+++ Autonomous technology developed by BMW ‘s i division for its first driverless car will start to trickle out into the brand’s wider model range from 2021, BMW senior vice president Hildegard Wortmann has told. Wortmann said this trickle technique was used to integrate electric technology from the i3 and i8 into almost every model in BMW’s line-up. “BMW has the largest number of plug-in hybrids on the road”, she said. “You can have a plug-in hybrid from the 2 Series Active Tourer to the 7 Series, so in every segment we have an offer out on the street today”. Wortmann explained that the passing of EV technology to the wider range means the division isn’t tied to electric powertrains anymore. She said that the i brand’s core focus was now on developing autonomous systems. “With BMW i, the i is not electric – otherwise it would have been an e – the i is for innovation and incubator function”, she said. “We always said the first generation for BMW i would be focused on the incubator function for electro mobility, but BMW i will move on and you will see that in our 2021 car. Wortmann said that beyond 2021, this pattern would continue with the next phase of technology. “The i brand will always stand for the latest, very specific stuff”, she continued. “It gives us a great chance to come up with cool stuff without having to go to the wider range immediately. When we launched the i brand the focus was on EVs. Now it’s on autonomous technology, but after that, the focus will move on”. +++

+++ CADILLAC president Johan de Nysschen has told the press that the brand will introduce a new crossover, smaller than the current XT5, in mid-2018. This new model, tipped to be dubbed the XT3, will be just the one of a handful of new crossover/SUV models from Cadillac designed to cash in on the swelling demand for such vehicles. According to de Nysschen, the brand isn’t making the most of these shifting consumer desires. “The core part of our volume lineup is in the market that’s contracting while we are unable, as good as XT5 and Escalade are, we are unable to fully exploit the updraft that’s taking place in the other half of the market”, he said. The XT3 will be constructed at the Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City and that between 25,000 and 30,000 units will sell annually. After the arrival of the XT3, Cadillac will launch a new SUV to slot between the XT5 and the Escalade and then, a slightly smaller crossover variant could arrive early next decade. Speaking of this plan, de Nysschen said: “That should put us in the strong position, whether the market continues to favor of crossovers, we have them. If it rebounds back into sedans, we have them, we’ll be in a far better balanced position”. +++

+++ NISSAN ’s legendary Z-car is making a long-awaited comeback. At the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show in November 2017, Nissan will reveal a next-generation Z concept powered by a range of powertrains that will challenge the best from Germany. The new Z concept will adopt similar proportions to the outgoing 370Z coupe and, as our illustration reveals, it will have an edgier exterior with a far more pronounced grille that takes design hints from the latest Nissan GT-R facelift. Under the skin the new model will be based on a shortened wheelbase version of the latest Infiniti Q60’s FR-L platform. Combining with this tried and tested architecture, 3 powertrains will be on offer. The first will be a tweaked version of Nissan’s in-house developed 3.0-litre V6 engine producing 340 hp. In addition, Nissan is working on a hybrid alternative that could make the Z the most powerful model in its class. This flagship version would employ the same 3.0-litre V6 paired with a 160 hp electric motor for a combined 500 hp output. Completing the line-up will be a 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo that will punch out 410 hp and 475 Nm of torque. Power will be transmitted through a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. That puts the new Nissan Z-car face-to-face with rivals like Porsche’s 718 Cayman S and BMW’s M2. As we recently saw in the revised GT-R supercar, we can also expect to see greater attention to detail inside the new Z with much higher levels of interior trim quality and materials. The production version of the Nissan Z car is expected to land in Dutch showrooms by 2019 starting at 70,000 euro for the base model. +++

+++ TESLA has sued the former director of its Autopilot program suggesting that he stole confidential information from the automaker to use in his own startup. The company alleges that Sterling Anderson stole company information and intended on using it for a new autonomous car venture, Aurora Innovation, he founded with Chris Urmson, the former head of Google’s self-driving project. In the lawsuit, Tesla asks for a court order to stop Anderson, Urmson and Aurora Innovation from hiring any Tesla employees and contractors from one year after Anderson left the electric carmaker. Additionally, the firm wants an order to block the use of its proprietary information for autonomous driving systems. The suit goes on to specify that Anderson downloaded “hundreds of gigabytes of Tesla’s confidential and proprietary information” onto a personal hard drive and intended on using it for his own autonomous startup. However, Anderson viciously denied the accusations, saying “Tesla’s meritless lawsuit reveals both a startling paranoia and an unhealthy fear of competition. This abuse of the legal system is a malicious attempt to stifle a competitor and destroy personal reputations. Aurora looks forward to disproving these false allegations in court and to building a successful self-driving business”. Alongside seeking injunctive relief barring any Tesla employees joining Aurora, Tesla is seeking compensatory damages for prejudgement interest and any other relief the court may deem acceptable. +++

