Car Reviews

New Skoda Octavia vRS line-up completed as petrol and diesel models arrive

Skoda has unwrapped the complete Octavia line-up, which now offers a choice of petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid powertrains

Skoda has unveiled the fourth-generation Octavia vRS line-up in full. The range is due to go on sale in the UK this autumn and when it arrives, it’ll act as a more practical alternative to traditional hot hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Renaultsport Megane.

Buyers will be offered their pick of either a hatchback or estate, as well as a choice of three engines, which includes a petrol, a diesel and a plug-in hybrid powertrain – a first for the vRS. 

  • New 2020 Skoda Octavia vRS iV plugs in with 242bhp

The petrol engine is the Volkswagen Group’s familiar turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, which is also found in the Golf GTI. It produces 242bhp and 370Nm of torque and it sends power to the front wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox – all of which offers a 0–62mph time of 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.

Skoda’s diesel Octavia vRS uses Volkswagen’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, which develops 197bhp. The engine will be offered with a choice of either front- or four-wheel-drive and a seven-speed DSG transmission – although Skoda is yet to officially confirm the engine’s performance specs.

Finally, the plug-in hybrid Octavia vRS iV is powered by a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a 113bhp electric motor. It’s the same powertrain as the new Golf GTE, developing 242bhp and 400Nm, while CO2 emissions could be as low as 30g/km under WLTP rules.

As well as that CO2 figure, Skoda claims that this hot Octavia can go from 0–62mph in 7.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 139mph. And that’s all while being able to cover 37 miles on electric power only – just as long as you can regularly recharged the car’s 13kWh battery pack. Power is sent to the front axle only, via a six-speed DSG gearbox that can be controlled using paddle-shifters found behind the steering wheel.

Skoda has also fitted a range of chassis upgrades across the vRS line-up, including 15mm lower sports suspension, adaptive dampers, a unique steering profile and a limited-slip differential for the petrol-powered models. The TSI versions also feature 17-inch disc brakes all round, while the diesel gets 16-inch brake up front and 15-inch brakes at the rear.

Design and interior

Elsewhere, the latest Octavia vRS gets a sporty visual transformation. It has a body kit with new, aggressive cuts, and air vents with gloss-black surrounds, a new front bumper, rear diffuser and roof spoiler, while wheels of up to 19 inches can be specified. Gloss-black 18in wheels come as standard, along with full LED-matrix headlights and LED tail-lights.

Best hot hatchbacks on sale now

Inside, the Octavia vRS gets an Alcantara headlining and dashboard trim, Alcantara sports seats, aluminium pedals and a pair of 10-inch screens – one behind the steering wheel and one mounted in the centre of the dashboard. The new sports steering wheel is also a unique three-spoke unit, compared with the two-spoke wheel on the normal Octavia.

2020 Skoda Octavia vRS: pricing

Prices for the plug-in iV version are likely to start from £32,000, and it will be positioned as the most expensive version of the new Octavia vRS trio. UK specifications and standard equipment levels have not yet been finalised, however.

Do you like the look of the new Skoda Octavia vRS iV? Let us know your thoughts below…

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McLaren forced to put new wind tunnel on hold

McLaren are looking to recommence work on major projects, such as their new wind tunnel, after recently securing additional funds.

The Woking team has received a £150million loan from the Royal Bank of Bahrain after months of exploring different options which did include the potential to sell a minority stake in the McLaren Group company.

But McLaren’s financial struggles have now been ‘solved’ with this new cash boost and one of Seidl’s main focuses is to get the team back to being fully operational in all areas again.

“At the beginning of this crisis we simply had to put on hold all the infrastructure projects we were working on,” Seidl told the official Formula 1 website, amongst others, in a video call.

“Even now, not knowing exactly how the income will look like during this year, we are still cautious there, and simply have to wait until we have the green light there again.

“As you can imagine I’m pushing hard to get these different infrastructure measures in place again as quickly as possible.

