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New McLaren 750S brings added performance and lower weight

New V8-powered supercar replaces the successful 720S.

McLaren has unveiled a replacement for the hugely successful 720S supercar – the 750S.

Arriving as the lightest and most powerful series-production McLaren, the 750S brings more power than its predecessor and a greater focus on driving fun than before.

Things are centred around the same 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 petrol engine as you’d find in the 720S, but power has been increased by 22bhp to 740bhp, while total torque stands at 800Nm.

As a result, 0-60mph will take just 2.7 seconds in both coupe and Spider versions, while flat-out both models will manage a top speed of 206mph. In fact, the coupe will race from zero to 124mph in just 7.2 seconds.

Thanks to revised materials, the 750S is also 30kg lighter than the 720S with a dry weight of 1,277kg. Carbon-fibre racing seats included as standard help with the weight-shedding measures, while the new 10-spoke lightweight forged wheels save 13.8kg. Even the windscreen glass, which is thinner than before, helps reduce weight by 1.6kg.

A front track widened by 6mm helps to improve grip, too, while the hydraulic steering system has a faster ratio and a new power-assistance pump. A new nose-lift system reduces the operating time to four seconds – over the ten seconds of the 720S – which means you can quickly and easily raise the nose of the car to navigate speed bumps.

Photos: PA Media

The exterior has been revised with a new lower nose section, an extended front splitter and new rear wheelarch vents while the carbon-fibre rear wing has been lengthened. In the middle of the rear sits a new centre-exit exhaust which, McLaren states, takes inspiration from the one fitted to the P1 hypercar.

Inside, there have been some big changes. There’s a new driver display – which takes many cues from the new Artura hybrid – which has controls for both the powertrain and handling modes on either side. It means that the driver can easily cycle through different settings without having to take their hands away from the wheel.

A new central screen offers Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, too, while both the rearview and surround-view parking cameras have been made clearer than before.

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Peugeot updates 2008 with fresh new design and upgraded technology

Popular electric model has been redesigned too.

Peugeot has redesigned its 2008 SUV, bringing in a new exterior look and upgraded in-car systems.

The 2008 has been a popular car for Peugeot, with close to 700,000 units being produced since its launch at the end of 2019. Peugeot states that a lot of the car’s success is down to the e-2008, which accounted for 17.4 per cent of European sales during 2022.

Now, Peugeot has updated the 2008 with a range of enhancements ahead of its on-sale date later this summer. The exterior has a new wider front end which incorporates Peugeot’s new logo, while a ‘light signature’ first used on the 508 is integrated. It features Peugeot’s three-claw design set into gloss black inserts on the bumper. Around the back, the rear lights have been sharpened too.

Photos: PA Media

Inside, there’s a new design for the 10-inch digital instrument cluster which makes up the 2008’s i-Cockpit setup, while all versions now come with a 10-inch infotainment screen as standard. Many versions get wireless smartphone mirroring through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, too.

Peugeot says that a range of powertrains will be available for the 2008 – including a hybrid version from 2024 – while the electric e-2008 gains a larger 54kWh battery enabling a range of up to 252 miles – an increase on the 214 miles offered by its predecessor. Rapid charging capability means that the e-2008 can be charged from zero to 80 per cent in 30 minutes, while charging up via a normal 7.4kW home charger will take seven hours and 30 minutes.

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Mini announces new details about Cooper Electric

Upcoming EV will boast a much longer range than the current car.

Mini has announced new details about its upcoming Cooper – the new name for its iconic ‘3-Door Hatch’.

While it will also be sold with petrol engines, with these models being built at Mini’s factory in Oxford, the highlight will be the new Cooper Electric.

It will replace the current Mini Electric, now the firm’s most popular model and will be available in two guises, helping offer more power and, importantly, range than the current car.

Kicking off the range will be the ‘Cooper E’, which uses a 40.7kWh battery (the current Mini EV’s is 32.6kWh) and allows for a predicted range of around 300km (186 miles). In comparison, the current Mini Electric only has a claimed range of up to 144 miles.

Photos: PA Media

Above this will be a Cooper SE model, which uses a large 54.2kWh battery, which Mini says will give it a ‘predicted range of 400km (249 miles). The firm says this will ‘noticeably extend the radius for excursions within the urban and beyond’. The Cooper SE will also boast a powerful 214bhp electric motor, though Mini is yet to confirm further powertrain details.

