Newsflash: nieuwe Honda Civic Type-R wordt 330 pk sterk


+++ ALFA ROMEO will unveil a new sports car early next year and it will be reminiscent of the T33 Stradale, its global boss Jean-Philippe Imparato has confirmed. While the unveil is not expected to be a production model, more likely taking the form of an advanced sketch or concept car, it demonstrates Alfa Romeo has already catapulted itself forwards in the eyes of owner Stellantis in proving it can be successful after a tumultuous few years. Originally, any new sports car from Alfa Romeo was expected to arrive later this decade after the brand had proven itself with models in bigger-selling segments, such as the Tonale; a SUV. The sports car was also expected to be electric, in line with its plans to have an all-electric line-up from 2025, but Imparato hinted that a sports car may arrive much sooner and could even be combustion-engined. “For the moment, I have 2 scenarios: full ICE or full EV”, said Imparato. “I can tell you it will be very exciting, very selective and very expensive”. He added: “You will see something in that field in terms of sportiness in the first half of 2023. We use one word to define the brand and it is sportiness”. When asked if it could be reminiscent of the T33 Stradale, he said: “I can say yes, but I can’t say anything else. We have so many fantastic ideas based on our iconic history”. Imparato has previously name-checked the Alfa Romeo Spider ‘Duetto’ as another model he would like to see reflected in any upcoming sports cars. Imparato also confirmed a large electric saloon will arrive in 2027, focused on the United States and China, but to be sold in Europe too. +++

+++ ASTON MARTIN Valkyrie customers are “enjoying” their cars as planned, despite reports of various technical issues besetting the cars delivered to date, according to executive chairman Lawrence Stroll. So far, Aston Martin has reported delivering 27 Valkyries to customers, with 38 assembled. The firm has acknowledged the difficulties developing the £2.5 million, Adrian Newey-penned hypercar, which led to the project running behind schedule and engineers from the Formula 1 team having to be drafted in to resolve issues. Stroll has previously highlighted the complexity of the project, saying: “This is a Formula 1 car for the road. No other manufacturer would have the courage to do something like this. We have a complexity issue in building the car. We overestimated the amount of cars we could build until we started building”. Now Stroll has dismissed reports of customers with delivered cars having ongoing issues with them, although he did admit there was an initial software issue with the first batch of Valkyries that needed resolving. “The earlier cars had a software bug, as all new cars do, but the customers were made aware of that and it was dealt with”, said Stroll. “Now the customers are enjoying the cars as they are delivered”.  +++

+++ BENTLEY has revealed its half-year profits for 2022 and things are looking good for the British luxury car manufacturer. It revealed operating profits of £333.97 million, or £7.56 million more than the entirety of last year where Bentley posted its previous record-breaking £326.41 million profit. Adrian Hallmark, CEO of Bentley Motors, commented on the firm’s finances: “Despite the continued global economic instability, it is promising to see Bentley is showing financial consistency as we reinvent the company in line with our Beyond100 strategy and form a basis to withstand further external shocks”. Compared with this time last year, Bentley is up 124 per cent in terms of profits. Sales have been the driving force behind this success with a 33 percent increase in mainland Europe and 44 percent increase on its homemarket. Globally, the year-to-date sales have increased 3 percent to 7.398 sales for 2022 so far, despite a fall in sales of 25 percent in China. Revenue per car climbed from £156.000, to £178.000. Bentley says this is largely due to increased levels of personalisation. “Significant increase in demand and capitalisation of our Mulliner personalisation programme has driven record return on sales, and continued global interest in the freshest model line in the luxury sector has resulted in record high revenues”, said Hallmark. The bestselling Bentley remains the Bentayga with 40 percent of total sales. The Flying Spur accounts for 27 percent and the Continental GT takes in 33 percent. Bentley says the new figures will help support its strategy to become a pure-electric brand. This includes a £2.5m investment at its Pyms Lane factory in Crewe. +++