“We all know this will be key in our journey back to the front in Formula 1 as we have a deficit there compared to the top teams. I’m quite optimistic once we are through this crisis we get back on track with our infrastructure as well.”

Get your hands on the official McLaren 2020 collection via the Formula 1 store

Seidl also said that, despite a turbulent start to the year, McLaren’s plans for the 2020 and 2021 campaigns have been largely unaffected as they look to build on their P4 finish in the 2019 Constructors’ Championship.

He added: “The financial challenges we were in, and also with the measures we took in place quite early on with the pay cuts and the furlough, which was in parallel with the shutdown, to be honest didn’t really affect our output for this year or for next year.

“We are on course with the plan we set out over the winter.

“We are planning to bring updates regularly from Austria onwards on the car, and at the same time we are flat out in getting next year’s car ready with the biggest topic being the integration of the Mercedes power unit.”

Formula 1 is almost back! Check out our preview video for the season opener in Austria:

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Car Reviews

New 2020 Bentley Bentayga unites line-up with radical facelift

Engine line-up remains unchanged, but a new face aligns the Bentley Bentayga SUV with the Continental GT and Flying Spur

This is the facelifted Bentley Bentayga. The British firm’s biggest selling model has been given a radical redesign to bring it in line with the latest Continental GT and Flying Spur.

Every panel at the front end of the Bentayga has been altered. It receives a larger, more upright grille with new dual LED Matrix headlights inspired not just by the Continental and Flying Spur, but also crystal cut glassware. The new lights sit 30mm higher than before, raising the nose to give the front end a more imposing look.

  • Best luxury SUVs 2020

Beneath sits a new front bumper intended to exude a sportier character, while small changes down the sides include a longer side vent on either front wing and tweaked door sills. 

Changes around the back are more dramatic and mark out the Bentayga’s evolution towards the brand’s latest design language. The tailgate grows in width and changes in shape, with the licence plate repositioned onto the rear bumper. The taillights change completely from the rectangular set on the pre-facelift car to adopt the oval shape used on the latest Continental GT. The lattice style signature evokes the headlights, intended to give the rear lights a “jewellery-like appearance” when they are lit.

Smaller changes at the rear include larger exhaust pipes and a new rear spoiler. Elsewhere, a new set of 22-inch wheels are available alongside the existing quartet of designs, two new paint colours have been added to the options list, and a new Blackline exterior package can replace all the chrome elements with gloss black trim.

Design changes inside mainly centre around new cabin technology, though the door trim design has been changed too. The centre console has been redesigned and now accommodates a new 10.9-inch touchscreen display. The system is running new software, and features wireless Apple CarPlay for the first time. Android Auto is also included. Elsewhere in tech, the instrument panel is now wholly digital, while in the back, passengers are treated to a larger touchscreen remote tablet for controlling various rear seat functions. 

The connectivity ports move to the USB-C standard, the Bentayga gains its own integrated SIM card, providing a standalone data connection, and a wireless smartphone charging pad has been added. 

The interior is still available in three configurations. The Bentayga is offered as a four seater with two full size rear seats, a five seater with a bench second row, and as a seven seater with a pair of folding seats in the boot. Four seater versions benefit from a bit of additional kneeroom compared with before, and the ability to recline the seats 100mm further. A newly redesigned second row bench means the five seat Bentayga’s rear passengers can recline a little further too.

From launch, the only version of the Bentayga will be the V8, which uses a turbocharged 4.0-litre petrol engine developing 542bhp. Benltey says 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds, while top speed is quoted as 180mph. Drive is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. 

Chassis changes are limited to a 20mm wider rear track. Bentley says this change works not only alongside the new, wider look to the rear end, but also reduces steering effort and improves steering response, too. In total, the Bentayga fields eight selectable driving modes if customers opt for the optional All-Terrain pack.

