ForceGT.com http://www.forcegt.com The Latest in Car News, Car Reviews, Aftermarket Tuning, Videos and much more. Wed, 18 Jul 2018 11:18:27 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Toyota brings 5 generations of Supra together for the first time http://www.forcegt.com/news/toyota-brings-5-generations-of-supra-together-for-the-first-time/ Wed, 18 Jul 2018 11:11:36 +0000 http://www.forcegt.com/?p=82973 Toyota has brought together five generations of its Supra sports coupe at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, including the fifth-generation A90 Supra. Fans were treated to the spectacle with a total of 50 Supras from four earlier generations taking part in the event. Most of the cars were the four-gen A80 models, …

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Toyota has brought together five generations of its Supra sports coupe at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, including the fifth-generation A90 Supra.

Fans were treated to the spectacle with a total of 50 Supras from four earlier generations taking part in the event. Most of the cars were the four-gen A80 models, while eight were third-generation models, four second-generation models and one first-generation Celica Supra model.

Tetsuya Tada then drove the A90 Supra into the building, much to the delight of gathered fans. It marked the first time all five generations of the Toyota Supra were assembled together in public.

“I’m just so happy that we’ve made it to this point. I’ve finally been able to reveal the car to the U.K.; it’s the happiest day of my life. And to drive it up the hill at Goodwood was a really exciting experience,” said Tada at the closed-door event.

The hotly anticipated model is co-developed with BMW together with the BMW Z4. It will be powered by a BMW-sourced in-line turbocharged six-cylinder engine, albeit with a different tune to the Z4. Tada also confirmed a 2.0-litre in-line four – also supplied by BMW – will be on offer.

According to Tada, the base four-cylinder variant will be lighter and offer a sharper-feeling turn-in, thanks to “even better weight distribution”. He also commented that those planning to swap engines for the legendary-among-tuners 2JZ unit should go for the four-cylinder model as it will be much cheaper.

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First Look: The Updated 2019 Audi TT http://www.forcegt.com/news/first-look-updated-2019-audi-tt/ Wed, 18 Jul 2018 11:07:25 +0000 http://www.forcegt.com/?p=82970 Twenty years after the series premiere of the original TT, the third generation of the Audi TT is receiving a comprehensive update. Right on time for the 20th anniversary of the first Audi TT, the brand is especially highlighting the sports car character of the new model. Audi has accordingly refined the design of the …

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Twenty years after the series premiere of the original TT, the third generation of the Audi TT is receiving a comprehensive update.

Right on time for the 20th anniversary of the first Audi TT, the brand is especially highlighting the sports car character of the new model. Audi has accordingly refined the design of the new TT, enhanced its performance and extended the range of standard equipment. Besides the driver-oriented Audi virtual cockpit, the basic version of the new model now features the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, a rain and light sensor, heated exterior mirrors and the multifunction steering wheel plus, with which the infotainment and voice control system can be controlled entirely using the steering wheel. Also standard are the illuminated USB ports as well as Bluetooth for wireless pairing of devices.

The exterior design

More masculine, more progressive and even sportier than before – the exterior design of the new TT. The front features a three-dimensional Singleframe radiator grille. Large side air inlets emphasize width even in the basic version.

At the rear, horizontal lines again underscore the width of the new Audi TT. There is no cap underneath the tank flap with its classic TT design; the driver can insert the gas pump nozzle directly into the opening – a typical sports car feature. Headlights with LED or Matrix LED technology are optionally available. The dynamic turn signals are a visual highlight here.

The new designed, optional S line exterior package underscores the sporty character of the Audi TT even more. It includes a full-length front splitter, vertical air inlets, a radiator grille in titanium black and specific side sills with inserts as well as a sporty rear end. Added is a wider diffuser and vertical air inlets below the rear lights with three horizontal fins each.

Powertrains

For the new TT, Audi has a range of petrol engines in various performance levels, paired either with the six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. In both transmission variants, the close-ratio lower gears enable more powerful acceleration, while the wide ratio of each transmission’s highest gear keeps the engine speed down.

Suspension and quattro drive

The new Audi TT offers handling that is both dynamic and precise. If the customer chooses the S line sport package or Audi magnetic ride, the body is lowered by ten millimeters (0.4 in). Other chassis highlights include progressive steering, four-link rear suspension and Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC). The wheel-selective torque control is activated in fast cornering and improves handling as required by means of precise brake interventions on the unloaded wheels on the inside of a curve.

Interior and features

The sports car character is also underscored by the driver-oriented interior with its clear lines. The slender instrument panel resembles an aircraft wing; the round air vents with integrated controls allude to jet engines – a classic TT detail.

Sport seats with integrated head restraints are standard on the Audi TT. S sport seats (standard in the S line sport package) with pneumatically adjustable side bolsters are optionally available. The luggage compartment of the 2+2 seater affords 305 liters of space (10.8 cu ft) underneath the stretched tailgate, while the Roadster offers 280 liters (9.9 cu ft).

All indicators appear in digital form on the 12.3-inch display of the Audi virtual cockpit. The driver can choose between two modes: in the classic view, the speedometer and tachometer take center stage. In “Infotainment” mode, content such as the navigation ­map is enlarged. The new sport ­display is optionally available and provides information on the engine output currently in use, as well as the torque and g-forces.

The MMI terminal on the center console has just six keys. The top-of-the-line MMI navigation plus with MMI touchintegrates a touchpad on the upper surface of the rotary/push-button control that recognizes handwritten input and allows zooming, for example. The voice control system understands formulations from everyday speech.

The new Audi TT is expected to arrive in Australia in early 2019.

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2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk Off-Road Review http://www.forcegt.com/car-reviews/2018-jeep-compass-trailhawk-off-road-review/ Wed, 18 Jul 2018 10:58:17 +0000 http://www.forcegt.com/?p=82803 While we’ve already taken a detailed look at the new Jeep Compass Trailhawk, there was only one question I had that needed answering when it was my turn to get behind the wheel – can this thing handle itself off-road? With most compact SUVs like the Compass having been designed to spend the majority of …

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While we’ve already taken a detailed look at the new Jeep Compass Trailhawk, there was only one question I had that needed answering when it was my turn to get behind the wheel – can this thing handle itself off-road?