While Mini has yet to reveal the new Cooper without camouflage, recent spy shots show the model will lose its trademark plastic-clad arches and retain the small dimensions that make it suitable for towns and cities.

The new Mini Cooper will arrive in 2024 as part of a revived line-up from the British firm. This will also include a next-generation Countryman SUV, which will grow in size and be available as an EV for the first time, while a smaller crossover called the Aceman is also set to arrive in 2024.

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Mini bids Clubman farewell with Final Edition

Just 1,969 units will be produced

Mini is calling time on its Clubman with a ‘Final Edition’ model.

Reintroduced in 2007 – and taking inspiration from the 1970s ‘wagon’ in the process – the ‘modern’ Clubman brought a quirky rear-hinged door placed asymmetrically on the right side of the car.

When the third-generation car arrived in 2015, this was replaced with two full-size rear doors while interior space was boosted thanks to an increased length.

The Final Edition model gets a high level of standard equipment, including an 8.8-inch central display, Apple CarPlay and Harmon Kardon sound system, among other features.

Photos: PA Media

Touches specific to the Final Edition include door sill trims finished with the ‘Final Ediiton’ lettering, while this is mirrored on the lower spoke of the steering wheel too. The dark maroon leather seats – which are heated – also get edition-specific badging.

A panoramic roof comes equipped as standard, while the dashboard gets green and copper-coloured decorative strips. On the passenger side, this section is also finished with a ‘1 of 1969’ badge, which is also found on the floor mats.

There are three exterior colours to choose from – Nanuq White, Enigmatic Black and Melting Silver – while special ‘Shimmer Copper’ accents are applied to the upper third of the radiator grille and the Cooper ‘S’ blade at the rear. All versions get 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels finished with a copper hue and there’s ‘Final Edition’ lettering on the rear, too.

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Can Lexus reinvent the wheel?

Is Lexus’s new steering wheel going to make the impact Lexus hopes?

Of all the things that you might think strictly don’t need changing in a car, high up there has to be the shape of a steering wheel.

Pretty much since the birth of the automobile, there has been the idea that a steering wheel is round. Sure, Audi and a few others have explored the idea of a flat-bottomed steering wheel for a ‘sportier’ feel. But the basic premise of a circular shape has remained intact.

Until now, that is, when manufacturers are seemingly running out of ideas for ‘new’ things they can do to their cars, and are, well, trying to invent the wheel.

Tesla was the first, with its boss – and now Twitter CEO – Elon Musk devising the aircraft-like ‘yoke’ as the wheel for its new Model S and X. But it’s not just Tesla, as Lexus is now getting in on the action.

Given that Lexus is typically quite a straight-laced manufacturer, known for its conservatism and – generally speaking – older customer base, it is quite a surprise move. That said, the Japanese firm is keen to make an impact with its first bespoke electric car, the RZ.

Photos: PA Media

So that’s why it’ll be available with a new device known as ‘One Motion’, which will be offered as an option. It’s a steer-by-wire system, which works by the steering connecting electronically with the wheels, rather than using a mechanical connection.

The visual difference, however, is that it looks like someone has hacksawed away at a steering wheel, getting rid of the top and bottom to create this odd-shaped device. We shouldn’t really call it a wheel at all. It’s littered with buttons while there are stubby little indicator and wiper stalks attached to it. These features turn with it, rather than being fixed like a ‘normal’ steering wheel.

You might be wondering what on earth the point is, and we won’t pretend we didn’t think the same at first. The whole idea, Lexus says, is that it “requires less steering effort”. This is because the steering ratio changes depending on speed – not a new concept – but one that’s been exaggerated here.

Normally, when doing a sharp turn, or when parking, there would be a need to put lots of ‘lock’ on the wheel, but because of how it’s been designed, a small steering input has a big effect when it comes to the angle that the wheels turn. It means that lock-to-lock, it doesn’t even need one turn, and there’s no need to overlap your hands or shuffle them around. In contrast, a regular car with power steering normally needs 2.5 to 3.5 turns to go lock-to-lock.

