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This Week In The World Of Cars

It’s been a great week for petrolheads – or is that an old-fashioned term now?

Polestar, which has been tuning Volvos for some time, is now going out on its own with a tantalising sporty coupe – which can only be ordered online.

McLaren is teasing us with hints of a serious hypercar coming – while it’s boom time for small manufacturers, according to the latest figures.

If you’re looking for a new car visit www.exchangeandmart.co.uk/new-cars and www.s1cars.com/new-cars


Everything you need to know about Kia’s new crossover 

Kia has entered the small SUV market for the first time with its Stonic.

Based on the Rio supermini platform, the crossover will be priced from £16,295 and Kia expects to sell 70,000 worldwide in 2018, with as many as 10,000 of those in the UK.

It gets engines from the Rio and cee’d and, although designed for Europe, it’ll also be sold in Kia’s home country of South Korea because of the positive reception it received.

In the UK there is a five-model line-up based on grade 2 and First Edition trim levels.

All versions offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via pre-downloaded smartphone apps, while electronic driver assistance systems such as autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic switching between high and low headlight beams are available. 

Three engines are available, headed by Kia's 1.0-litre T-GDi petrol with 118bhp.

There will also be the 1.4-litre multi-point injection (MPi) naturally aspirated 98bhp petrol engine and the 108bhp 1.6-litre CRDi turbo diesel from the cee'd range.

ISG, Kia's engine stop/start system, is standard.

All versions are paired with a six-speed manual transmission and are front-wheel drive.

The 1.0-litre T-GDi engine develops 171Nm of torque, with 60mph arriving in less than 10 seconds, and manages on-paper mpg of 56.5, with CO2 emissions of 115g/km.

The fuel economy champion of the Stonic range is the diesel, which has a combined economy figure of 67.3mpg with CO2emissions of 109g/km.

It delivers a meaty 260Nm of torque and acceleration of 10.9-seconds to 60mph.

Meanwhile the 1.4-litre petrol engine, available exclusively in the grade 2 model, has economy and emissions figures of 51.4mpg and 125g/km.


Polestar breaks out on its own 

Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s performance brand, has revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand.

Polestar has confirmed plans for its first three models and a new purpose-built production facility in China.

Polestar also unveiled the 600hp Polestar 1, the company’s first car, which is set to roll off the production line in mid-2019.

Backed by the economies of scale from being part of Volvo Car Group, it’s been able to accelerate design, development and production processes to a fraction of the time it takes other new entrants.

Thomas Ingenlath, chief executive officer of Polestar, said: “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it - a great start for our new Polestar brand.

“All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand."

The Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seat Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain.

Polestar describes it as ‘an electric car supported by an internal combustion engine’ - it has a range of 150kms on pure electric power.

Its output of 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque places the car firmly in the performance car segment.

The Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) but approximately 50% is new and bespoke, created by Polestar’s engineers.

Polestar also plans to revolutionise how we buy cars – its vehicles will be ordered online on a two-year or three-year subscription basis.

The zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription will also add features such as pick-up and delivery servicing and the ability to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range, all incorporated into one monthly payment.

Two more cars are planned for the next couple of years and all of the Polestar’s future cars will be fully electric, the company says, as it takes on the likes of Tesla’s Model 3.

Order books are now open - via an online portal and app.

For those who still want to physically interact with the brand, ‘Polestar Spaces’ will be opened around the world in the future.


Boom time for small manufacturers 

The UK’s specialist, low volume car manufacturing industry is set to enjoy a 60% production boost by 2020, thanks to increasing global demand, according to new analysis published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The UK Specialist Car Manufacturers Report 2017 confirms Britain is home to the largest and most diverse specialist car manufacturing sector in the world, with some of the most globally recognised and iconic brands.

The sector is a global leader in engineering, design and craftsmanship, producing a wide range of cutting-edge products, from high performance sports cars, luxury grand tourers and SUVs, to electric taxis and wheelchair accessible vehicles, the SMMT says.

Latest figures show that in 2016 these car makers turned over a collective £3.6 billion, up 52% from 2012.

In addition, they employed 11,250 people – an 11.5% increase on five years ago – the majority in highly skilled, specialist roles, while also supporting tens of thousands additional jobs across the supply chain.

Thanks to an increasing number of affluent buyers and new markets taking an increasing interest in performance driving and luxury models, production is on an upward trend.

Output has risen by a quarter (25%) since 2012 and, by 2020, it is forecast to surge 60%, from the current 32,000 units to some 52,000. 

The sector is an important contributor to the UK economy, with 65% of the vehicles it produces exported to markets worldwide, including the EU, US, China, Japan and the Gulf States.

The SMMT issued a warning that Brexit negotiations need to provide a positive outcome for this to continue.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Our specialist car manufacturing sector is one of the UK’s global success stories – making world-leading products and pioneering next generation technologies that benefit everyone.

“For this to continue we need certainty on Britain’s future trading relationships, including customs plans, market access, regulations governing the design, production and approval of vehicles, and rules around movement of skilled workers.

“This will provide the assurance the sector needs to remain competitive and make investment decisions that enable it to continue to develop innovative, exciting and desirable products that are the envy of the world.”


McLaren teases ‘most track-concentrated road car yet’ 

McLaren has confirmed that the next model to be introduced under its Track22 business plan will be an addition to the Ultimate Series.

It said “its mission is to be the most extreme, track-concentrated road car McLaren has yet designed”.

To be publicly revealed in the first quarter of 2018, it will be delivered ahead of a second future Ultimate Series model, codenamed BP23, which aims to be the world’s first Hyper-GT.

As members of the McLaren Ultimate Series, both will be produced in very limited numbers and all examples are already assigned.

Ultimate Series models are positioned above McLaren’s core Super Series and have a distinct focus. Previous examples of the Series include the McLaren P1 and McLaren P1 GTR.

So we’re talking top of the top of the range here.

This next model to join the Ultimate Series will be “the ultimate track car”, says McLaren, but will be road legal.

Daily usability is being sacrificed to give “the most intensive driver experience” around a circuit.

Its design, described as “brutal”, will be the “purest expression yet of the company’s ‘form follows function’ philosophy”, it says.

More details, including the car’s name, will be revealed before the end of the year.


Audi raises the executive bar

Audi has unveiled its new A7 Sportback – laying down the gauntlet to rivals in the executive class.

It embraces all of Audi’s latest design, is packed with new tech and has cutting-edge drivetrains.

Chief among that new tech is the AI button, which allows remote parking.

The driver can actually get out of the car and then park it in a space or garage using the myAudi app on their smartphone.

The A7 Sportback features no fewer than 39 driver assistance system as well.

All models will be given the new mild hybrid system, which deactivates the engine in freewheeling mode to save fuel.

It’ll initially launch with the 3.0 V6 TFSI petrol engine, producing 340PS and 500 Nm of torque, propelling it to 62mph in 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph.

The entry version of the Audi A7 55 TFSI returns up to 41.5mpg, corresponding to CO2 emissions of 154g/km.

The 3.0 TFSI is paired with a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission and its output is managed by the latest iteration of the quattro drivetrain using Audi’s ultra technology that activates rear-wheel drive as needed.

Additional six- and four-cylinder engines, both petrol and diesel, will follow shortly after the start of production.

Order books open in early 2018, with prices from £56,000.

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