Bentley has also confirmed that a facelifted version of the 6.0-litre W12 Bentayga Speed is coming, while a six-cylinder petrol plug-in hybrid model is also in the works. Diesel remains absent from the line-up.

Q&A with Stefan Sielaff – Director of Design, Bentley

Q: How does the new Bentayga unite the family from a design point of view?

A: I think it’s mainly about the front with the matrix grille and headlights, and the crystal cut theme. This is now one genetic code of the portfolio for these years, but obviously we will carry on – we have shown already in the XP100 GT and the Bacalar how things will develop. 

I think it is also around the details, like how the wheels look like. It’s always this balance between sport and elegance that makes a Bentley a Bentley. This is something we do rather similar on the Continental or Bentayga, it’s the family feeling we try to generate. 

Q: Do new releases beyond this car come with a new design language?

A: I think we will do. When we talk about new models we will do some bigger steps. I think this is rounding up one statement which I think will be quite prominent for the coming years. And then what’s next we will have to discuss. It’s a little too early now, we have to experiment. 

Do you like the look of the new Bentley Bentayga SUV? Let us know in the comments section…

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Car Reviews

New MINI JCW GP 2020 review

The new MINI JCW GP is the brand’s fastest ever hatch, but it's also its most expensive

  • 3.5 out of 5


    The MINI GP is a car that delights and frustrates in equal measure. The performance from its 2.0-litre engine is phenomenal, while it feels like a miniature touring car thanks to its handling set-up. What hinders the GP is its slow automatic gearbox and overly firm ride. It’s a car that you have to fight with to get the best out of, so while it may be exciting, it’s not hugely rewarding.

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    Before you even lay eyes on MINI’s latest model, there’s one figure that tells you everything you need to know about it: 164mph. The third iteration of the John Cooper Works GP is the fastest, maddest and most unhinged MINI ever.

    Only 575 examples of the 3,000 to be built will be sold to UK buyers, which means MINI can slap a premium on such a car – and it has. At £35,345, the GP is the most expensive MINI hatch ever made, but you get quite a lot of small car for your money.

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    • As a quick recap, this latest GP uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine developing 302bhp and 450Nm of torque. We have seen that sort of power in a MINI before, but only in combination with four-wheel drive. The GP is front-wheel drive only and comes exclusively with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. No manual ’box is available, even as an option.

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      The GP’s cosmetic makeover is certainly eye-catching, but not exactly tasteful. The exoskeleton-style, carbon-fibre wheelarches have been added to allow MINI to widen the front track, to help improve the car’s grip, but they look like an afterthought and simply appear to have been stuck on.

      Our first drive in Germany showed the GP to be a feisty and fun hot hatch, but question marks were raised over the car’s ride quality – or lack of it. Within just the first mile on UK roads it’s apparent that the GP’s set-up is very focused, but unforgiving. The suspension is extremely firm, which means the car bobs and fidgets over mildly uneven surfaces.

      One thing you can’t question is the effectiveness of the 302bhp engine. There’s a bit of lag below 2,500rpm, but beyond that point the engine has relentless thrust all the way through the mid-range and right up to its 6,500rpm rev limiter.

      MINI says 0-62mph takes 5.2 seconds, which is staggeringly quick for a front-wheel-drive car. And that’s exactly how the GP feels. However, the engine is hindered by the eight-speed automatic gearbox, which feels off the pace and not in sync with the rest of the car. Changes are laboured and, even if you try to counter the problem by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, sometimes they don’t happen at all.

      This amount of power is at the very limit of what the MINI can handle. Accelerate hard and the front wheels scramble to find purchase on the tarmac; once they bite, the mechanically locking differential struggles to contain the power and distribute it efficiently between the front wheels, which leaves you fighting with the sports steering wheel as it writhes away in your hands.

      Where the GP does shine is through the corners; the front end has unrelenting grip and doesn’t even entertain the idea of understeer. Turn in and the GP bites into the road and slingshots you round at staggering pace – a clear indicator that this is indeed a track-day toy and not a model designed to be used primarily as a road car.

