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Special edition Aston Martin DB5 Junior celebrates arrival of new Bond film

A limited-edition version of The Little Car Company’s Aston Martin DB5 Junior has been created to commemorate the arrival of the new James Bond movie No Time To Die in cinemas.

Built in collaboration with EON Productions, the DB5 Junior incorporates all manner of accurate features, such as Smiths instruments, individually numbered chassis plates and iconic ‘Silver Birch’ paint.

Limited to just 125 cars, the accurate recreation was made thanks to a 3D scan of an original Aston Martin DB5, allowing for the scale model to be faithful to the full-size car. Some elements, however, were brought up to date for the Junior version; the fuel gauge, for instance, shows how much battery the electric powertrain has left, while the oil temperature now monitors the motor temperature. It features a range of up to 80 miles, too.

Though the DB5 used by James Bond is a hard top, the Junior has been designed as a convertible in order to allow adults and children to sit beside one another. The DB5 also features a quick-release steering wheel for easy entry and exit, while high-performance Brembo brakes provide plenty of stopping power. It also uses Bilstein dampers and coilover springs to ensure a smooth ride.

Photos: PA Media

However, any Bond car isn’t ready to go unless it has been fitted with gadgets. And, fittingly, the DB5 Junior has been kitted out with an array of features – all designed in miniature. Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Chris Corbould OBE – who has worked on 15 James Bond films since the 1980s – consulted with The Little Car Company on the creation of the car’s gadgets, which are all operated by control hidden in a secret panel in the passenger door.

A twin set of simulated Gatling guns – including imitation barrel blasts and flashes – can be activated at the push of a button, while a smoke screen can be deployed through the rear exhaust. A supplied tank provides an hour of safe smoke before requiring a top-up.

Though not road legal, the purchase of a DB5 Junior includes an automatic membership into the Aston Martin Owners Club. Existing Aston Martin DB5 Junior owners will be given first refusal of this Bond version, with the remaining build slots given on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Maserati MC20 wins 2021 Product Design of the Year

The Maserati MC20 has taken the overall win in the European Product Design Award 2021, being crowned Product Design of the Year.

The Italian supercar also took top honours in the Transportation/Auto/Truck/Mobile Home and Transportation/Other Transportation Design categories.

Sporting a sleek silhouette with sweeping curves from front to rear, coupled with sharper lines up front in the lower bumper, where air flow is directed through the car to cool mechanical parts.

At the rear it has narrow tail lights that extend past the edges of the car and a prominent rear diffuser. Its party piece is the butterfly door design that commands attention whenever opened, but is also said to be functional as it allows for more cabin space.

The awards receive thousands of submissions with a jury panel selecting ‘the most aesthetically exciting, functional, and innovative products’.

Photos: PA Media

Klaus Busse, Maserati head of design, said: “Our mission was to design a car that would be remembered in the future as the model that launched the Maserati New Era. And I think we’ve achieved our goal with MC20.

“We are honoured to receive this coveted accolade, which recognises the work of an entire team, who have made a whole-hearted commitment to this unique project.”

The MC20 is powered by a V6 engine that makes 621bhp and can catapult the car from 0-60mph in about 2.7 seconds and on to a top speed of over 200mph.

There is a huge number of categories in the European Product Design Awards, with other winners this year including the Waldwiesel, the world’s first 3D-printed e-bike, a machine that improves the efficiency of solar panel parks, and a communication device for ‘locked-in patients’ that lets them convert eye movements to voice.

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Lotus confirms specs for Emira V6 First Edition

The Lotus Emira First Edition showcases the new model in one of its most potent forms.

It uses a supercharged 3.5-litre V7 engine with 397bhp, driven through a standard-fit six-speed manual gearbox or an optional six-speed automatic. The Emira is capable of going from 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds before reaching a top speed of 180mph.

First Edition cars also boast a high level of standard equipment, including 20-inch forged alloy wheels with a diamond-cut finish and two-piece brake discs with branded calipers. A range of exterior colours – from ‘Seneca Blue’ to ‘Nimbus Grey’ – are there to choose from as well, though more will be made available next year, according to Lotus.

Matt Windle, managing director, Lotus Cars, commented: “The Emira is the most accomplished Lotus we’ve ever made, and to celebrate and reward our keenest early customers, we want to make the first cars extra special to own. The features have been carefully selected by our design team to make for a truly special and distinct First Edition.”