But does it work? Well, surprisingly yes. At first, the experience is bizarre. It’s like jumping behind the wheel for the first time at 17. When negotiating a junction or mini roundabout, the feeling of hardly having to move the wheel to make a big turn is truly odd. But you learn to realise it’s a novel idea, and it means you can always leave two hands sensible positioned on the wheel, regardless of the manoeuvre. At higher speeds, the system really doesn’t feel much different to any other steering setup.

If you’ve got any doubts about the safety of the system – and the way it works electronically, specifically because this is an EV – it’s worth noting that Lexus has engineered a “fail-safe” provision, which can supply an emergency power supply that automatically engages should the system lose its power supply. Just the fact this has had to be considered is madness, it must be said.

The drawbacks? Well, we reckon it will take more than a test drive to understand how it works and appreciate the benefits. Many likely won’t get on with the shape and weird feeling of it at first, and it’s probably why few customers will actually end up choosing it. Lexus also hasn’t said how much it will cost as an option, but given the expense and effort that will have gone into its development, it’s unlikely to be cheap. The RZ isn’t a cheap car, it must be said.

We also couldn’t get on with the indicators. Going around a roundabout, you find yourself spending time trying to find the stalks rather than concentrating on the road. There’s a sharp lip at the top of the wheel that’s quite unpleasant too, while the trim at the bottom of the ‘rim’ feels especially cheap.

This ‘One Motion’ wheel is still a few years away from being available on production cars, with Lexus only saying it will introduce it “by 2025”. Up until then the RZ will be supplied with a ‘normal’ setup. Has the wheel been reinvented? Well, the firm has given it a good go. But there are some things that don’t need changing. A steering wheel is one of them.

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Maybach introduces first plug-in hybrid

Mercedes’ luxury arm reveals its first electrified model

Mercedes-Maybach has revealed its first plug-in hybrid with the S580e – an electrified version of its luxurious saloon.

Maybach serves as Mercedes’ luxury division, creating versions of models such as the S-Class saloon and GLS SUV that are more bespoke.

Using the same hybrid powertrain as on the regular S-Class, the S580e pairs a 3.0-litre inline six petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined 503bhp and 750Nm of torque, allowing for 0-60mph time of under five seconds.

The S580e packs a large battery that Mercedes says allows an electric range of up to 100km (62 miles), with Mercedes also offering 60kW DC rapid charging as an option, which allows the battery to be charged in half an hour.

Photos: PA Media

Maybach says it has been particularly ‘discreet’ when it comes to the S580e’s plug-in hybrid styling, with the few changes including a concealed charging socket on the left side of the vehicle, blue accents in the headlights plus hybrid-specific elements on the touchscreen and digital instrument cluster.

Daniel Lescow, head of Mercedes-Maybach, said: “With our first plug-in hybrid model, we are combining the luxury experience typical of Maybach with emission-free local driving when in electric driving mode. The Mercedes-Maybach S580e represents a pivotal step in the transformation of our heritage brand into an electric future. We will present our first fully electric model as early as 2023.”

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BMW takes X5 and X6 performance to a new level with M Competition models

New 4.4-litre V8 gets mild-hybrid assistance

BMW has unveiled its new X5 and X6 M Competition performance SUVs, using mild-hybrid technology to deliver the best pace possible.

Following on from the recently unveiled standard X5 and X6, the X5 M Competition and X6 M Competition utilise the same 4.4-litre V8 engine coupled with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology. Combined, you get 616bhp and 750Nm of torque, which equates to a 0-60mph time of 3.7 seconds in both cars. Flat-out, both the X5 and X6 M Competition will manage an electronically-limited 155mph.

The SUVs use an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard, while M xDrive all-wheel-drive helps to improve traction on wet and slippery roads. Drivers can also tailor the amount of power sent to specific wheels, with 4WD Sport mode sending more torque to the rear for a sportier feel.

Photos: PA Media

Both the X5 and X6 also incorporate M-specific adaptive suspension which can be adjusted via the in-car screen, while both versions get high-performance compound brakes with six-piston callipers at the front and single-piston version at the rear.

Each car comes with lightweight forged 21-inch alloy wheels too, along with LED headlights with adaptive technology. Around the back of the X5, there’s a new rear light design with an ‘X’ motif. On both models, there’s a prominent diffuser at the back, too.