      The fact there are no rear seats certainly compounds that, but the rest of the cabin is largely identical to what you’ll find in any of MINI’s other current products. Padded leather seats, a digital instrument binnacle and a large central screen with MINI’s iDrive system bring a sense of normality to the GP.

      If you want some more creature comforts on top of that, you can also add the optional GP Touring Pack, which includes automatic air-conditioning, heated seats and the Navigation Plus Pack for a further £2,000.

      Model: MINI John Cooper Works GP
      Price: £35,345
      Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
      Power/Torque: 302bhp/450Nm
      Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive 
      0-62mph: 5.2 seconds
      Top speed: 164mph
      Economy: 38.7mpg
      CO2: 167g/km
      On sale: Now

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    Car Reviews

    New BMW M3 Competition prototype review

    We get to grips with a prototype version of the new 503bhp BMW M3 Competition in prototype form, while also trying out the new BMW M4 Competition


    The BMW M3 remains a driver’s car of excellent quality. BMW has sensitively and thoughtfully applied new technology to the M3 throughout its generations, without ever going overboard. These new cars continue that trend, while also blending comfort with their explosive performance. 

    Familiar and immediately grin inducing – that’s exactly how the first few corners in the new BMW M3 feel, and while that’s precisely what we’ve come to expect over five generations of Munich’s performance saloon icon, M Division’s engineers have once again been able to add just a little bit more to the recipe. This is despite the prototype we’re driving – alongside a similarly near-finished M4 – being only 90 per cent complete, according to BMW M Development Manager Dirk Häcker.

    Under the bonnet, a familiar tale is played out in the form of 3.0-litre, turbocharged straight-six power. But this engine is new. It’s the S58 used in the latest X3 M and X4 M SUVs, but its proper home is right here in the M3, where it plays out its typical, high-revving BMW M characteristics to the fullest. In the normal M3 it develops 473bhp, while the new M3 Competition – likely the only model we’ll get in Britain – steps things up to 503bhp.

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    A six-speed manual gearbox is found on the standard cars, while Competition variants are equipped with an eight-speed automatic, not reliant on dual-clutch technology but instead using torque converter tech. That’s unconventional in modern performance cars.

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    Häcker cannot reveal complete details about the chassis work just yet, but teases some of the changes. Compared with the regular 3 Series, the M3 gains a stiffer front axle, new electronically controlled dampers, and a reworked locking rear differential.

    On base M3 and M4 models, the wheels are 18-inches at the front and 19-inches at the rear, growing to 19 and 20-inches respectively on Competition models and shod on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. Naturally, carbon ceramic brakes are optional. Both our M4 and M3 Competition prototypes are rear wheel drive. The oft rumoured four-wheel drive version? "An M xDrive is coming, but only later," says Häcker.

    Our time with the cars is short, but enough to get under the skin of both. The M4 is up first, and the first thing you notice, compared with the last M4 and 4 Series, is the seating position – it’s much lower than before, and feels more purposeful. We set everything to Sport Plus, but the first thing that springs out isn’t oversteer, but turn-in. It feels like the front axle is shod with slicks, and the nose of the car is far more aggressive and keen to fire into the apex than before.

    The engine is a known quantity from our experience of it in the X3 and X4 M, and here the linearity of response and climb to its 7,200rpm is all the more enticing, with a proper six-speed manual gearbox only adding to the sensation. Gentle oversteer is easily controllable, and while BMW has not confirmed a weight for the M4, it certainly feels lighter than before. 

    The M3 will probably be around 100kg heavier than the M4, but here – in Competition spec, mind you – the sensations it delivers are extremely similar, with no trace of additional weight detectable on turn in. The gearbox is the most interesting aspect though. While the slick shifting six-speed manual delivers maximum engagement, the eight-speed torque converter automatic is not a flop, with wonderfully rapid fire upshifts with seemingly no loss of drive between gears. 