+++ 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the M division and BMW is celebrating the important milestone with the first dedicated M car since the legendary M1 of the 1970s. However, it’s no mid-engined coupe since the XM takes the shape of a massive plug-in hybrid SUV. It was previewed last year by a boldly styled namesake concept and is set to break cover as a production model before the year’s end when it goes into production in Spartanburg. As previously reported, the version available at launch won’t match the Concept XM’s muscle. Instead, BMW will initially sell the electrified SUV with 650 hp and 884 Nm on tap. The entry-level trim is going to be named XM 50e to match the M Performance plug-in hybrid version of the new 7 Series, dubbed M750e. Later in 2023, the XM Black Label will join the lineup with about 750 hp and 1.000 Nm to match last year’s concept car. Both flavours of the XM will use the firm’s new S68 twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 engine featuring mild-hybrid tech. It has already been installed in the latest 7 Series (750i) as well as the X7 M50i-replacing M60i. The electrified behemoth will get the company’s next-level autonomous driving system by the middle of next year. Standard across the range will be a differential and dark blue sport brakes with the option of having the callipers painted in black or red. Speaking of colours, the XM will be available in Cape York Green, Marina Bay Blue, Brooklyn Grey, Carbon Black, Oxide Grey II, and Dravit Grey. For the interior, dark blue seats and seatbelts are in the offing, along with carbon fibre trim. Wheel size will vary from 21 to 23 inches. BMW will commence production in December 2022 and discontinue the XM in November 2027, which would give it a relatively short life cycle. It’s unclear whether a facelift is planned given the five-year lifespan or whether additional versions beyond the 50e and Black Label are on the agenda. The latter will serve as a substitute for the typical Competition derivative available for the current crop of M cars. +++

+++ The new car market of EUROPE continued to live through challenging times during the first half of this year. The latest data published by JATO Dynamics indicate that the new car registrations dropped by 14% over the same period of 2021, to 5.54 million units in 27 European nations. That’s quite different from the positive variation seen in China (+3.4%) but better than the results in USA, where the market dived 18.2%. Among the safe havens that prevented a further drop were the SUVs and electric cars. The former recorded a moderated decrease of just 4% counting for almost 50% of the volume. The latter did much better, with their registrations increasing from 485.000 units in the first half of 2021 to 633.200 units in the same period this year; up by 31%. This means that the BEVs now count for 11.4% of total market, or almost 4 points above their market share a year earlier. The increasing demand of BEVs did not benefit all the car makers equally. Tesla for instance was not able to make use of this growth and even if it registered more cars than ever, its growth lagged behind the overall market. As it faced issues with the availability of new cars due to the halt of production at its Chinese plant, the Silicon Valley company saw its market share within the BEV market decreased from 13.75% in the first half of 2021 to 13.33% in the same period this year. The 0.42 points lost put Tesla as the third OEM with the highest market share lost during the period, only behind the Volkswagen group, down by 5.7 points, and Nissan Group, down by 1.4 points. Tesla was severely affected by a massive drop of the registrations of the Model 3 during June (-76%), a month that is usually very strong in terms of volume. As the brand heads to the full utilisation of its new plant in Berlin, it still depends on products coming from its factories overseas. However, there are other reasons for the slowdown of its growth in Europe. The Model 3 is now facing more competition not only from the external but also at home. The BMW i4 and the Polestar 2 are 2 direct rivals that continued to gain traction in June. In addition, as it happened in USA and China, the Tesla Model Y has become a serious and more appealing alternative. Actually, the Model Y was the most registered electric vehicle in Europe during the first 6 months of this year. The race for the electrification is involving almost all the brands available in Europe. The BMW Group for instance is the fastest growing maker within the segment, with its market share jumping from 5.76% in the first half of 2021 to 8.37% one year later. The latest products, such as the iX, iX3 and i4, are having a positive response from the public. The Korean Hyundai-Kia is also growing faster than its rivals thanks to the strong results posted by the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, in addition to the good position of the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV. Hyundai-Kia has properly positioned itself as a serious EV maker with interesting products and competitive prices. Stellantis is also a winner during this period. It consolidated its position as the second BEV seller in Europe, only behind Volkswagen Group. This was possible due to the very good results of the Fiat 500e, the third most registered pure electric car in Europe over the period. It seems that the iconic Fiat is repeating the formula of success of the ICE version: cute design, easy-to-ride and cheap to maintain. +++