With most compact SUVs like the Compass having been designed to spend the majority of their lives confined to cities and towns, you’d normally just say that the answer is a big fat no and call it a day.

But this is no ordinary small SUV – this is a Jeep. If there’s one thing a Jeep must be able to do, that’s making it through the rough stuff. Surely even the Compass – which is built around a transverse front-wheel drive platform, with part-time all-wheel drive in this particular configuration – will be able to manage a bit of roughing it, right?

To test the credentials of the Trail Rated badges on the Trailhawk’s quarter panels and to see whether it’s actually worthy of being called a Jeep at all, I took it out past the Barossa Valley – one of Australia’s oldest and best-known wine regions – to find out.

Exercising a few connections, I was able to gain access to some private property that was covered in tracks that would test the Trailhawk’s ground clearance, tractability, and approach and departure angles – some of the most important things to have confidence in when off-roading – as well as to utilise the many off-roading gizmos and gadgets it was loaded up with.

But before it was time for all that, a 120km drive on the road lay ahead, which the Trailhawk was thankfully pleasant enough over.

While some vehicles with a bias towards off-road performance can often feel compromised on the road, the Compass Trailhawk’s city-centric basic design was enough to do the trick.

On the road, the ride is acceptably comfortable and the turbo-diesel engine – a 2.0-litre unit making 125kW and 350Nm – keeps to itself without too much engine noise intruding into the cabin.

There was a noticeable amount of wind and road noise at times, but it’s a relatively pleasant affair when you’re on the cruise.

Getting up to speed is a bit of a challenge though, as the Fiat-derived ‘Multijet II’ diesel lump never feels quite as torquey as you’d like it to on the road.

When off-roading though, adequate levels of power are all that you need, and the Trailhawk has just the right amount of low-down torque there, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

When you first hit the typical dirt roads you’ll find anywhere in the Australian countryside, the Trailhawk immediately starts to make a case for itself. The ride quality over rutted and corrugated tracks is very good, and it feels stable at higher speeds and rarely felt like it was going to step out on me despite the loose, dusty surfaces.

I was particularly surprised at the lack of bumpiness once I hit the rocky tracks I’d headed all the way out there for. Granted, the speeds at this point were a lot lower, but you’d hardly notice the change of surface if it weren’t for the view out of the windows.

The Trailhawk’s first real test came along almost immediately though, with a rocky, pothole-ridden downhill slope.

For this – and the majority of the time spent out in these parts – I kept the Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system that adjusts the throttle response and traction control accordingly in its Auto setting, as its specific setting for rock-crawling and the whole system in general was, quite frankly, overkill for what most sane people would ever do with one of these.

I also kept it in the 4WD Lock mode, which keeps the power distribution at an even 50-50 front-rear split, as well as in the 4WD Low mode.

Despite the naming of these two modes, and the 4×4 badging on the rear hatch, the Trailhawk doesn’t have a true dual-range four-wheel drive system.

Instead, the Trailhawk runs a normally front-biased part-time all-wheel drive system, as previously noted, while the first gear in its nine-speed automatic transmission is at a particularly low ratio and is used exclusively off-road in lieu of a low-range transfer gear.

While it seems the motto behind this idea may have been to “fake it ‘til you make it”, it’s hard to deny that it’s a setup that works, as it never once seemed to struggle for traction, and the notably low gearing of its first ratio did feel convincing enough.

With everything configured as such, I flicked on the hill descent control – which managed to hold it at the perfect speed to handle this downhill gradient and the surface of it – and simply let the car do its thing.

The most notable thing learned from this test though was the Trailhawk’s tendency to tripod. With one of the front wheels simply dipped into a pothole, the opposite rear wheel was up in the air, which becomes a bit of a recurring theme.

While it may have good ride comfort, there’s a surprising lack of articulation to the rear suspension, with this and the Compass’ short wheelbase causing it to constantly get up on three wheels. Other than that, it didn’t feel out of its element at all so far.

Next up at the bottom of the hill just descended was a dip that lay immediately before an opposing uphill stretch – a perfect place to test the adequacy of the Trailhawk’s approach angle.

Despite the noticeably upturned shape of the front bumper, I was a tad worried about how it would clear this, and looking back over the photos, my initial concern was justified as it was incredibly close.

However, the good news was that no damage was inflicted on the it as the contour of the slope was seemingly tailored to its front bar which has been designed to create an impressive approach angle of 30.3 degrees.

After this, we also had a couple of chances to put it through some shallow water and some muddy ruts. The two biggest takeaways from this were that its 225mm ground clearance is particularly good for an SUV like this – particularly compared to the mere 186mm ground clearance of the Compass’ Sport and Longitude variants, and the 212mm of the Limited model – and that there were no detectable tractability issues with the all-wheel drive system configured properly.

The excellent ground clearance in particular made itself useful on the rocky trails that formed the majority of what we spent our time driving over though, whether it was due to larger rocks sticking up in the middle of a track, or for the many bushes that littered the less-travelled paths on this stunning property.

Verdict

Design and Comfort: 8.0/10

Performance and Economy: 7.5/10

Off-Road Ability: 8.0/10

Quality and Durability: 7.5/10

Equipment and Features for Off-Road Use: 8.0/10

While you’d think that someone would be mad to take a vehicle such as the Compass somewhere like this, the fact of the matter is that you absolutely can.

While the Trail Rated badges, the Trailhawk name, the rugged bodywork, and the various off-roading accoutrements might look like a gimmick on the surface, it really can handle being put through its paces in this sort of off-road environment.