    Despite the demands of regulators, and the petrol particulate filters equipped within the new exhaust system, the M3 hasn’t totally lost its voice. Trademark six-cylinder bark is there, but looking at the size of the tailpipes, we’d expect a bit more volume and crackle. Perhaps that will come when BMW completes the final 10 per cent of the newcomer’s development programme. 

    Model:  BMW M3 Competition
    Price: £76,000 (est)
    Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl turbo petrol
    Power/torque: 503bhp/600Nm
    Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive 
    0-62mph: 3.9 seconds
    Top speed: 174mph
    Economy: 28mpg (est)
    CO2: 250g/km (eat)
    On sale: Late 2020

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    Car Reviews

    New 2021 Citroën ë-C4 Offers 350 Km (217 Miles) Of WLTP Range

    This is the first C-segment (compact) product created over the e-CMP platform.

    Berline is the word the French use for sedans. What would you call the new ë-C4, a hatchback or a sedan? Citroën defines it according to the language its press releases are meant to. The English version defines it as a hatchback. The French text names it a “berline.” Whatever you call it, this is the first C-segment car built over the e-CMP platform.

    Joking aside, we know “berline” became a word that defines almost any car in French, but its original meaning was related to the most famous three-box type of vehicles for sale. Perhaps the idea is to have something challenging to define correctly. It is worth remembering the Tesla Model S is considered as a sedan, even presenting a hatch.

    With a wheelbase of 2.67 m (105.1 in), the compact ë-C4 is 4.36 m (171.7 in) long, 1.80 m (70.9 in), and has a 380 l (13.4 ft³). Despite its crossover looks, the ë-C4 is low: only 1.53 m (60.2 in) tall. That is only marginally taller than the former C4, which was 1.49 m (58.7 in) tall and precisely the same height as the C4 Cactus, which it replaces.

    Being longer and lower than its e-CMP platform brothers – such as the Peugeot e-2008 and the Opel Mokka-e – it manages to get more range of the 50 kWh battery pack they all have probably by offering a lower air drag coefficient.

    Instead of the 322 km (200 mi) of the Opel and 310 km (193 miles) of the Peugeot, the Citroën offers 350 km (217 mi), always under the WLTP cycle. When you compare the metric system numbers, that is an 8 percent improvement over the Mokka-e and 11.4 percent over the e-2008. Remember, we are talking about a larger vehicle.

    The battery pack is not the only thing these three EVs share. They also have the same 100 kW (134 hp) motor and the same governed top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph). Think about them as three different packages for the same filling. Pricing will probably define which one will make most fillings leave the shelves, but the ë-C4 has a very good shot with its more extended range and crossover-like style.

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    Car Reviews

    New 2021 Citroen C4: all-electric e-C4 joins petrol and diesel options

    The new-look Citroen C4 abandons its hatchback roots for an SUV-like look, while an all-electric e-C4 joins petrol and diesel powertrains in the line-up

    This is the all-new Citroen C4, the first model from Citroen to be offered with the choice of a diesel or petrol powertrain as well as a fully electric option, which will be badged e-C4.  

    With the regular hatchback market suffering in the wake of the SUV boom, Citroen has taken a different approach with its new C4. As revealed by Auto Express earlier in the year, the VW Golf and Ford Focus rival has morphed into a crossover.

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    Speaking to Auto Express, Citroen’s CEO Vincent Cobée told us how the segment needed reinventing. “I would agree that the C-segment has been a fairly traditional sector and is probably right for changes,” Cobée explained. “One [idea] is to find the proper balance between affordability, versatility and comfort, better access, and better visibility, as there’s probably also a need for more spice in the style.”

    The new C4 borrows styling cues from the larger C5 Aircross SUV as well as the 19_19 concept that was revealed as a preview of the future of Citroen design. Its influence can be seen in the head and tail-light design of the new C4. The images also reveal both petrol and electric versions of the C4, and clearly show that whichever powertrain buyers choose, the look of the crossover will be identical, with the exception of blue detailing on the badges of the e-C4.