+++ In May, GENERAL MOTORS boss Mary Barra confirmed the automaker’s plan to return to Europe after largely leaving the region in 2017 when it sold Opel and Vauxhall to France’s PSA Group, now part of Stellantis. At the time, Barra said GM’s European comeback would be as an EV-only automaker, which is logical considering the EU’s ban on fossil-fuel cars from 2035. GM established a new European arm late last year and it is currently preparing for a return with an all-electric lineup. We now get a more accurate picture of what GM’s European range will look like from GM Europe boss Mahmoud Samara. The executive said GM’s plan for Europe is expected to be announced early next year. While he wouldn’t mention targets or expected sales volumes, Samara said GM feels “very confident we will be a substantial player” in the market. He noted that the rapid adoption of EVs in Europe compared to the US was a key factor in the company’s decision to return. “With what the customers need in Europe and what we’ve done to transform our company, we feel this is a unique opportunity for us”. General Motors’ approach in the region will be different this time; instead of focusing on European brands, it will utilise its existing range of American brands. The automaker wouldn’t provide specifics, but Cadillac is likely to spearhead GM’s European return with the Lyriq electric SUV. The new GMC Hummer EV could also be offered in limited numbers, reports suggest, followed later on by mass-market Chevrolet models like the Blazer EV and Equinox EV (both SUVs). “Chevrolet is a global brand, Cadillac is a global brand, Hummer is a global brand, so we have global brands that are fit for purpose. What’s so beautiful about transitioning to EVs is the flexibility that we can deliver with those platforms. It will be fit for purpose in Europe”. Samara added that GM Europe will act as a startup, with the lack of a legacy ICE division enabling it to push its EVs more easily. For example, GM could adopt a direct sales model, similar to Tesla, Polestar and Genesis, that would spare it substantial investment in a dealer network. GM’s plans for Europe go beyond electric passenger vehicles, with the BrightDrop last-mile-delivery brand tipped to offer products and services in the region as well. +++

+++ HONDA ’s last-ever pure combustion hot hatchback, the new Honda Civic Type R, has been revealed and while the Japanese firm has been secretive over power figures, I can now confirm it’ll come with 330 hp and 420 Nm. Leaked images of brochures for the Japanese-market Civic Type R suggest an increase of 10 hp and 20 Nm over the previous-generation FK8 model. This extra power comes from a new turbocharger with a compact housing and a revised turbine blade, which makes for better airflow and thus more power. The 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine is an evolution of the unit found in the old FK8 model but we still don’t know the performance figures of the new car. It’s almost certainly going to beat the FK8’s 0-100 kph time of 5.7 seconds and top speed of 270 kph. The new ‘FL5’ Civic Type R’s unveiling neatly coincided with both the 25th anniversary of the Civic Type R and the Civic’s 50th birthday this year. The car continues with its front-wheel drive layout, despite many of the latest hot hatches (such as the Volkswagen Golf R and Mercedes-AMG A 35) utilising 4-wheeldrive to deploy power outputs over 300 hp. Power will be sent to the front wheels via a revised 6-speed manual gearbox  (featuring a new lever and an “optimised” gate pattern) and most likely a mechanical limited-slip differential. The suspension is made up of a new dual axis strut unit which has been designed to accommodate the wider 265 mm section tyres. The new Honda Civic Type R has already proven its pace, by setting the front-wheel drive lap record at Suzuka, going round the famed figure-8 layout in 2 minutes 23.120 seconds. That’s nearly nine-tenths of a second faster than the previous record holder, the extra special Civic Type R Limited Edition. Just like the FK8, Honda says the new car will attempt a Nurburgring lap record for front-wheel drive production cars. The latest Type R is based on Honda’s new 11th-generation Civic, which features a much cleaner exterior design than the 10th-gen car it replaces. This makes for a much less challenging-looking Civic Type R, although there are still plenty of suitably outlandish details, chief among which is the sizeable rear wing sitting on diecast aluminium mounts. Lower down there’s a new diffuser from the middle of which protrudes (once again) a triple-exit exhaust system. This time, though, the middle pipe is larger than the others, as opposed to smaller on the FK8. The diffuser, meanwhile, is integrated into the car’s underfloor for optimal aero performance. At the other end is a splitter and enlarged air intakes, while in the middle is a pair of side skirts and vented front wheel arches. Speaking of which, the wheel arches are all blistered, housing a set of 19-inch wheels (an inch smaller than last time) shod in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres. Under these, you’ll find a beefed-up Brembo braking system with two-piece discs for improved pedal feel. Inside, there’s the same minimalistic cabin as the standard Civic, enhanced with various elements including suede-wrapped sports seats that sit the driver lower than in the last Civic Type R, a whole lot of red stitching, a suede-rimmed steering wheel and a Type R plaque on the dashboard. From behind the wheel, drivers will be able to alter the characteristics of the engine, steering, adaptive dampers and engine sound via the following modes: Comfort, Sport, +R and Individual. There’s also an updated version of the Honda LogR data logger system which now gives information like tyre friction circles and can even score drivers on their track performance. The Civic Type R will be available in Championship White, Rallye Red, Racing Blue, Crystal Black and Sonic Grey Pearls when it arrives in Europe in early 2023. A price hasn’t been revealed, but I expect the figure will be close to 68.000 euro in the Neterlands. +++