While I wouldn’t go taking one of these rock-crawling or on some sort of Burke and Wills-style adventure, it’s plenty capable for someone looking to have a bit of fun getting to a good camping site or the like, which is apt because the type of people who would be into that sort of thing are exactly who this is aimed at.

Pros:

  • Excellent ground clearance and approach angle
  • Well-equipped with off-roading kit
  • Low first gear ratio makes up for lack of a proper low-range reduction gear

Cons:

  • Lack of suspension articulation leads to a tendency to tripod
  • Lethargic diesel engine that needs to be worked hard at times
  • Good on defined trails, but not quite true Australian outback material

For our full thoughts on the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, you can read our initial review by clicking here. 

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk Pricing and Specifications

Price (excluding on-roads): From $44,750

As tested: $50,645

Tested options:

  • Premium Paint – $595
  • Advanced Technology Group – $2,450
  • Comfort and Convenience Group – $2,850
Warranty: 5 years/100,000km
Warranty Customer Assistance: Lifetime Roadside Assist
Service Intervals: 12 months/20,000km
Country of Origin: USA (Built in India)
Engine: 2.0-litre common rail direct injection four-cylinder turbo-diesel:

125kW @ 3,750rpm, 350Nm @ 1,750rpm

Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
Power-to-Weight Ratio (W/kg): 77.1
0-100km/h (seconds): Claimed: 9.7
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km): Claimed: 5.7/Tested: 7.5
RON Rating: Diesel
Fuel Capacity (L): 60
Body: 5-door SUV, 5 seats
Safety: 5-star ANCAP, 7 Airbags, Reverse Camera, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Hill Start Assist, Automatic High Beam, Adaptive Cruise Control, Parking Sensors Front/Rear, Collision Warning, Hill Descent Control, Lane Departure Warning, Anti-Lock Braking System, Brake Assist, Traction Control, Trailer Sway Control, Rollover Stability Control, Stability Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm: 4,398/1,819/1,657/2,636
Boot Space (min/max) (L): 438/1,251
Turning Circle Between Kerbs: 10.76
Ground Clearance: 225
Wading Depth: 480
Approach Angle: 30.3
Departure Angle: 33.6
Breakover Angle: 24.4
Kerb Weight (kg): 1,621
Towing Capacity (kg): Braked: 1,500/Unbraked: 450
Entertainment: 8.4-inch Infotainment System, GPS Satellite Navigation, DAB+, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, USB and AUX, 6-speaker stereo

Photos by Justin Cribbes.

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Honda adds sporty RS variant to updated HR-V range http://www.forcegt.com/news/honda-adds-sporty-rs-variant-updated-hr-v-range/ Wed, 18 Jul 2018 09:54:45 +0000 http://www.forcegt.com/?p=82925 Honda’s updated HR-V compact crossover will go on sale next month with a new addition to the line-up in the form of the HR-V RS sports variant. The HR-V stable now houses a four grade lineup starting from $24,990 for the VTi and rounding out from $34,590 for the top model VTi-LX. Honda Australia Director …

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Honda’s updated HR-V compact crossover will go on sale next month with a new addition to the line-up in the form of the HR-V RS sports variant.

The HR-V stable now houses a four grade lineup starting from $24,990 for the VTi and rounding out from $34,590 for the top model VTi-LX.

Honda Australia Director Mr. Stephen Collins, said the refreshed HR-V lineup builds on the qualities that the car was first lauded for with improved safety, styling and sportiness all while retaining its unmatched versatility.

“The HR-V is one of the best cars we have brought to Australia in the last decade. Since launch it has consistently been in the top three of private sales for the small SUV segment year-on-year and we believe it to be the most complete small SUV available. The introduction of a new RS grade, builds on the Honda DNA of sporty styling and world-class engineering while ensuring there is no compromise on the comfort and versatility this car is known and loved for,” said Mr. Collins.

HR-V will now be available in four variants: VTi, VTi-S, RS and VTi-LX. Unchanged from before, the 1.8 litre 4 cylinder engine is coupled with a CVT across the range. It produces 105kW @6500rpm and 172NM of torque @4300rpm with a combined fuel consumption of 6.9 litres per 100km in combined conditions.

The entry level VTi comes standard with LED daytime running lights, remote keyless entry, auto climate control single-zone, emergency stop signal, customisable speed alarm, electric parking brake with brake hold and tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel.

Stepping up to the VTi-S there are new designed 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, rear parking sensors, LED front fog lights, LED headlights with auto on/off functionality, chrome interior finishes, smart entry with push button start and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather gear knob.

The RS variant (pictured) is all new to the HR-V lineup, replacing the VTi-L and designed for the customers who want a more edgy and sporty HR-V. While retaining the 1.8-litre engine shared by its stablemates, the RS is also equipped with a new variable gear ratio steering within the motion adaptive electric power steering, translating to a more dynamic and direct ride and handling.

The exterior design of the RS is in keeping with the badge moniker with 18-inch alloy sports wheels, black chrome front sports grille, black mirror caps, dark chrome door handles, honeycomb front lower grille and fog garnish, a piano black body kit, privacy glass on the rear doors and the RS badge.

Inside the RS houses leather-appointed seat trim across driver and all passenger seats, heated front seats, smooth sports leather steering wheel and leather gear knob and sports pedals.

Rounding out the grade lineup is the VTi-LX featuring a further level of sophisticated styling with chrome door handles and a panoramic sunroof. Equipped with front and rear parking sensors, power window with automatic one touch functionality, LED Interior light and LED Map light, auto dimming rear view mirror and an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, the VTi-LX also comes standard with Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System featuring forward collision warning, high-beam support system and lane departure warning.

For the first time Honda’s City-Brake Active System is standard across the range providing audio and visual warnings to the driver in the first instance and applying braking in the second when the vehicle detects a potential collision to minimise the severity.

Honda’s LaneWatch system is also now standard from the VTi-S upwards, providing the driver with an 80-degree view of the passenger side; plus all grades are equipped with a multi-angle reversing camera.