+++ It seems that the much publicized breakfast meeting between the new President of the United States of America, Donald TRUMP, and the chief executives of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler was a success, given the optimistic attitudes of the carmakers’ top honchos after the discussions. Also present in the meeting – which GM CEO Mary Barra called as “very constructive” – Matt Blunt, a former Republican governor of Missouri who now serves as head of a US automaker trade association, Vice President Mike Pence, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and other senior administration officials. Basically, the meeting centered on bringing more jobs back to the US, which is one of the primary promises that Trump made during the presidential campaign. Discussions also included the possible policies that Trump intends to implement in the auto industry and how he plans to make it more enticing for carmakers to build more assembly plants in the US to create more jobs, thereby keeping jobs in the country. The new US President has been vocally critical of the current setup of American carmakers, saying that these production operations of these companies outside of the US – specifically in Mexico – could be blamed for the lack of American jobs. He had promised to revitalize US manufacturing and to penalize American companies that operates in other countries for the sake of keeping operational costs as low as possible. Tuesday’s discussions also included plans by the Trump administration to tackle trade, regulatory and tax issues. According to new White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Trump has told the CEOs about plans to make production more viable in the US by relaxing certain regulations. In particular, Trump mentioned regulations covering the auto and oil industries. He remarked to the CEOs that these regulations – regarding the environment in particular – are out of control and are needed to be pared down. These regulations could pertain to the stiff fuel efficiency mandates or to the approvals needed before a company could build a new plant or expand and existing ones. Trump is looking to trim down regulatory hurdles by 75 percent, which would be a very enticing proposition for companies – including carmakers – to invest more into production in the US instead of going abroad. All of the CEOs from General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler looked set to welcome Trump’s propositions, with Fields telling reporters that the top honchos were encouraged by the new US president and by the economic policies that he is forwarding. Barra has said in a statement that General Motors is eager to work with Trump to reinvigorate US manufacturing. Marchionne, meanwhile, said that the he appreciates President Trump’s focus on making the US a great place to do business. +++