Inside, the Emira boasts a central 10.25-inch display with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, backed by a secondary 12.3-inch driver’s display.

Production of the V6-powered First Edition is expected to start in the spring, with a four-cylinder version – utilising a Mercedes-AMG-sourced 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine – expected to arrive in the autumn.

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Fiat introduces soft-top 500X

Fiat has revealed the 500X Dolcevita – a soft-top version of the firm’s compact crossover.

The 500X Dolcevita incorporates a canvas soft top that can open in 15 seconds at speeds of up to 62mph. The canvas is available in black, grey and red, too, while there are ten exterior body colours to choose from as well.

The 500X was updated earlier this year, bringing three distinct trim levels with different levels of equipment and features.

The Connect trim brings a seven-inch infotainment system with DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as 17-inch alloys and blacked-out windows.

Photos: PA Media

The Cross trim, meanwhile, has more of an off-road style appearance, with new seats finished with a camouflage-patterned centre section, while the exterior boasts 19-inch wheels. Automatic air conditioning and parking sensors are both included as standard, too.

Sport sits at the top of the 500X’s trims and brings black 19-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and black fabric sports seats. Automatic air conditioning and a matte titanium dashboard are included too. 

There are two petrol engines available – a 1.0-litre and a larger 1.3-litre.

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The Fering Pioneer is a British-designed electrified off-roader

A British company has created an off-road vehicle designed for ‘the most extreme adventures’.

Fering has designed the Pioneer for use by adventurers, explorers and emergency services and, as a result, it’s being built to be able to tackle even the most treacherous of conditions.

Despite being no larger in any direction than a conventional delivery van – and shorter than a Ford Mondeo Estate – the Pioneer can carry up to 1,500kg thanks to an aluminium spaceframe with composite elements. The exterior panels are made from tough fabric which as well as helping to lower the car’s weight, are easily replaceable if damaged.

Photos: PA Media

It uses an electrified powertrain, too. Two electric motors – one on each axle – deliver up to 600Nm of torque to the wheels, while the car’s battery provides an electric-only range of 50 miles. However, a range-extender biodiesel-powered generator is then called into action once the battery is depleted and even when the batteries are out of charge the Pioneer is expected to deliver up to 50mpg. It can also be fitted with long-range fuel tanks, giving the car a range of up to 5,000km (3,106 miles) of range, according to Fering.

The Pioneer can be adapted to suit a variety of different uses too. Larger batteries can be fitted, for instance, or different range extenders can be used in order for the car to run on different types of fuel.

The brainchild of ex-Ferrari and McLaren engineer Ben Scott-Geddes, the Pioneer is currently undergoing testing and assessment by early customers and organisations.

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Mazda updates CX-5 for greater refinement and comfort

Mazda has revealed a ‘significantly’ revised version of its largest SUV in Europe, the CX-5.

Due to go on sale early next year, the new CX-5 introduces a new Intelligent Drive select system which allows drivers to tailor the car’s settings for the conditions. Models equipped with all-wheel-drive also get off-road mode, which helps when driving on loose or slippery surfaces.

Mazda has worked to reduce road noise, too, while refinements to the bodyshell, suspension and seats have boosted comfort levels.

The outside of the CX-5 has been given an updated grille, while both front and rear lamp clusters have been restyled for a sharper look. A new exterior colour – Zircon Sand – is also available.

Photos: PA Media

Three new model grades feature on the CX-5. The first, ‘Newground’, incorporates underguard-style trim pieces at the front and rear, as well as black door mirrors and lime green accents to the front grille. There’s the option of either 17-inch silver or 19-inch black alloy wheels, too. Inside, there’s suede upholstery with lime green stitching.

The next trim level – Sport Black – brings a gloss black finish on the grille, lower bumper sections and wheel arches to give the car a more purposeful stance on the road. Inside, it’s given a sportier appearance thanks to red stitching on the black leather seats, door panels, gear shift lever and steering wheel.

Finally, GT Sport adds a one-colour exterior and silver 19-inch alloy wheels, while the cabin features high-quality Nappa leather and genuine wood trim.

The CX-5 now benefits from wireless phone charging, too, while the reversible boot floor and tailgate sill are at the same level to help with loading. Newground models also benefit from a boot floor with a water-resistant side for wet or dirty items.