The multimedia functionality of the HR-V remains a 7-inch colour display featuring Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity with built-in satellite navigation across the range.

2018 Honda HR-V pricing and specification

 

Transmission

MLP flat paint

MLP metallic paint

HR-V VTi CVT

$24,990

$25,565

HR-V VTi-S CVT

$27,990

$28,565

HR-V RS CVT

NA

$31,990

HR-V VTi-LX CVT

$34,590

$35,165

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2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Review http://www.forcegt.com/car-reviews/2018-hyundai-ioniq-hybrid-review/ Tue, 17 Jul 2018 11:43:10 +0000 http://www.forcegt.com/?p=82816   What is it? Launched globally in 2016, the Ioniq is Hyundai’s first mainstream hybrid model and part of the brand’s push to introduce up to 15 eco-friendly cars to the market by 2020, consisting of a range of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fully electric vehicles and even fuel cell vehicles. The Ioniq will make up …

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What is it?

Launched globally in 2016, the Ioniq is Hyundai’s first mainstream hybrid model and part of the brand’s push to introduce up to 15 eco-friendly cars to the market by 2020, consisting of a range of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fully electric vehicles and even fuel cell vehicles.

The Ioniq will make up three of the new models, which along with the conventional hybrid, will also be sold as a plug-in hybrid and full EV.

In Australia, the Hybrid is the first variant to arrive and had a ‘soft’ launch in March, where 70 units were put into service with the Australian Red Cross (34), South Australian Government (28) and Northern Alliance Victoria (7) ‘to get real-world feedback about the cars’ performance and practicality’.

The full line-up will launch locally next month, and because it’s not officially on sale yet, Hyundai hasn’t released the pricing for the Ioniq Hybrid tested here. However, we expect the range to start at around the $35,000 mark – the same ballpark as the Toyota Prius.

And like the Prius, the Ioniq Hybrid’s marries a conventional petrol engine with an electric drivetrain to keep emission and fuel consumption down.

The 1.6-litre four-cylinder GDI, Atkinson cycle petrol engine comes from Hyundai’s familiar Kappa family and produces 77kW at 5,700rpm and 147Nm at 4,000rpm, while the electric motor is a permanent magnet synchronous motor and generates 32kW and 170Nm of torque. Combined, the system out delivers 104kW of power and 265Nm of torque, 14kW higher than the Prius Hybrid.

A small 1.56kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery hides in the same space as the 45-litre fuel tank underneath the rear seats. Fuel consumption is rated at an impressively frugal 3.9L/100km, although on test, we managed a combined average of 4.8L/100km – a respectable figure but well short of the Prius’ class leading 3.4L/100km.

While retaining the wedge shape design that is synonymous with most dedicated hybrids, Hyundai’s designers have managed to make the Ioniq look more like a conventional hatch, not to mention much better looking than the overly fuzzy Prius.

Inside, the interior is made of ecologically sensitive materials that look and feel appealing. The black interior is punctuated with lashings of blue on the seats, dashboard, digital instrument cluster, as well as the lower part of the steering wheel, air vents and the starter button.

Interior ergonomics are generally good, too, although for a high-tech vehicle, Hyundai has decided to fit a dreaded old school foot brake instead of an electric parking brake.

Likewise, the graphics on the 8-inch infotainment system looks dated, while the 8-speaker sound system isn’t the punchiest (good clarity though), despite being Infiniti branded and equipped with an external amplifier.

How does it drive?

Hyundai says the Ioniq fixes a couple of often criticised issues on hybrids, especially the ‘elastic band’ feel associated with the CVT hybrid transmissions favoured by its rivals. Indeed, the Ioniq Hybrid uses a 6-speed twin-clutch (dry clutch) transmission that all but eliminates the dreaded CVT drone.

We are also happy to report there is no hesitation from this transmission either, with the car taking off smoothly and when the engine is in stop-start mode.

In Sport mode, the transmission is quick and crisp just like any good twin clutch gearboxes but it’s unlikely you’ll want to put it in Sport often, as the whole point of driving a hybrid is to be as frugal as possible. The ‘ECO driving’ bar also acts like a big red light that discourages you from flooring the paddle because all you’ll want to do is get the little bar full all the time!

Importantly, the hybrid system also switches smoothly without a hint of vibration from under the bonnet.

Unlike the Prius Hybrid which is limited to 30km/h (not to mention a featherweight right foot) if you want full electric mode, the Ioniq goes all the way up to 180km/h when the condition is right! Around town, it cruises in full EV mode as often as a plug-in hybrid model, as long as the batteries have enough juice.

Its braking system is ahead of the game too, not only switching seamlessly between braking with the motor and braking mechanically, but also the most ‘normal’ in feel.

Another area Hyundai sets out to remedy is in the way it drives. They want the Ioniq to be a ‘fun-to-drive and comfortable’ hybrid car and not just an efficient A to B transport. It’s an ambitious claim and true to some extend. The Ioniq is certainly comfortable but it’s no sports car.

Based on a modified version of the new i30’s platform featuring a bespoke multi-link rear suspension made mostly out of aluminium, it has good body control with little body roll. Its batteries also help with weight balance, giving the car good composure but it doesn’t take much to get its nose to push wide.

Nevertheless, drive within its limits and the Ioniq feels just like a regular hatchback with good ride compliance around town.

How practical is it?

Very. You get 563-litres of boot space with the seats up, and 1,518-litre with the rear seats folded – that’s 168-litre and 217-litre larger than the i30’s boot, respectively.

There’s also plenty of storage dotted around the cabin, including a sizeable glovebox and a wireless charging pad for your smart phone.

You get plenty of soft-touch materials on the upper section of the dash and doors, and quality feeling switchgear.

The seats are comfortable and supportive, with the driver getting electric adjustment with memory. At the back, legroom can be a little tight for taller passengers but headroom is good all around even with the standard sunroof.

