayenne?s price beyond that of the Range Rover all on their own ? and that's without air suspension, LED headlights, a premium audio system or even a DAB radio being on the car?s spec sheet.†
Suddenly, the Velar?s sticker price, while still a long way from a bargain, doesn?t seem quite so exorbitant.†
We?ll call that surprise number one. Surprise number two materialises when you finally get the chance to clamber into the Velar?s interior, take in your surroundings and then clamber back out again to assess how the Q7 and Cayenne compare.
You expect the Audi to land some telling blows here: to be significantly more spacious than the Range Rover, as well as to seem a cut above on technological sophistication and material quality. That is, after all, how German and British luxury cars tend to relate to each other.? But, while it is roomier than the Velar, the Q7 isn?t necessarily? the more comfortable car of the two. The Audi?s got a fair bit more second-row leg room than the Range Rover, granted. But it?s the Velar that has the more comfortable driver?s seat and the marginally more laid-back driving position. In the back of the British car, while a 6ft 4in bloke like me has to sit with his thighs splayed in order to ?sit behind himself ' and avoid the seatback in front? of his knees, there?s still plenty of head room and a more agreeable seat to relax in than you?ll find elsewhere. The Audi?s rear chairs seem a bit flat and narrow by comparison.†
The Cayenne, meanwhile, offers more second-row leg room than the Velar, too, but more limited head room and elbow room. Its back seats are more deeply sculpted: good for two passengers but not much fun, I suspect, for a third.†
Moving on to luxury-car ambience, it?s another mixed showing for the Audi. It's an area where you think the Velar could come up short - and yet it doesn?t. The integrity and baseline quality of the Q7?s interior is absolutely spectacular. The granite-like substance of some of its fittings just amazes you. The chromed†centre console trim of our test car seemed more securely fixed than my kitchen worktops. Most of all, it?s the consistency of the finish ? the lack of absolutely anything that stands out as even a little bit flimsy, rough, hard or unattractive ? that really distinguishes this car.†
And yet, while it?s evidently very smart and very, very solid, there?s? a relative shortage of richness in evidence from the Q7, which the Range Rover?s airy, tactile, supremely stylish interior makes very plain indeed. For this test, Audi sent us a lowly equipped Q7 whose moulded dashboard, dark leathers and? chrome decorative trims simply didn?t produce the same enveloping bubble of lavishness as the Velar?s hide-upholstered panels and its various shades of oyster, ebony? and ash veneer.†
With a more generously kitted Q7, the comparison would have been fairer ? but, when all you can do is test the cars in front of you on the day, the Q7 felt like a business tool. The Velar felt like it was ready to transport you to somewhere much more special than the office.†
The Cayenne?s interior doesn?t really bear comparison with either the Velar?s or the Q7?s†? it?s perfectly comfortable and would seem very nice in isolation but it otherwise looks and feels like the cabin of a six-year-old car, whose third-generation replacement was unveiled to the world on the very day this test was carried out.†
But then the Cayenne earns its place in this test for altogether different reasons. The honest, deep, menacing chug of its V8 diesel engine, and the understated but obvious vibration it sends through the pedals and steering column, hint at the first reason the instant you start it up. The Cayenne?s a freak ? but an enormously likeable one. It disregards much of the luxury SUV rulebook, being noisier than the norm, as well as coarser, weightier, more demanding and less well-mannered in the operation of its transmission and controls. But, fully 15 years after the introduction of the original Cayenne, this car remains singularly appealing among its rivals as a driver?s car ? and I include the Velar among them. No other large SUV, save perhaps a Range Rover Sport SVR, is so fast, balanced,†agile and entertaining on the road that it could stand in well for ?a rear-driven super-saloon, if life dictated a need to swap one for the other.†
So no ? if you?re wondering, this new Velar isn?t as absorbing to drive as Porsche?s original go-faster 4x4. But it is much more suited to the purposes and particulars of a luxury SUV?s dynamic brief than the Cayenne. And, in its own more cossetting, compromising way, the Velar?s is a similarly enjoyable drive.†
Don?t think, for a moment, that 516lb ft under your right peg in the Range Rover will feel anything like as potent as the 627lb ft the Porsche serves up. Five-hundred-odd lb ft? is plenty, mind you: enough that ?the Velar D300 suffers none of the sluggishness that we encountered in the cheaper D240.†
On the road, the Range Rover combines low-range muscle, throttle response, flexibility and silken operating smoothness very cleverly indeed. Its eight-speed auto ?box seems to know exactly how much slippage ? and how fast a shift ? is conducive to quickening pace while maintaining comfort levels.†
The Cayenne, on the other hand, isn?t concerned with comfort levels; its transmission hustles up and down the cogs with the relative finesse of a Formula Ford racer on a qualifying lap. That V8 takes a split-second†longer to gird its loins when you want full power, but then the Porsche takes off at a rate, and in a style, that few would have believed possible ?for any diesel passenger car 25 years ago, let alone an SUV.†
The Velar?s steering is expertly weighted and paced ? it?s matched? to the car?s true handling response and roll rate as cleverly as a horsehair bow to a steel violin string.†
The car has Comfort, Automatic and Dynamic road-going settings? for its active air suspension, but all of them leave it with ride and handling that meet the need for bump compliance, good body control and lasting grip levels in a wonderfully progressive, supple way. The Velar glides over the road just as you want a luxury SUV to, but never seems out of touch with it.†
There is even more outright lateral grip, a more poised and adjustable cornering attitude and more driver reward on offer in the Cayenne, sure ? but it comes at a cost. The weight of that engine in an already heavy car makes for steering that?s over-assisted at times and so straight-line stability isn?t as high in the Cayenne as it is in the Range Rover and there's only a transient, illusive kind of contact patch feel. The car?s ride is never ideal: absorptive but under-damped in Comfort, becoming a bit wooden and tetchy in Sport ? and always a touch thumpy.†
