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Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI 4Motion 2018 UK review

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Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI 4Motion 2018 UK review

What is it?
Volkswagen has ambitions of becoming one of the world’s largest producers of SUVs, so it is trying to leave no stone unturned by developing a model to fill every category in the segment. We recently met the T-Roc 1.0 TSI that provides an answer to the more mainstream end of the class. Today, it’s the significantly more potent T-Roc 2.0 TSI that gets our attention.

This most powerful T-Roc falls into the small but increasingly significant hot crossovers sub-segment, where cooking variants of the Mini Countryman and Mercedes-Benz GLA live. As such, its firepower is provided by Volkswagen’s ubiquitous turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in 187bhp and 236lb ft form.

Our test car mates the unit to a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox and drives all four wheels via 4Motion technology, giving this T-Roc the quickest off-the-line performance statistics of its brethren. The 0-62mph dash takes 7.2sec and its top speed is rated at 134mph – that's enough to beat the cheaper Countryman Cooper S All4 but falls short of the more directly comparable GLA 250 4Matic.

Inside, our SE L-spec car - which is the top trim available until R-Line arrives in May 2018 – gets Volkswagen’s Active Information Display technology (the company's take on Audi’s Virtual Cockpit) in place of dials as standard, giving it an edge over rivals, as well as an 8.0in touchscreen on the centre console.What's it like?
Buyers expecting an interior to match the car’s heated-up performance may be disappointed, because much of the SE L model’s cabin looks familiar to that of the mid-spec SE. The interior is practical and versatile but, on a variant that starts from more than £30,000, its generic design and the use of hard-touch plastics will hamper its desirability.

Standard-fit Active Information Display technology (normally a £405 option) is the car’s saving grace, because it far surpasses the effectiveness of most of its main rivals’ smaller instrument cluster screens. The high-resolution 10.3in display adds functionality and value to the interior, falling second only to Audi's Virtual Cockpit.

In this well-equipped form, the T-Roc weighs a hefty 1495kg, but the TSI engine does a fine job of marching it along and is both sharp to respond and elastic through the rev range. Maximum torque is available from just 1500rpm and it keeps on until 4180rpm, making it easy to maintain swift progress no matter the starting speed. The gearbox is quick-shifting, too; but, unlike other models where this powetrain is used, there’s no sporty soundtrack to match.

Much of our test was on cold, partially snow-covered B-roads, where the 4Motion all-wheel drive does a fine job of maximising traction and minimising slippage when left to its own devices. On lower-traction surfaces, there are four traction settings: Ice/Snow, Road, Off-Road and Off-Road Individual, which offers further customisation. We tried out Ice/Snow on a snow-covered section of grass and the car’s ability to juggle torque to each wheel to maintain traction was impressive.

The traction settings are accompanied by four drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Normal and Sport, as well as an Individual setting. With no optional DCC adjustable damping on our test car, the biggest noticeable changes each mode had related to the sharpness of the throttle and weight of steering.

Volkswagen chassis development boss Karsten Schebsdat told Autocar earlier this month that he has pushed for the T-Roc to be more playful and agile, particularly in 4Motion guise. This certainly seemed to be the case with our test car, which tackled winding roads with enthusiasm and was surprisingly neutral on turn in, only starting to understeer when really hustled into a corner.

The car’s ride is good and the damping well resolved, and although the 18in wheels fitted to the SE L model make cracks and ridges more noticeable, at no point does the ride feel harsh or firm. The way this car can maintain pace along a road without complaint is one of its strongest and likely most desirable traits.


Audi RS4 Avant 2018 review

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Audi RS4 Avant 2018 review

What is it?
The Audi RS4 Avant operates in a rare old sphere of fast compact executive estates that involves only it and the Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate. There’s no BMW M3 estate and, as yet, no sign of an Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio with a square back, either. So if you want a fast, smallish dog carrier for £60k or so, here you are.

Now in its fourth generation, the RS4 also leaves the C63 as the only V8-powered car in this class. Like the RS5, the new RS4’s engine has been downsized to a 444bhp 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6, rather than having the previous generation’s charismatic naturally aspirated V8.