Verdict

Design and Comfort: 8.0/10

Performance and Handling: 7.5/10

Quality: 8.5/10

Economy: 7.5/10

Features and Equipment: 8.5/10

It’s another sign of how far Hyundai has come from its humble beginnings. If Hyundai could bring the Hybrid to the market at Prius price, there’s no doubt the Ioniq will be another popular model for the brand.

Pro:

  • Smooth hybrid drivetrain
  • Seamless twin-clutch transmission
  • Large electric only range
  • Attractive design

Cons:

  • Foot operated park brake
  • Thirstier than expected

2018 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid pricing and specification

Price (Excluding on-road costs): Estimated: $35,000
Warranty: TBC
Warranty Customer Assistance: TBC
Country of Origin: South Korea
Service Intervals: TBC
Engine: 1.6-litre direct-injected in-line four-cylinder, Atkinson cycle petrol:

77kW @ 5,700rpm, 147Nm @ 4,000rpm

Electric Motor: Permanent magnet synchronous motor:

32kW, 170Nm

Combined System Output: 1.6 Atkinson GDI Hybrid:

104kW, 265Nm

Battery: 1.56kWh, 240V lithium-ion Polymer
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch (dry clutch) with sequential manual mode
Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
Power to Weight Ratio (W/kg): TBC
0-100km/h (seconds): TBC
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km): Claimed: 3.9/Tested: 4.8
Fuel Capacity (L): 45
Body: 5-door, 5-seats
Safety: ·       ANCAP not tested

·       7 airbags

·       ABS, BAS, EBD, ESC

·       Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)

·       Traction Control System (TCS)

·       Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)

·       Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection

·       Blind Spot Detection

·       Forward Collision Warning (FCW)

·       Lane Change Assist (LCA)

·       Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)

·       Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)

·       Smart Cruise Control (SCC)

·       Front and rear parking sensors

·       Bi-Xenon headlights

·       Rear view camera with dynamic guidelines

·       Tyre Pressure Monitoring

·       Full size spare (alloy)

·       ISOFIX

Dimensions (L/W/H/W-B) mm: 4,470/1,820/1,450/2,700
Turning Circle Between Kerbs: 10.6
Ground Clearance (mm): 150
Kerb Weight (kg): 1,375 – 1,467
Boot Space (min/max) (L): 563/1,518
Towing Capacity (kg): TBC
Entertainment: ·       8-inch colour touchscreen

·       Infiniti premium audio with 8-speakers and external amplifier

·       Satellite navigation

·       SUNA Live Traffic Updates

·       Bluetooth

·       DAB+

·       AM/FM

·       Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

·       USB/AUX/iPod

Competitor: Toyota Prius Hybrid

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2018 Lexus NX 300 Luxury AWD Review http://www.forcegt.com/car-reviews/2018-lexus-nx-300-luxury-awd-review/ Tue, 17 Jul 2018 11:33:19 +0000 http://www.forcegt.com/?p=82605 The Lexus NX made a late entry to the burgeoning premium mid-size SUV market in 2014. Better late than sorry, the NX brought instant sales success for Lexus to become its best selling model, accounting for two-thirds of the brand’s SUV sales and every one in five Lexus models sold. In the broader spectrum, the …

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The Lexus NX made a late entry to the burgeoning premium mid-size SUV market in 2014. Better late than sorry, the NX brought instant sales success for Lexus to become its best selling model, accounting for two-thirds of the brand’s SUV sales and every one in five Lexus models sold.

In the broader spectrum, the NX is bringing fierce competition to such established nameplates as the Mercedes-Benz GLC, BMW X3, Audi Q5, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Volvo XC60.

Naturally, Lexus is not letting the momentum slow down so here comes the model’s first major update since its debut. There are changes to the design, updates to the interior and features, as well as improvements to the ride and handling.

The range opening NX Luxury grade, which is the subject of our review here, has been the top selling model in the three-tier line-up which also includes the mid-spec F Sport and the range-topping Sports Luxury. It isn’t a surprise that the base model gets the most deals sealed because it packs excellent value. Where the least expensive variant in the range is usually a poverty pack in rivaling European brands, Lexus has equipped the NX Luxury with toys that you would have to pay a sizable amount of coin for elsewhere.

Priced from $54,800 plus on-road costs for the front-wheel drive version (all-wheel drive is asking $4,500 extra), the NX Luxury comes standard with heated front seats with eight-way power adjustment, steering column power adjustment, power rear tailgate and 10-speaker audio with digital radio. The new update adds such niceties as trailer sway control, heated side mirrors with reversing dip function, Bi-LED headlamps and close and lock switch on the power tailgate.

New interior colours and increased interior colour choices further allow greater personalisation of the cabin, while wide view has been added to the rear camera function to boost visibility when reversing. There is also a larger 10.3-inch infotainment screen with a new graphical interface that operates through the new-generation Lexus remote touch controller.

Major active safety features are now standard equipment. Included in the so called Lexus Safety System+, the safety suite includes Pre-Collision Safety System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning with Steering Assist (now includes steering-vibration warning), Blind-Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Automatic High Beam and all-speed Active Cruise Control.

The added features are backed by a subtly tweaked exterior, with the signature spindle grille on the NX Luxury now sporting a new 3D look with horizontal bars and layer blocks. The front and rear bumpers have also been revised for a sportier appearance, while the taillights have been stretched and the upper tailgate squared off to give the crossover a wider and more muscular stance.

Inside, the aforementioned 10.3-inch high-resolution display is the highlight of the updated interior, along with the more intuitive center console control panel with four easier-to-use (though still odd) climate control toggle switches. Lexus has also heeded criticism by adding a digital speedometer in the Multi-Information Display (well done).

Adding to the premium cabin ambience, the central analogue clock is now larger, with a clearer face and a more pronounced outer ring, making it easier to read. It also has GPS control to adjust for time zones when you drive across borders.