+++ Even though the LOTUS Eletre, the brand’s first production EV and SUV, is only expected to go into full production in 2023, the first one reportedly rolled off the production a few weeks ago. It was assembled at the brand new £1 billion facility in Wuhan, China and it marks the beginning of a brand new era for the British sports car manufacturer. Geely bought 51 percent of Lotus in 2017 and since then it has injected funds into the company, helping it launch the new Emira and develop the Evija electric supercar. Production of these models will stay in the United Kingdom, but all other future Lotus EVs, especially the ones built on the new bespoke platform that debuted with the Eletre. This first ever SUV from Lotus has a dual-motor setup that gives it 600 hp, a battery pack with 110 kWh and a projected range of 600 km on one charge. There will be more powerful variants reportedly with over 900 hp, but those have not been confirmed yet. After launching the Eletre in 2023, Lotus plans to introduce 2 more high-riding crossover type vehicles and then its first all-electric sports car; all of them will be on the market in 5 years’ time. The sports car known as the Type 135 EV will be roughly the same size as today’s Emira and it should be revealed in 2026. There will be some overlap between these 2 models before the Emira is phased out and once that happens, it will be interesting to see if Lotus continues to build cars at its Hethel facility in the United Kingdom or if it moves all production to China. The company says it wants to sell 100.000 globally by 2027, even though in 2021 it only sold under 2.000 cars. Lotus also wants to vastly expand its presence in China where it intends to have 50 locations open in 20 cities, but it says it will also concentrate on European countries too, especially those where EVs are popular like Norway, the Netherlands or Germany. +++


+++ PORSCHE has announced a recall for the all-electric Taycan as wiring harnesses under the front seats could become damaged during adjustment, potentially causing airbags and belt tensioners to fail. According to a report from Germany’s KFZ-Betrieb the recall affects 40.421 Taycans, although it’s not known how many Dutch cars this applies to. During the recall, Porsche says the “seat wire harness will be inspected for damage. Textile fabric tape will be added to further secure the harness under the seat and help prevent potential for harness damage during seat adjustment”. An internal code on the recall is ANA5, which applies to Taycans built from July 10, 2019 to May 18, 2021. The recall was first listed on 2 May this year. This isn’t the first big recall from Porsche for its Taycan in recent years. In July 2021, around 43.000 Taycan and Taycan Cross Turismos from 2020 and 2021 had to be recalled. This was due to a possibility of an unwarranted powertrain shutdown. This issue could be fixed with a software update at Porsche dealerships for no extra charge. Another, less dangerous recall is currently out for Taycan models. It’s a software error in the infotainment where the centre and driver’s display do not start when the ignition is on. This can be fixed by re-programming with corrected software. +++

+++ British sports car maker TVR has broken silence over its stunted resurrection by confirming plans to relaunch in 2024. A brace of new cars in new segments, using electric power, are a part of the plan. The brand’s new models will include an all-electric version of the new Griffith sports car, which will follow the V8 version into production in 2024. Following that, TVR intends to reveal 2 new cars. These are likely to be an all-electric saloon and an SUV if some teaser images of the new models are anything to go by. There’s also a sleek, electric sports car with a similar shape to the iconic Sagaris in the trio of teaser sketches, pointing to a bespoke electric sports car. TVR has been marooned since the reveal of a production-ready prototype of the new Griffith at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The new car, co-designed with legendary Formula 1 and automotive engineer Gordon Murray, has been subjected to lengthy delays since its presentation, and the brand has struggled to put plans together for a new factory with support from the Welsh government, who loaned TVR £2m in 2016 in return for a 3 percent stake in the company owned by businessman Les Edgar. TVR has not yet completed plans to open the new facility in Ebbw Vale, but has repaid its loan to the Welsh government, so could potentially look to produce the Griffith elsewhere in the UK. When it arrives, it will retain the same design as the 2017 prototype and its power source (a 5.0-litre Ford V8 producing up to 500 hp and sending drive to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox), making it a rival for the likes of the Aston Martin Vantage and Porsche 911. A top speed of 320 kph and 0-100 kph in less than 4 seconds have been touted. Technical details for the all-electric version of the sports car that will follow the V8 model have not been detailed, but it will use the same chassis as its internal combustion powered sibling. TVR has previewed this new model, showcasing what will only be a light EV-inspired makeover. It’s likely that the electric version would offer more power and better off-the-line performance than the V8 Griffith, and it will be positioned as a more expensive offering with premium touches to justify the price tag. The V8 Griffith will launch at a cost of around 150.000 euro in the Netherlands for the ‘Launch Edition’ specification model. +++

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