This, to be frank, isn?t how most luxury SUV drivers would want their car to conduct itself on the road ? but, golly, could they have fun with it if they were brave enough. This is a 2.2-tonne 4x4 with power-on oversteer available on demand; ridiculous, but true.†
The way the Cayenne grips and stays neutral though the heart of a bend, and then arcs into a powerslide as you feed in all that torque, suggests it?s not an SUV at all, but instead a sports car with a transaxle ?box and no forward driveshafts.†
And where?s the Q7 in all this? Busy doing its best to keep its engine and cabin quiet, to filter every corrupting influence from its controls and to stay stable and reassuring in everything. And by succeeding at all of that, offering scant reply to the differing kinds of dynamic excellence of its rivals.†
But, to be honest, though impressed by the car?s mechanical refinement and sense of isolation, I expected ?a much more settled ride from the Audi, which isn?t a car that takes well to an uneven road on its standard steel coil ?dynamic? suspension. Here, as before, we were denied the opportunity for the fairest of tests by Audi?s particular test car ? although previous experience suggests that, even on optional air springs and with all of Audi?s mechanical suspension and driveline augmentations fitted, the Q7 may not quite have hit the perfect compromise of the Velar.†
And so it is that our winner makes itself known. After a shaky start?on these pages, and recovering? from the considerable handicap that a glaringly ambitious value proposition puts on any new car,†the Range Rover Velar sees off opposition that many would imagine belong beyond its orbit. An Audi Q7 3.0 TDI just hasn?t got the star quality ? to look at, to sit in or to drive ? to eclipse it; a Porsche Cayenne Diesel S, though brilliant, just isn?t rounded or luxurious enough.†
Which Velar to buy?
So where do we think the sweet spot in the Range Rover Velar model range may be?†
On this evidence and that of our road test, Jaguar Land Rover?s four-cylinder diesel engines are to be avoided if possible. We have yet to test any of Land Rover?s petrol-powered models, and the 2.0-litre P250 and P300 certainly look like they could offer value to lower-mileage private buyers. But the 3.0-litre V6 D300 diesel would get our nod as the likeliest source of the refinement, economy, drivability and power you?ll want from your car. Remember, six-cylinder cars get air suspension as standard.†
Trim level choice adds quite a lot of extra complication, but the important message here is that R-Dynamic makes the car look best. So we?d have an R-Dynamic SE D300 for £64,030 ? and then add Land Rover?s Drive Pro Pack (adaptive cruise etc), On/Off Road pack (configurable dynamics, Terrain Response) and the paint colour, trim colour and wheels you like the look of most.†
Spend big enough, it seems, and this Range Rover does have qualities worth spending on.†
1st Range-topping diesel Rangie has the right mix of power, poise, refinement and richness to rule this test ? although perhaps not the whole luxury SUV set†
2nd Reserved, well-mannered, superbly constructed and roomy, the Q7 isn?t quite in the Velar?s league on lavishness, desirability or style†
3rd Second-generation Cayenne is still the class boss on driver appeal. If the next one can be more mature with it, watch out†
MG 6 interior: the old MG 6 left a lot to be desired. Made of unimaginably awful materials inside and with as much quality, charisma and flair as unbranded wheat biscuits cereal, it makes the new 6's interior look like that of a car from a completely different marque. Sure, there are influences from all over the show in there, but it's a quantum leap forward*...
Behind-the-scenes glimpses and other observations from the last seven days around the car industry
You'd think that given the volume of metal at last week's Frankfurt motor show, there wouldn't have been much news, but there have been some incredibly big hitters this week, with opinion-dividing reveals, reviews and revelations which make the car industry such an exciting place.†
Take a look below - or scroll through above - to find out what's been going on this week that's caused a grin or a grimace.†
The small SUV segment is becoming increasingly prettier, and the clean lines and intricate yet chunky design of the Volvo XC40 is testament to the manufacturer's current design strength, as well as the segment's design focus. The red carpet on the interior weirdly works, too.†
Bit of a wildcard, this one. Roewe - the new name of now Chinese-owned Rover - makes the i6, a mid-sized saloon. Without the rose-tinted retro chintz we've come to associate with throwback models, it looks exactly how you'd imagine a modern-day Rover to look, maintaining the sharp styling details of the 400 R8 with modern details.
It'll never exist in the real world, it's very, very silly (the driver lays on their front) and the performance figures are entirely theoretical. But it's so unbelievably extreme, with its wild, not-tethered-to-the-realm-of-reality styling, extreme aerodynamics and racing details, that we wish it was. Can it please be made in real life, McLaren?†
CitroŽn has finally got its mojo back, and then some. With an interior that wouldn't look out of place in a concept car, the C3 Aircross has the right amount of quirk and is instantly, infinitely cooler than its cousin, the Vauxhall Crossland X. Kia: this is how you do an interior on a funky small SUV.
The old MG 6 left a lot to be desired. Made of unimaginably awful materials inside and with as much quality, charisma and flair as unbranded wheat biscuits cereal, it makes the new 6's interior look like that of a car from a completely different marque. Sure, there are influences from all over the show in there, but it's a quantum leap forward*...
*...which is why it's such a shame that the handsome exterior†styling of the car is so derivative†- the front is a good 75%†Jaguar XE, while the rear is at least 80%†Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Ok, it's not the worst†thing I've seen this week, but MG can do better†and should have the confidence to produce a more original design. Can't we just have the exterior of the Roewe i6 badged as an MG instead?