Elsewhere, the wireless charging tray is now wider and longer to accommodate ever-larger smartphones. The voice control – though still in need of intensive English lessons – is now finally willing to work before you think of giving up.

What lets the otherwise excellent interior down slightly is Lexus’ controversial remote touch interface for the infotainment system. While the touch pad is now larger and the reshaped palm rest offers better support, it’s still tricky to operate on the move compared to rival systems, often selecting the wrong on-screen button when you make a selection by pressing down on the touch pad. The new menu structure is an improvement but it is still rather messy. Perhaps, Lexus should take a look at the more user friendly Mitsubishi system, which uses a similar touch pad style interface for its infotainment system.

The NX’ interior dimensions have remained largely unchanged, which means comfortable seating for four average sized adults, or five if the those seated in the rear don’t mind a bit of a squeeze. Further aback, there are 475 litres of boot space, expandable to a generous 1,520 litres with the rear backrests folded down.

Ride quality has stepped up a notch thanks to refinement made to the NX’s suspension to further improve stability, body control and ride comfort. The ride is noticeably smoother at mid to high speed, though low speed ride can still benefit from more effective damping to smooth out the edges.

The previous NX is very a quiet car but this new one is even more so thanks to strategically placed sound deadening which further improves the NX’s already low NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels, making it really delightful to drive around town.

The 2018 NX range carries over the existing powertrains. Under our NX 300 bonnet is a turbocharged 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder engine, putting out 175kW of power from 4,800-5,600rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1,650-4,000rpm. It’s a very refined unit that barely makes itself known under normal driving. Put the hammer on and it emits a purposeful growl as the revs hurl toward the red line. Lexus claims a 0-100km/h time of 7.1 seconds (AWD), not exactly quick but brisk enough for most families’ needs.

The engine can operate on the fuel-saving Atkinson cycle besides the conventional Otto cycle. The late intake valve closing of the Atkinson cycle reduces pumping losses and, as such, boosts fuel efficiency. Fuel economy is rated at 7.7 litres/100km with 2WD and 7.9 litres/100km with AWD. At the end of our week long test our AWD model averaged 9.5L/100km which is quite respectable for a mid-size SUV.

The idle stop and start system is also one of the smoothest we have come across, firing up with the delicacy of a samurai sword slicing through air. However, the six-speed auto, while smooth, could do with more ratios to better keep the engine in its powerband during hard acceleration while also introducing extra overdrive gears at highway cruising to further aid fuel economy.

While the NX was never truly an engaging drive with light controls that give you little feedback, the chassis improvement has contributed to greater responsiveness and reduced body roll for better driver enjoyment. It holds the road well, giving it confidence inspiring handling.

However, the car’s steering remains relatively numb which can knock your confidence somewhat when trying to position its nose accurately around the bends.

Buying a Lexus is always more than just buying a vehicle because its aftersales service is simply second to none. Consistently topping the respected J.D. Power automotive surveys for customer service and vehicle dependability, it’s not hard to see why the Japanese luxury brand has some of the most loyal customers of any car company.

Lexus offers a free loan vehicle when your car is being serviced or can even come to your home or office to pick up and then return your Lexus for servicing. Lexus’ four-year/100,000km warranty is also a year longer than most luxury rivals.

Verdict

Design and Comfort: 8.0/10

Performance and Handling: 7.5/10

Quality: 8.0/10

Economy: 7.5/10

Equipment and Features: 9.0/10

Lexus has made all the right improvements to its most important and best selling model. With the already lengthy standard feature list now made even more exhaustive, plus upgrade to ride and handling, the NX 300 is a very complete premium compact SUV, even in the base Luxury trim. It’s certainly a compelling alternative to the usual European offerings.

2018 Lexus NX 300 Luxury pricing and specification

Price (Excl. on-roads): From $54,800 (2WD), $59,300 (AWD) (tested)
Warranty: 4 years/100,000km
Service Intervals: 15,000km/12 months
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol: 175kW @ 4,800-5,600rpm, 350Nm @ 1,650-4,000rpm, front or all-wheel drive
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
0 – 100km/h (seconds): 2WD AWD
Claimed: 7.3 Claimed: 7.1
Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km): Claimed: 7.7 Claimed: 7.9 / Tested: 9.5
Body: 5-door, 5-seat, SUV
Safety 5-star ANCAP, 8 airbags, Pre-Collision Safety System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning with Steering, Blind-Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Automatic High Beam, all-speed Active Cruise Control
Dimensions: L/W/H/W-B (mm): 4,630/1,845/1,630/2,660
Approach Angle (Degrees): 17.2 (F Sport: 16.8)
Departure Angle (Degrees): 24.2
Kerb Weight (kg): 2WD AWD
1,700-1,790 1,755-1,860
Towing Capacity (kg): 1,000 (with brake)
Entertainment 10.3-inch colour display, Lexus Remote Touch Controller, Satellite Navigation, USB, Bluetooth

Competitors: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-PACE, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Range Rover Evoque, Volvo XC60

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Renault ZOE electric vehicle now on sale to retail customers http://www.forcegt.com/news/renault-zoe-electric-vehicle-now-sale-retail-customers/ Mon, 16 Jul 2018 11:18:59 +0000 http://www.forcegt.com/?p=82833 Renault’s all-electric ZOE is now on sale to the general public due to private customer demand and after undergoing successful fleet trials in Australia last year. Priced from $47,490 plus on-road costs, the ZOE will initially be sold through four specially expanded electric vehicle dealer network in the country. This includes Sydney City Renault in …

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Renault’s all-electric ZOE is now on sale to the general public due to private customer demand and after undergoing successful fleet trials in Australia last year.

Priced from $47,490 plus on-road costs, the ZOE will initially be sold through four specially expanded electric vehicle dealer network in the country. This includes Sydney City Renault in Sydney, Barry Bourke Renault in Melbourne, Unley Renault in Adelaide and Melville Renault in Perth.

The network will further be expanded with a second dealer in Melbourne and Sydney, along with new electric vehicle specialists in Brisbane, Canberra and Hobart.