This drives through an eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox, to all four wheels, in a body given a bit more chunkiness and cooling and 30mm-wider wheel arches.

The quattro four-wheel drive system puts 60% of power to the rear wheels under normal driving, but can put as much as 70% to the rear, or, 85% to the front. This is the kind of system intended to make the RS4 more agile. To that end, there’s a ‘sport differential’, an electronically controlled rear differential that can apportion as much power as it likes to either side, as standard.

There are other suspension options, too: hydraulically linked dampers, a bit like those in a McLaren, to reduce roll and pitch. There's also dynamic steering, which adjusts the steering ratio depending on speed, and ceramic brakes. All were fitted to our test car. Other options include a carbon pack at £10k (clue’s in the name). Wheels are 19in or 20in (guess what we got) with 275/30 R20 tyres.

This generation of RS4 is (up to) 80kg lighter than the old one (deep breath: the body by 15kg, engine by 31kg, front and rear axles 6kg each, steering system 3.5kg, sport differential 1kg, quattro driveline 12.5kg, ceramic brakes 8kg and, if you spec them, milled wheels 8kg), but is still a 1715kg car; about the same as the C63.

The two are also within a centimetre of length, with the RS4 at 4781mm long. This is one of those ultra-competitive classes where all of the key numbers are gnat’s widths apart, including a boot of 505 litres (to the C63’s 490).


2018 BMW X3: Our View

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2018 BMW X3: Our View


The verdict: The redesigned BMW X3 is a refined luxury SUV, but the biggest case against it might be another model in BMW’s showroom.

Versus the competition: The X3 boasts decent quality and drivability in a bustling class of compact luxury SUVs, but the more affordable X1 could be the X3’s undoing.Redesigned for 2018, the X3 has standard all-wheel drive and comes in four-cylinder (xDrive30i) and six-cylinder (M40i) configurations. We drove a well-optioned X3 xDrive30i.

Cleaner Styling
The new X3 is decluttered versus the 2017 model, emulating the smaller X1 — a handsome place to start. Three bumper openings replace the prior four, with lighting elements in the outboard units instead of last year's separate foglight dimples. Styling is subjective, of course, but I suspect this will age well — unlike the first- and second-generation X3s, which struck me as too busy-looking.


Pagani Can't Stop Building New Zondas

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Pagani Can't Stop Building New Zondas

Pagani said that the beloved Zonda will be out of production in 2013, but here we are four years later with a new model of HP Barchetta. Not that we complain, because, well, look at this. Like any other probe, it's awesome.

Pagani confirmed to us that the HP Barchetta is a brand new car from scratch, and not just a reworked chassis, like the recently debuted Zonda Fantasma Evo and Zonda Riviera.
The company will build three examples of Zonda HP Barchetta, with the image above, aimed at the personal collection of Horacio Pagani. It is equipped with a 7.3-liter naturally aspirated Mercedes-AMG V12, which is connected to a six-speed manual transmission. While official power numbers have not been released, it's an engine that can have 760 horsepower in certain applications, so it certainly will not be slow.

While AMG produces new 6.0-liter two-cylinder V12 for Pagani Huayra, for many years it did not create a bloated V12s. A spokesman for Pagani told us that this engine was left from an older production specifically for this car.

The Zonda HP Barchetta uses a central monocoque from the patented Carbo-Triax HP52 titanium from Pagani, and the front and rear subframes are steel. The suspension with a double wishbone is used in all four corners, like the Ohlins hand-operated shock absorbers. The brakes are supplied by Brembo, and the tires are "HP" -spec Pirelli P Zeros. All this weighs up to 2,800 pounds.

You can see that HP Barchetta has a very low windshield and a bright airflow that rises above the saloon.

On the car spotted car Marchinetto, several pictures of the magnificent interior of tartan were made on the debut album Pebble Beach on Sunday. Interestingly, he says that the car will cost $ 15 million, but Pagani did not confirm this information with us.

We still know a lot about the Zonda HP Barchetta, but at least we can say with confidence that it's great. I hope this is not the last "new" Zonda that we see.

This story was updated on 8/22/17 at 11:49 with new photos and information from Pagani.