+++ The next-generation VOLKSWAGEN Golf GTI is set to adopt a mild hybrid powertrain that promises to boost performance and refinement while reducing fuel consumption and emissions compared with the recently facelifted current model. The adoption of an advanced 48V electrical system and integrated starter motor on the new hot hatchback is part of a powertrain overhaul that will be reflected across the whole 8th generaton Golf line-up. The changes are also set to make the new model the most powerful series-production Golf GTI yet. Although the new Golf GTI is still 3 years away from its introduction, sources close to Volkswagen research and development boss Frank Welsch have revealed that the initial performance targets point to a power output similar to the 265 hp of the limited-edition Golf GTI Clubsport.  Scheduled to go on sale in 2020, the new Golf GTI will retain an internal combustion engine: VW’s familiar turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol unit. However, the introduction of the 48V electric system will allow the four-cylinder engine to receive comprehensive modifications. It’s likely that the exhaust gas turbocharger of today’s model will make way for an electrically operated compressor that offers improved low-end response and a broader plateau of torque for added flexibility. Additionally, the integrated starter motor will allow Volkswagen to provide the front-wheel-drive Golf GTI with a so-called boost function in which an electric motor mounted in the front section of its standard-fit 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox supplements the combustion engine in Performance mode. The 8th-generation Golf has been under development for more than a year now, with key aspects of the car already described by high-level Volkswagen sources as having committed project status. Despite the upheaval brought to its operations by the diesel emissions manipulation scandal and subsequent legal complications in key world markets, Volkswagen has confirmed that it is holding firm to the original launch schedule for the new model. That means volume-selling versions of the new Golf are planned to reach showrooms during the final quarter of 2019. Volkswagen has laid the foundation for both cylinder shutdown and engine-off coasting functions in the turbocharged 1.5 TSI Bluemotion petrol version of the updated current Golf through the adoption of a twin 12V electrical system. Now, the company is set to take the fuel-saving technology one step further. The company is planning a more contemporary, 48V system that will enable the next Golf to be more comprehensively networked for more intuitive operation and greater fuel savings, particularly with petrol versions of the car. The basis for the next Golf is an updated version of the versatile MQB platform used by today’s model. Volkswagen insiders suggest it will use a greater percentage of lightweight metal than the existing structure for a 50 kg reduction. Planned modifications to the construction process are also said to provide for more streamlined production and reduced build times as part of moves aimed at improving the economies of scale and profitability of Volkswagen’s best-selling model. Although there are still three years to go before the new Golf’s introduction, Volkswagen says it has already locked in the car’s design, which has been developed under the guidance of the company’s latest design boss, Michael Mauer, who was responsible for the styling of the current Porsche line-up. Those privy to the latest clay model mock-ups of the new car say it progresses the classic hatchback look of its predecessors, with familiar proportions, reinterpreted details and simple surfacing to make it instantly recognisable as a Golf. Key styling features described to Autocar include a thin horizontal grille bookmarked by smaller angular headlights than those in use today, with a distinctive LED daytime running light graphic. The new car is also said to have more pronounced wheel arches and a heavily defined side swage line, in combination with typically wide C-pillars and a relatively upright tailgate. Volkswagen plans 3 different bodystyles: a 3-door hatchback, a 5-door hatchback and an Variant. There are no plans to develop a successor to today’s Cabrio. With a moderate increase in track widths at the front and rear, along with a slightly longer wheelbase and reduced rear overhang, the new Golf is said to offer greater interior space than the current car. As with the exterior, the cabin has been designed to be familiar to existing Golf owners. The standard specification is set to include analogue instruments and controls, but as with the recent facelift, there will be options of high-definition Active Info Display digital instruments and a central touchscreen infotainment monitor. Also planned are new gesture and conversational speech control functions in combination with connectivity and networking features currently being pursued by Volkswagen’s digital boss, Johann Jungwirth. Other systems will include autonomous driving functions (also a feature of the recent facelift) including a traffic jam assistant that will allow the driver hands-off operation at speeds of up to 50 km/h. With Volkswagen’s ID electric line-up on the way, the 8th-generation Golf will have a range of petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains. The adoption of the 48V electrical system indicates that Volkswagen is placing greater emphasis on petrol units than in past generations, with functions such as cylinder shutdown and engine-off coasting set to become standard on many models. The new or upgraded powertrains will be offered in combination with either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, depending on their configuration. Alongside frontwheel drive, Volkswagen also plans optional four-wheel drive 4Motion in selected models in a repeat of the previous four generations of its perennial best seller. On the petrol side, the entry-level models will forgo the existing turbocharged 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine of today’s model for the lighter turbocharged 1.0-litre threecylinder unit already launched in the latest Golf. The existing turbocharged 1.5 TSI engine, which made its debut as a replacement for the older 1.4 TSI in the facelift, is set to be upgraded with a particulate filter. This move is aimed at providing lower tailpipe emissions to help achieve the EU’s prescribed 95 gram/km fleet average CO2 levels by 2020. It will come as standard, with both the cylinder shutdown and coasting functions to be offered in the newly unveiled 7th-generation Golf TSI BlueMotion Edition, which already has a claimed average CO2 rating of 104 gram/km. Diesels will include a yet to be revealed 1.5-litre fourcylinder unit as a replacement for today’s 1.6 TDI. There will also be an updated version of today’s 2.0 TDI in at least 3 different power outputs. Both diesels will be coupled with a newly developed SCR (selective catalytic reduction) system, which is claimed to contribute to a 10% reduction in CO2 levels compared with today’s diesels. Secrecy surrounds Volkswagen’s hybrid plans, although supplier sources close to its engineering operations suggest the turbo 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine used in today’s Golf GTE could be supplanted by a cheaper, naturally aspirated version of the German car maker’s 1.5-litre petrol unit in a move aimed at reducing production costs. +++

+++ VOLVO has filed several trademark applications for new models in the US and Europe. It appears the Swedish manufacturer is preparing to introduce compact V20 and V30 models in the US, while the European application includes the names P5, P6, P8, P9 and P10. According to the European document, the ‘P’ nameplates are for electric vehicles, while there are little details as to what the V20 and V30 could be. The P-models could be upcoming electric versions of current models where the ‘P’ badge would come after the model’s name – XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid is already offered, so an XC90 P8 could be the name of the EV variant. At the 2017 Detroit motor show, Lex Kerssemakers, Volvo Cars America president, told the Polestar performance brand will be retired as we know it with the current-generation S60 and V60 Polestar models, then rebooted into an electrified line-up in a couple years time. “How we see Polestar in the future is always linked to some sort of electrification”, he said. This likely means the ‘P’ badging stands for Polestar, as the next generation of the tuning firm’s models will be electric or electrically-assisted. Meanwhile, the applications for V20 and V30 in the US only list motor vehicles, though judging by the company’s naming conventions it’s possible it’s planning 2 new hatchback models to slot under the V40; perhaps competitors to the Mini and Audi A1 premium light cars. With no other details confirmed at this stage, we’ll have to wait and see what Volvo comes out with over the next few years. +++

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