According to Renault, globally, one electric car sold in every five is a Renault with 170,000 customers owning a Renault zero emission vehicle.

Commenting on the announcement, Andrew Moore, Managing Director Renault Australia, said: “At Renault Australia we’re excited to be taking this next step in the introduction of electric vehicles in Australia.

“We have taken a measured approach to our roll-out of electric vehicles locally, in line with customer demand in Australia. Our initial roll-out was to focus our discussions directly with forward-thinking fleets who want to incorporate an electric vehicle into their existing fleet of vehicles.  As at the end of June 2018, our sales to fleet customers this year have surpassed our initial sales projections.  Since commencing sales to fleets in late 2017, we’ve seen demand from a passionate group of customers who would like the opportunity to purchase a Renault electric vehicle and we’re thrilled to now be able to offer this.

“Along with demand from customers, we’ve experienced positive interest from within our dealer network of existing Renault dealers who wish to expand their product offering and become Renault electric vehicle specialists.  They’ve recognised the opportunity that electric vehicles can bring to their local area and they’ve made the investment in their dealership to become Z.E. ready.

“As part of Renault’s Drive the Future 2022 plan announced in October 2017, Groupe Renault committed to having 8 pure electric and 12 electrified models as part of the range.  From an Australia point of view, we’ve now taken the next fundamental step in realising this vision.

“We look forward to being at the forefront of the inevitable move towards electric vehicles in Australia utilising clean, renewable energy sources to power our transportation,” said Moore.

Pricing (Excl. on-road costs):

ZOE Life          $47,490

ZOE Intens     $49,490

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New Toyota Supra to weigh 1,500kg and has as much torque as a Lexus V8 http://www.forcegt.com/news/new-toyota-supra-weigh-1500kg-much-torque-lexus-v8/ Mon, 16 Jul 2018 10:53:13 +0000 http://www.forcegt.com/?p=82820 More details have emerged on the upcoming Toyota Supra, as the company’s chief engineer disclosed the highly anticipated model would tip the scales around the 1,500kg region and be about as powerful as a V8 Lexus. Speaking to Autocar in the UK, Tetsuya Tada said the resurrected Supra is “around 200 – 300kg lighter than …

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More details have emerged on the upcoming Toyota Supra, as the company’s chief engineer disclosed the highly anticipated model would tip the scales around the 1,500kg region and be about as powerful as a V8 Lexus.

Speaking to Autocar in the UK, Tetsuya Tada said the resurrected Supra is “around 200 – 300kg lighter than the F-Series”, referring to the Lexus GS F and RC F which tips the scales at 1,829kg and 1,795kg, respectively.

But whatever the car’s weight might be, Tada had previously confirmed it would be distributed 50:50 front and rear. Being a “light and compact” sports car, the Supra’s wheelbase will also be shorter than the Toyota 86, which measures 2,570mm.

On the power front, Tada only referred to the torque figure and said it would be about as powerful as the F Series cars from Lexus. That means the Supra could produce around 530Nm of torque from its turbocharged inline-six supplied by BMW.

Expect Toyota to release more teaser images as the 2019 Toyota Supra inches closer to its expected launch date of early next year.

Source: Autocar

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“Hey Mercedes” voice control debuts on 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class http://www.forcegt.com/news/hey-mercedes-voice-control-debuts-2019-mercedes-benz-class/ Sat, 14 Jul 2018 02:32:27 +0000 http://www.forcegt.com/?p=82809 The all-new 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class will arrive in Australia in August starting with the mid-spec A 200 model. Slightly larger than before, the A-Class is said to be more comfortable and equipped with standard features such as the MBUX multimedia system with widescreen cockpit and touchscreen, plus a host of active standard safety features. All …

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The all-new 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class will arrive in Australia in August starting with the mid-spec A 200 model.

Slightly larger than before, the A-Class is said to be more comfortable and equipped with standard features such as the MBUX multimedia system with widescreen cockpit and touchscreen, plus a host of active standard safety features.

All models of the new A-Class are powered by new, more efficient petrol engines and in conjunction with the 7G-DCT transmission.

Available from launch will be the A 200 powered by a new four cylinder called the M 282 with a displacement of 1.33 litres and up to 120 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque. Combined fuel economy is just 5.7L per 100 km.

“Hey Mercedes”

One of the strengths of MBUX is its intelligent voice control with natural language comprehension, which is activated by the keyword “Hey Mercedes”.

The new LINGUATRONIC (included in MBUX with extended functions and with large media display) supports many infotainment functions, for example, destination input, phone calls, music selection, writing and hearing messages.

Conventional voice control systems in cars call for certain fixed commands from their users.

The intelligent language assistance is activated either via a button on the steering wheel or with the command “Hey Mercedes”.

It’s not the human who has to adapt to the machine, but the other way round.

The voice control is also capable of learning. On the one hand it tunes into the user and their voice and also understands non-native speakers better.

The system also no longer answers stereotypically, but varies in the dialogue output too.

Tailor-made and capable of learning

MBUX is highly personalisable and configurable. It is also capable of learning and adapts to suit the user.

In the Widescreen cockpit, the customer has the opportunity to select from three display styles: alongside Classic and Sport, the Discreet style is also offered as a special feature – all displays are reduced to what is absolutely essential here.

Via the 10.25-inch instrument cluster, users can individually configure the information shown there: as an alternative to the classic speed display in the left- hand tube, displays such as the analogue clock, trip computer (from start, from reset, range) or information on the current radio station/media title can be placed there.

In the right-hand tube, as an alternative to the rev counter, an assistance graphic, the current consumption, the ECO display or a navigation map can be displayed.

All settings can be saved in a profile. If two drivers share a car, each can call up his/her favourite settings easily.

Another individualisation possibility with MBUX with extended functions are so- called theme worlds such as private, business, relaxation, sport, etc.

One person can have several theme worlds. They are activated by clicking on the menu bar.

