There’s something for everyone going on in the world of cars this week.
If the thought of a super-quick SUV floats your boat, look no further than the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, which has just broken a prestigious record. Honda is teasing us once again as it looks to the future, Kia’s first ever GT edges closer and Nissan’s pioneering electric car is reborn.
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That’s one seriously quick SUV. We want one
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio has set the new benchmark for a production SUV at Germany’s legendary Nürburgring circuit, lapping the epic 12.9-mile Nordschleife in a record seven minutes 51.7 seconds.
It’s a good eight seconds faster than the previous production SUV record.
Italian driver Fabio Francia set the blistering lap record, the same driver who previously set the fastest Nürburgring track record for four-door saloons in the Giulia Quadrifoglio with a lap time of just seven minutes and 32 seconds.
Given that the Stelvio is Alfa Romeo’s first ever production SUV, it’s pretty good going. But then it knows how to do fast.
The range-topping Quadrifoglio is powered by an all-aluminium, direct-injection 2.9-litre 24-valve Twin-Turbo intercooled V6 engine, delivering 510hp and 600Nm of torque, which is coupled with the Q4 all-wheel-drive system.
The engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission with specific settings for shifting in just 150 milliseconds in Race mode. Advanced technology features unique to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio include a four-mode Alfa DNA Pro selector with Race mode, torque vectoring differential, Quadrifoglio-tuned adaptive suspension and cylinder deactivation to maximise fuel efficiency.
A number of ultra-high performance options will be available on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, including Ultra-lightweight carbon fibre shell Sparco racing seats and a Brembo carbon-ceramic material brake system.
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio range is now available in UK dealerships and the Quadrifoglio will join the line up in the UK in 2018.
Honda’s unveiling a new electric sports car
Honda will unveil an all-new electric sports car – the Sports EV Concept – at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show on October 25, as part of what it’s calling “a broad range of advanced two- and four-wheeled production and concept vehicles”.
It’ll also show off a range of Super Cub motorcycle models celebrating its 60-year anniversary and 100 million units. Catching the eye with a striking silhouette, ‘friendly face’ and supple body surfaces, all designed to ensure the car blends into any lifestyle, says Honda, the Sports EV Concept will have its world premiere in Tokyo.
The development team designed the sporty electric car to “deliver a feeling of joy and emotional unity to the drive, achieved by efficiently combining the EV power unit and AI technology in a compact body shape”.
Tokyo will also see Honda show its fifth-generation CR-V, which will include hybrid technology, and its NeuV “electric mobility concept” for commuters will also be there.
The once-maligned Skoda marks a major milestone
It’s not all that long ago that Skoda was the butt of every car-related joke.
“My Skoda can only get to 54 uphill.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“I live at number 62.”
And so on.
But then Volkswagen came along in 1991 and pulled off what is probably the greatest turning around of a car manufacturer’s reputation ever. And now Skoda is celebrating its 20 millionth vehicle rolling off the production line.
It was a Karoq SUV, as it goes, which is apt in summing up just how far Skoda has come.
Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier said: “Producing 20 million cars is a tremendous milestone in our company's history. “We are aiming for another production and sales record this year. The basis for this is our Strategy 2025, which will sustainably prepare Skoda Auto for the processes of change in society and the automotive industry.”
Skoda is actually one of the oldest car markers around.
As early as 1905, the company started car production in Mladá Boleslav with the Voiturette A that had been developed by the company founders Laurin and Klement. Skoda’s 2025 Strategy focuses on the electrification of its models, with the aim to have five purely electric models by 2025.
Kia confirms pricing on its new GT
It’s hard not to love Kia these days and it’s moving into new territory with this beauty – the Stinger.
Then South Korean firm has confirmed that its first Gran Turismo will cost £31,995 when it goes on sale on January 1 – you can order one now. Kia says that the Stinger aims to evoke the classic age of grand tourers.
The car has been six years in the making and is based on the GT Concept from the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Kia admits itself that there were times in the intervening period when it seemed as though the GT would never make it into production form, but Kia senior management were “always enthusiastic about the idea” - they simply wanted to wait until the time was right.
And they’ve decided that time is now.
The company said: “Stinger will be a game-changer for Kia ¬– a car to convince people, if anyone still needs convincing, that the company has put the days when it was a value-driven brand mainly concerned with durability and practicality behind it. “Those attributes are still important, but Kias are now highly desirable in their own right. Stinger epitomises that.”
There will be five versions, based on three trim grades - GT-Line, GT-Line S and GT-S - and three turbocharged engines.
Heading the range is the GT-S, powered by a twin-turbo 365bhp 3.3-litre V6 T-GDi engine capable of taking the car from standstill to 60mph in only 4.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 168mph.
The GT-S is priced from £40,495.
GT-Line and GT-Line S both offer the choice of a 244bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder T-GDi engine or a 197bhp 2.2-litre CRDi turbo diesel capable of up to 50.4mpg and a range of more than 600 miles.
All models drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox with five different shift and throttle programmes and the option of full manual control using the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Nissan unveils next generation LEAF
Nissan led the way with the mass market electric car and the new one is looking sharp.
It offers more range, an overhauled design, more driver assistance technologies and greater connectivity.
Speaking at the LEAF’s official European launch in Oslo, Norway, Philippe Saillard, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nissan Europe, said: “The new Nissan LEAF is the most advanced and accessible 100% electric vehicle on the planet.
“It is the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, our vision for the future. This is a car that will make you feel more confident, more excited and more connected than any other mainstream electric vehicle in history. It is simply amazing.”
So there you have it – in everyday terms that means an improved range of 235 miles on a single charge, 110kW of power and 320Nm of torque. It goes on sale at the start of 2018 and will be priced at £26,490, including the Government’s electric car grant.