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Hyundai’s Vision FK concept brings hydrogen power and 671bhp

Hyundai has released a new concept – the Vision FK – which forms a part of the firm’s efforts to ‘popularise hydrogen’ by 2040.

Following on from its pledge to go all-electric in Europe by 2035, the South Korean manufacturer has issued plans to increase its use of hydrogen fuel cell technology in its cars. It has also said that it is attempting to create a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) that will cost the same as a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) by 2030.

Euisun Chung, chairman of the Hyundai Group, said: “Hyundai Motor Group’s vision is to apply hydrogen energy in all areas of life and industry such as our homes, work-places and factories. The goal is to make hydrogen readily used for everyone, everything, and everywhere.

“We want to offer practical solutions for the sustainable development of humanity and with these breakthroughs, we aim to help foster a worldwide Hydrogen Society by 2040.”

The Vision FK concept is part of this new commitment to hydrogen and provides an initial look at a new sports car set to hit the market. Hyundai claims that its hydrogen powertrain develops 671bhp, enabling a 0-60mph time of under four seconds yet with a range of 373 miles.

It combines fuel cell technology with a plug-in, battery-electric powertrain with power being sent to the rear wheels.

Hyundai has also announced that it will integrate hydrogen fuel cell powertrains to its entire commercial vehicle line-up by 2028, making it one of the very first carmakers to do so.

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Ford teases next-generation Ranger

Ford has released an initial look at its upcoming Ranger pick-up truck.

Showcased wearing heavy camouflage, the fourth-generation Ranger has been shown taking on dynamic trials over some difficult terrain.

Due to go on sale next year, the upcoming Ranger will share its underpinnings with the next Volkswagen Amarok. Whereas the previous-generation Ranger had a more rounded look, it’s believed that this new model will be closer in appearance to Ford’s American pick-ups, such as the F-150.

It’s set to be built at Ford’s pick-up production facilities in Thailand and South Africa, but there have yet to be any details released surrounding the type of powertrain that this new Ranger will be powered by. It’s likely that a diesel engine – used in other Ford commercial vehicles – will power the Ranger, though a plug-in hybrid version could be a possibility.

Photos: PA Media

Ford is calling the new model ‘the toughest, most capable and connected Ranger pick-up yet’ and, given the success of the previous version – it was the UK’s best selling truck recently – will be looking to elevate the Ranger even further.

It has been shown tackling   mud, grit, rock and snow to show off just how capable it is, with the car’s strong front end design visible despite the disguise.

Ford has said that the new Ranger will be revealed in full towards the end of this year, ahead of the car going on sale in 2022.

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Cupra’s Tavascan Extreme E concept hints towards look of future electric SUV

Cupra has released a new concept that provides a glimpse at what the company’s upcoming electric SUV could look like.

The Cupra Tavascan Extreme E Concept – revealed at the Munich Motor Show – is said to hint at the look of the upcoming Cupra Tavascan which is due to enter the market in 2024. It’ll also be the firm’s second fully electric model, following on from the upcoming Cupra Born.

The concept, meanwhile, incorporates lighting set into a frame made through 3D printing. By using parts made through this process, they can be more easily replaced as they’re able to be manufactured in just six hours. For Extreme E this could prove invaluable, as parts often get damaged along the course.

Xavi Serra, head of technical development at Cupra Racing, said: “The Cupra Tavascan Extreme E Concept is the next evolution of our all-electric off-road racing car with even more Cupra DNA and a design hints at the brand’s future direction. But it also delivers technical advancement too.

Photos: PA Media

“The Cupra Tavascan Extreme E Concept uses flax fibres throughout the bodywork to improve sustainability and 3D printed elements that can be quickly recreated to keep the racecar out on the track.”

It’s these flax fibres that are integral to the car’s focus on sustainability. By making as much of the body from this material as possible, it reduces the amount of carbon fibre and therefore lowers the vehicle’s impact on the environment. The two materials operate in a similar way and can be worked in the same way, too.

The concept also features a range of copper-coloured accents – a Cupra hallmark – as well as ‘parametric texturing’ and a series of dynamic lines which help to give the car a dramatic look.

Fitted with an electric motor, the Extreme E Concept can manage 0-60mph in under four seconds, while the 54kWh battery is located behind the cockpit for better weight distribution.

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