The data record of a theme world can include e.g. climate settings, seat adjustment, radio station, navigation destination, driving mode.

Artificial intelligence is used for the prediction features; which are also part of extended MBUX functions.

With these, MBUX anticipates what the user would like next.

For instance, anyone who often telephones their mother on Tuesdays during the journey home will receive her telephone number as a suggestion on the display on this day of the week.

Anyone who regularly switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.

And if the navigation system detects a route frequently driven, navigation to this destination is already started in the background. For example, MBUX suggests the fitness studio on the navigation screen.

The driver then only needs to confirm, and all the information on the route, such as congestion warnings, is already to hand.

Key facts

Completely new multimedia system MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience:

  • An emotional connection between the vehicle, driver and passengers;
  • Learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence and able to be personalised;
  • Comprehensive touch operation by touchscreen, touchpad on the centre console and touch control buttons in the steering wheel;
  • Intelligent voice control with natural language comprehension and activation using the keyword “Hey Mercedes”.

More driving pleasure and ride comfort:

  • Further improved suspension with MacPherson front suspension with aluminium transverse control arms and multi-link rear suspension (optional equipment);
  • Active damping adjustment (optional equipment) with electronic control: in conjunction with the standard DYNAMIC SELECT (four driving modes), there is a choice of comfortable or sporty damping characteristics.

Modern luxury redefined:

  • Avant-garde styling of the dashboard and a cockpit with no cowl create a unique architecture;
  • The two displays measuring up to 10.25 inches (26 cm) each blend together under a shared glass to form a completely free-standing Widescreen cockpit;
  • Ambient lighting with 64 colours and illuminated air vents in a turbine look (optional extra);
  • And also optional are seat heating and seat climate control.

Fully grown-up:

  • More shoulder room (+9/+22 mm front/rear), elbow room (+35/+36 mm) and headroom (+7/+8 mm), as well as easier entry to the rear;
  • At 370 litres the boot is 29 litres larger than in the preceding model, and more usable;
  • All-round visibility has been improved by reducing the pillar claddings by around ten percent.

The key exterior dimensions and the kerb weight compared with the predecessor:

New A-Class Predecessor Change
Length (mm) 4.419 4.299 +120
Width (mm)1 1.796 1780 +16
Height (mm) 1.440 1.434 +6
Wheelbase (mm) 2.729 2.699 +30
Kerb weight (kg)2 1.375 1.395 -20

Key standard equipment:

New standard equipment not seen before in previous A-Class models includes: new 18 inch aero alloy wheels, MBUX multimedia system with widescreen cockpit (2 x 10.25″ digital screens) and TOUCHSCREEN Central Display with NTG 6 MB Navigation.

Standard LED headlights with adaptive high beam Assist, keyless start and wireless charging.

Standard safety equipment:

The new A-Class arrives with a host of standard safety equipment such as nine air bags (front, pelvis side and window bags for driver and front passenger, side bags for rear occupants and knee bag for driver), Active Brake Assist with semi-autonomous braking function, Active Parking Assist inc. PARKTRONIC, Active Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Assist with exit warning, Traffic Sign Assist and reversing camera.

Local pricing:

The new A-Class will launch on August 10 across Australia and will be available from all authorised Mercedes-Benz dealerships, the A 200 is priced at $47,200 (MRLP).

The new A200 is the first of a complete range of A-Class vehicles that will be progressively launched in Australia.

Timing and information regarding upcoming models in the A-Class range, including the entry model A 180 and the A250 will be available later this year.

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Singer DLS unveiled at Goodwood Festival of Speed http://www.forcegt.com/tuning/singer-dls/ Fri, 13 Jul 2018 13:29:54 +0000 http://www.forcegt.com/?p=82785 Expert Porsche modifier Singer has unveiled its latest retooled 911, the DLS – which stands for Dynamics and Lightweight Study – at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and it sure is worth lusting after. As the name implies, improved driving dynamics in a featherweight car was the aim of the build – which has been …

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Expert Porsche modifier Singer has unveiled its latest retooled 911, the DLS – which stands for Dynamics and Lightweight Study – at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and it sure is worth lusting after.

As the name implies, improved driving dynamics in a featherweight car was the aim of the build – which has been completed in partnership with Williams Grand Prix Engineering – and while it may still look like a normal 964-generation Porsche 911 from a distance, every single panel of the car has been redesigned to increase downforce and to create a more slippery profile than that of the donor car.

The subtle details are what really makes the difference with the DLS, such as the reshaped roof and ducktail spoiler which improve rear downforce significantly, or the ram air intakes located where the rear windows would normally be to improve engine cooling.

The new bodywork is all composed of carbon fibre to reduce weight and to stiffen the car overall, while the rework has allowed for the engine to be sat further forward.

Speaking of the engine, it’s an air-cooled 4.0-litre flat-six developed by Williams Advanced Engineering with input from Hans Mezger that makes 373kW at a stonking 9,000rpm thanks to a unique oiling system, pistons, titanium connecting rods, and lightweight throttle bodies.

The car’s revised suspension system – also developed with Williams Advanced Engineering – utilises a multi-link double wishbone setup at the front and an aluminium trailing-arm setup in the rear, with remotely adjustable dampers all round.

There are plenty of other unique components to finish it all off, such as the centre-locking magnesium wheels crafted by BBS Motorsport that are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres – 245/35 front, 295/30 rear – while a set of Brembo carbon ceramic brakes are housed behind them to provide the necessary stopping power.

Even on the inside of the DLS, there are bespoke carbon fibre seats from Recaro and a similarly unique Momo steering wheel, while the whole dashboard is now crafted from yet more carbon.

With two special occasions to celebrate – the 25th anniversary Goodwood Festival of Speed and Porsche’s 70th birthday – Singer have definitely stepped up to the plate and delivered a fittingly special car in the DLS.

The ultimate air-cooled 911? This could quite possibly be it.

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