Alternatively known as a 'Scooby-Doo' or 'Scooby' and many more names around the world. The Subaru Impreza WRX STi is an iconic car! Since it's launch in 1992 and with the help of a few World Rally Championship (WRC) wins. The Subaru manufacturer has become a household name for high performance sports cars. Quite a change from the old 4WD farm vehicles which were often found around the country side. Today the Subaru Impreza, is a family friendly 4 or 5-door saloon with plenty of space for the shopping and a couple of kids. (Ed. Err! yeah right! That's not what the Impreza is about!). Ok, the Subaru Impreza WRX STi is a 300+ bhp, all-wheel-drive, super-grippy, great sounding, performance, supercar for the people! There, that's better!....
The Subaru Impreza WRX STi was born and bread on the Rally Stages across the world. What makes the Subaru Impreza so popular is that you can get that same performance and control on the road for an affordable price in the form of the Impreza WRX, STI and special editions.
So why the fascination with the Subaru Impreza. Well for me I think like most people it started in 1995 after a famous fellow Scotsman by the name Colin McRae took the Subaru Impreza 555 WRC out for a few weekend drives and won the World Rally Championship (WRC). At the time I was 15 years old and dreaming about driving like a loony round the streets of my local town and a rally car for he road in the form of the Subaru Impreza could of made that possible. If it weren't for the fact I couldn't afford on nor did I have a driving licence. (minor problems).
Today, I've got my driving licence and matured a bit, no more dreams of terrorising old people and stray cats zooming around like a boy racer. Instead I needed to prove to myself that I could drive sensibly, so went out and did an Advanced Driving course and now I am a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and saving money on my car insurance each year. Not only that, but the course has seriously improved my driving. In fact it's a transformation. Just as well really. Although I still haven't got my hands on a Subaru Impreza WRX (preferably STi), at least I know I've greatly reduced the chances of killing myself behind the wheel of one on the public roads. Might sound lame, but I'm proud of it, so there!! At least now I can enjoy the full potential of what a performance car like as the Subaru Impreza WRX STi has to offer while keeping safe.
So why the Subaru Impreza WRX STi and not the old rival Mitsubishi Evo's Well its' fairly straight forward to me. I have the up most respect for the Mitsubishi Evo range of cars. In fact on paper and on track the Mitsubishi Evo is often seen to be better than the equivelant Subaru Impreza WRX STi . But that don't mean squat. Quite frankly The Mitsubishi Evo does nothing for me. Instead the Subaru Impreza WRX STi and it's winning formula with professional British drivers Colin McRae and Richard Burns behind the wheel in 1995 and 2001 respectively, taking the Subaru Impreza WRC home to become World Rally Champions. No other car had given us a British World Rally Champion! Plain, and simple as that...
Leaked images of BMW?s 8 Series Concept have surfaced online a day before it makes its official debut at the Concorso d?Eleganza Villa d?Este.
Pictures published on Carscoops show that the car will retain the two-door coupé layout of its spiritual predecessor, which bore the same name when it was launched in 1989.
No technical information has been revealed with the leak, but the concept will influence a production model that?s due for launch next year. Recent trademarks suggest a high-performance M8 model will follow soon after.
The car is expected to be built on CLAR underpinnings, which are shared with the 5 and 7 Series, and it could be offered with a 601bhp 6.6-litre V12 engine at the top of the range.
More information will be released tomorrow when the car makes its public debut near Lake Como in Italy.
Photoshoots are part and parcel of being on our fleet. Our cars are shot in detail when they first arrive and again before they leave, and it?s a chance for us to catalogue everything about our new car.
For the Kia Niro, we decided to do part of the shoot outside, around our offices near Twickenham. But for the ?detail? pictures we moved to the security and warmth of our studio, where the car sat with its lights on and the ignition off for perhaps half an hour. And in the process we managed to completely flatten the 12V battery and leave the car stranded.
I received a call from snapper Will Williams, initially to say that, having finished with the car, it was showing a brake error message and wouldn?t start ? and therefore couldn?t be moved. After giving the Niro some time to ?reset? itself, Will called back to say he?d managed to roll it out of the studio, but the interior lights and other electrics were playing up; even the door locks wouldn?t work. Before long, the car was completely dead, and no one was quite sure whether trying to jump start a hybrid was a good idea.
A call to Kia resulted in our Niro being towed away by the RAC to be diagnosed professionally. The explanation we received from Kia later that day confirmed a drained 12V battery, which was duly recharged. Kia?s diagnostics system revealed no further issues.
Now that we?ve got the car back, I?m slowly learning to adapt to running a hybrid car: how to use the regenerative brakes to pump friction energy back into the battery, and learning where the acceleration cut-off between fully electric and electric/petrol engine power lies.
We?re still working on our fuel economy, though, because the 45.6mpg we?re seeing at the moment isn?t particularly impressive. We?ll see if a couple of motorway runs to see family and friends in the next few weeks can improve that number, and I?ll be taking a leaf out of resident frugal driving expert Tim Dickson?s big book of hyper-miling tips to find out what?s achievable.
The UK automotive industry has a turnover of £71.6bn
Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders report calls for continued EU single-market access and long-term ULEV strategy
The UK car industry has put forward five automotive priorities that it wants the next government to address over the next five years ? and they include securing continued access to the European single market following Brexit.
The report has been issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) in the run-up to the general election on 8 June.
As well as reaching a new trade agreement with the European Union (EU), the list includes: ensuring a globally competitive business environment; the development of a long-term industrial strategy that specifically addresses automotive; support for sustainable mobility and ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs); and policies to ensure the country benefits from developments in connected mobility.
Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the SMMT, said: ?British car manufacturing remains in good health with the production outlook still very positive and significant new models due to go into UK production shortly.
?To guarantee future growth and investment into our industry and its vital supply chain, however, we need the next government to safeguard the conditions that have made us globally competitive, keeping us open and trading and delivering an ambitious industrial strategy for our sector.?
A total of 1.7 million cars were built in the UK in 2016, an increase of 8.5% from 2015 and the highest output since 1999. The automotive industry accounts for 12% of total UK exports.
SMMT reiterates Brexit threat
The SMMT has repeatedly warned of the potential harm to the UK car industry if access to the European single market is not reached post-Brexit. Figures show that 57.5% of cars exported from the UK in 2015 went to the EU, with 81.8% of cars imported into Britain originating from there.
The report cites World Trade Organisation figures that the introduction of a 10% tariff on exports to and from the UK could cost the industry £4.5 billion and add £1500 to the price of every imported car.
The SMMT has also called for the future government to ensure the UK automotive industry has unrestricted access to the EU workforce.
Calls for investment in ULEV infrastructure and incentives
The SMMT?s priorities also call for the future UK government to ?take a technologically neutral approach? to reducing carbon and pollutant emissions from vehicles that ?allows motorists to choose from the full range of cleaner technologies being offered by the automotive industry?.
There is also a call for the government to develop a long-term strategy to promote the take-up of ULEVs that includes incentives, infrastructure development, consumer acceptance and the development of new battery and fuel technologies.
UK car manufacturing remains strong
The SMMT also released details of UK car manufacturing levels for April. A total of 122,116 cars were made in the UK last month, a decrease of 18.2% from a year ago ? although the SMMT noted the late Easter bank holiday affected production.
In the first four months of this year, 593,796 cars have been made ? a 1% increase year on year and the highest level since 2000. A 3.5% growth in demand from overseas helped offset a 7% fall in UK sales.
If engine downsizing continues, manufacturers will run into emissions and cost problems according to VW's Herbert Diess
The push to develop ever smaller, downsized engines to meet emissions regulations has peaked, according to Volkswagen brand boss Herbert Diess.
For more than a decade, manufacturers have focused on developing smaller engines, including families of new, turbo and non-turbo three-cylinder engines, in order to meet laboratory-based emissions regulations.
However, Diess believes the cost of developing even smaller engines, coupled with the onset of better real-world economy testing, means the current status quo on engine sizes is likely to be maintained.
?The reduction in the number of cylinders has achieved its goals,? he said. ?Whether it is moving from four cylinders to three or six to four, then we have achieved efficiency benefits while retaining the qualities of driveability. That trend made a lot of sense ? but it comes to an end now. If we go smaller, we will run into emissions and cost problems.?
Diess also said the cost of making diesel engines meet new emissions regulations ? which he estimated at an average of ?1000 (about £850) per car ? would mean buyers of small cars would no longer accept the price hike for the fuel-efficiency gain.
?For city and supermini cars, it is likely that 48V hybrid systems will replace diesels, offering the same efficiency for less money. The internal combustion engine has a long life ahead of it yet, but as we hit the limits of thermo-dynamics, then the cost of hybridisation will be less than that of pursuing gains without them.?
Geely, the owner of Volvo, will take control of Lotus
Geely has bought a 51% majority stake in Lotus - can it provide the energy it gave to Volvo to the British sports car firm?
Things might not happen fast. It took half a decade for Geely?s influence on Volvo to become evident to the public after the Chinese company bought the Swedish car maker in 2010.
But when the new XC90 landed in 2015, it became evident that Volvo and Geely were a pairing disinclined to mess about. The XC90 will be the oldest model in Volvo?s range in just two years? time. With advanced platform sharing and streamlined powertrain design, Volvo is going places, and fast. The mood is light, its executives are happy and energised, and Volvo is a modest company, performing well. Last year it sold more cars than ever before despite having an unfinished range, and the likelihood is that, by the end of the decade, it will sell 800,000 cars a year.
Don?t mistake its modesty for a lack of ambition or direction, either. It intends that nobody should be killed in any Volvo made after 2020, and is ?quite sure? that the diesel engine ?cannot help? once it needs to make cars that produce 95g/km of CO2 or less without high NOx figures.
And so, then, to Lotus, which Geely has just required a controlling stake in. Those words ? happy, energised, ambitious, decisive ? are not ones I?d necessarily have related to Hethel employees when I?ve spoken to them lately. It?s not that there aren?t people there who could be all of those things, but with a struggling parent company like Proton, life is never going to be easy, which is why a lot of its talented engineers have moved elsewhere.
Lotus returned profits last year, it?s true. Remarkable enough, but it came against a background of little money spent on investment and fewer staff than it needs if it?s to rebuild its range. Lotus has been bumbling along, desperately needing great new cars to sell: the remarkable Elise has been a stalwart but, like an ageing athlete, you can?t keep calling on it forever. It isn?t expensive enough to return big profits, either. The Evora is, but it isn?t nearly good enough.
So while Lotus has occasionally had money thrown at it, and usually had great engineers, it has always been short of something. Sometimes money, sometimes the leadership to make sure it builds cars people want, sometimes both. There is no shortage of car makers currently proving that, and if you make a desirable car with a desirable badge, people will buy it. And folk would buy Lotuses, if it only gave them a reason to do so.
What Lotus needs, then, is that energy Geely has given to Volvo - both the drive and the investment. I guess we?ll find out over the coming months whether Geely thinks it can afford to be as hands-off as it seems to have been with Volvo after the course has been set. But my guess is it?ll be a few years before we see how well that path has been steered. Hopefully, this time, at long last, everything will come good for Lotus.