    It measures 4,360 mm long, 1,800 mm wide, 1,525 mm high, making it noticeably larger than a VW Golf. Citroen claims boot capacity of 380 litres across every model, while wheel sizes range from 16 to 18 inches in diameter. 

    The cabin is a more gentle redesign of what we can see in today’s C4 Cactus. A new 10-inch digital dashboard and instrument binnacle are obvious, while a redesigned centre console also appears. Wireless smartphone charging as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are also included.

    Citroen also claims there are 16 storage compartments dotted throughout the cabin that add up to 39 litres of additional storage.

    Citroen C4 and e-C4 engines and powertrains 

    The C4 and e-C4 has launched with a total of three petrol, one diesel and one electric powertrain options. However, not all are likely to be made available to UK buyers. 

    Petrol options include Citroen’s PureTech 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine in three states of tune: 99, 128 or 153bhp. All models will be front-wheel drive, while the more powerful versions will be offered with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The only diesel option will be a 101bhp 1.5 litre, which can be had with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.

    The e-C4 makes use of a 50kWh battery that will power an electric motor, developing 135bhp, on the front axle. Citroen claims the e-C4 can cover 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds, hit a top speed of 93mph and cover 217 miles on a single charge. Using a 100kW fast charging station will replenish the battery to 80 per cent in 30 minutes, while a domestic 7kW wallbox charger takes a little over seven hours. 

    One thing Citroen has confirmed is that all C4s will have the firm’s new progressive hydraulic suspension set-up. The car’s springs and shock absorbers work with hydraulic compression and rebound stops, which are designed to gradually slow body movement over bumps and potholes. 

    Sales of the new C4 will begin in January, with prices likely to start from around £19,000. The e-C4 should come in at less than £30,000 once the Government’s plug-in car grant has been taken into account.

    Click below to see more pictures of the best crossovers and SUVs on sale…

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    Car Reviews

    New entry-level Porsche Taycan unveiled in China

    A cheaper, rear-wheel drive version of the Porsche Taycan EV has been launched, with a maximum claimed NEDC range of 304 miles

    Porsche has unveiled an entry-level, rear-wheel drive version of the all-electric Taycan for the Chinese market. It’s available to pre-order now, with prices starting from ¥880,000 (roughly £100,000).

    The entry-level Porsche Taycan is powered by a single permanent-magnet motor mounted on the rear axle. The motor has a maximum output of 469bhp with Porsche’s overboost function activated, providing a 0–62mph time of 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 143mph.

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    Buyers have their choice of two battery packs. As standard, the entry-level Taycan comes with a 79.2kWh battery pack, which Porsche says provides an NEDC range of 257 miles. The same 93.4kWh battery pack from the flagship four-wheel drive variant is available as an optional extra, which raises the car’s claimed NEDC range to 304 miles.

    The base-model Taycan comes with a domestic 11kW wallbox charger, which should fully recharge the larger battery pack in around nine hours. The car’s platform is also compatible with commercially available DC fast chargers, which allows both batteries to recover an 80 per cent charge in just 30 minutes.

    To help keep the entry-level Taycan’s starting price low, Porsche has stripped away some of the flagship car’s chassis technology. So, it comes with smaller 19-inch alloy wheels, slightly smaller brakes and steel springs rather than air suspension – although the latter is available as an optional extra.

    Porsche has retained the range-topping model’s electronically controlled dampers, torque vectoring system and regenerative braking system, which the company says can perform most everyday braking functions without assistance from the car’s traditional disc braking system.

    Inside, Chinese buyers get a pair of 14-way electrically adjustable sports seats, dual-zone air conditioning, a panoramic glass roof and three digital screens for the car’s gauge cluster, infotainment functions and climate control system. Also, thanks to the removal of the front electric motor, the base-model Taycan’s front luggage compartment swells to 491 litres.

    The base-model Taycan’s options list is even more extensive than the flagship car’s, with buyers being offered an extra touchscreen for the front passenger, seven extra body colours, a choice of alloy wheel designs, a range of upholstery finishes and fresh head-up display, which makes its first appearance on this new entry-level variant.

    Porsche is yet to confirm whether the new entry-level Taycan will be sold in the UK. But, given the growing appetite for all-electric vehicles, it’s likely that Porsche will introduce it to the European market later in the year. 

    What do you make of the new entry-level Porsche Taycan? Let us know in the comments section below…

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    Car Reviews

    GM's Baojun Sells New EVs In China For Less Than $10,000

    Customers interested in a really small EVs in China can now go with Baojun E300-series.

    Baojun, the Chinese brand launched in 2010 by SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture (between SAIC, GM and Liuzhou Wuling Motors), started sales of new all-electric microcars, the E300 and E300 Plus.

    Those tiny EVs (E300 is 2- or 3-seater, while E300 Plus is a four seater) are available in a total of six versions and in five body colors, from RMB 64,800 ($9,154) to RMB 84,800 ($11,980), and really may be a great solution for crowded megacities in China.

    Both models are equipped with 40 kW and 150 Nm electric motor, which is enough for a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). Interestingly, there is a DC fast charging option (in one hour).

    The slightly smaller E300 has a range of up to 260 km (162 miles) NEDC, while the E300 Plus can go up to 305 km (190 miles).

    Baojun E300 and E300 PLUS

    The E300-series is also well equipped as per microcar standards, including McPherson independent suspension and double-wishbone independent suspension design, a touchscreen multifunction steering wheel, aluminum wheels, connectivity system, real-time road navigation, voice interaction system, as well as ESC, the ABS with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), hydraulic brake assist (HBA), and dual front airbags.

    Baojun E300 and E300 PLUS

    Gallery: Baojun E300 and E300 PLUS

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    Car Reviews

    Skoda Octavia Mk4 gets a new G-Tec variant – 130 PS 1.5 Miller-cycle TSI engine; 500 km of range with CNG –

    Several months after the fourth-generation Skoda Octavia made its debut, the company has now released a new G-Tec variant of the five-door family sedan. Powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), the Octavia G-Tec will be launched across Europe this autumn and promises to be kinder to the environment when compared to its petrol-powered siblings.

    From the outside, the G-Tec variant looks like a regular Octavia, with only a dedicated badge located at the rear to identify it. More significant are the three tanks installed in the underbody that can store a total of 17.33 kg of CNG and nine litres of petrol, which the car can draw fuel from depending on the situation.

    According to the Czech carmaker, the car only accesses the petrol fuel supply when the engine is started after the CNG has been topped up, when the outside temperature is below -10 degrees Celsius, or when the gas tanks are so empty that the pressure drops below 11 bar.

    Both fuel types are fed to a 1.5 litre turbocharged four-cylinder TSI Miller-cycle engine that makes 130 PS (129 hp), which offers up to 500 km of range when running on CNG only following the WLTP cycle, or up to 190 km with just petrol. As a result, the combined total range is close to 700 km, and switching between the fuels happens automatically without driver intervention.

    In CNG mode, CO2 emissions are 25% lower than those of a conventional petrol engine and the company notes that using 20% bio-CNG – common in Germany – the car’s carbon footprint can be improved by as much as 40%. This goes up further up to 90% with fuel mixtures that have an even higher percentage of bio-CNG.

    There is a downside with the G-Tec variant, and that is boot space. With the additional fuel tanks in place, the sedan can only hold 455 litres, which is 145 litres less than a regular, petrol-powered Octavia. This applies to the Combi wagon body style too, as it has just 495 litres of boot capacity in G-Tec guise compared to 640 litres with the normal version.

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