Inside, the X5 and X6 both get BMW’s latest Curved Display running the firm’s new Operating System 8. As well as this, all cars get a range of M-specific fittings such as a sports leather steering
wheel, carbon fibre gearshift paddles and full Merino leather upholstery.

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Audi marks end of TT with Final Edition

The end of TT road after 25 years

Audi is calling time on its TT sports car after 25 years of sale with a Final Edition that aims to celebrate the iconic model’s success.

The TT has been on sale since 1998 when it arrived as a new Audi sports car, becoming an iconic model for the German brand. Now in its third generation, the TT is now drawing to a close as Audi looks to focus its efforts on more electrified models instead, with no replacement planned.

This Final Edition is designed to sit at the top of the TT line-up and is marked out by its black styling pack, including black Audi logos and badging and darkened door mirrors. A fixed black rear spoiler is fitted too, while Roadster models get rollover hoops and a wind deflector finished in the colour.

Customers can choose between Tango Red, Glacier White and Chronos Grey as paint colours, while large 20-inch alloy wheels are fitted too.

Inside, the Final Edition benefits from an extended leather pack on the armrests, door pull handles and trim on the centre console, while an Alcantara steering wheel with red stitching is also fitted. Alcantara is also used for the seats, with decorative red stitching and piping used as well.

The TT Final Edition is available in three guises – 40 TFSI and 45 TFSI and TTS. The 40 and 45 TFSI use a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 194bhp and 242bhp respectively, with the latter also coming with quattro all-wheel-drive as standard. The TTS also uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine, but takes its power up to 316bhp, and allows for a 4.3-second 0-60mph time.

In the TT’s final year Audi has also cut back on the number of TT versions available, reducing it to S line, Black Edition and Final Edition on the standard model, and just the Final Edition on the TTS. The sportier TT RS also remains available, using a powerful 395bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine.

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Want to do long distances in an EV? These are your best options

There are a number of electric vehicles that can manage some seriously long distances on one charge.

Electric cars aren’t best known for their long-distance abilities. Certainly in the early days of EVs, they weren’t able to travel great distances nor operate efficiently at the type of speeds you’d want to be doing in order to make decent progress cross-country.

However, technology has ramped up impressively over recent years to the point where many electric cars are now able to offer some pretty impressive ranges in between trips to the plug. So if you need an EV that’ll cover long distances, these are some of the best ones to check out.

Photos: PA Media

Mercedes EQS – 453 miles

Mercedes needed to do something special for its flagship EV and it definitely delivered with the EQS. Essentially an electric version of its famous S-Class saloon, the EQS incorporates some of the firm’s latest technology, including an incredible ‘Hyperscreen’ widescreen infotainment system for the cabin.

But, most importantly, it can offer an impressive 453 miles between charges, while rapid charging means that the EQS can be taken from 10 to 80 per cent in as little as 31 minutes.

Polestar 2 – 395 miles

Polestar is surging ahead with its electrification plans and will be soon adding to its range of cars with a new model introduced later this year. However, this hasn’t stopped it from keeping its current ‘2’ model up to date, with a recent revision bringing a larger battery and, as a result, an improved range.

In fact, the Polestar 2 will now manage up to 395 miles between charges. These updated versions also get a slightly tweaked exterior design.

BMW iX – 380 miles

BMW might’ve been a little behind the curve when it came to EVs for a few years, but it has quickly ramped up its battery-powered offerings. The iX is the firm’s new flagship SUV and it arrives with some particularly dramatic styling and a technology-filled interior.

It’s also able to offer up to 380 miles of range from a full charge, meaning that it’s well-suited to longer journeys.

Ford Mustang Mach-e – 379 miles

The Mustang Mach-e is currently Ford’s sole EV, but it’s one which really gives a great clue as to the electrified future of the famous ‘Blue Oval’. Inside, you’ll find one of the largest touchscreens in the business, but it’s able to back this tech up with a healthy 379 miles of range too.

Plus, there’s a really handy compartment in the ‘nose’ of the Mach-e which is ideal for storing the charging cables in.

Tesla Model 3 – 374 miles

Tesla is one of the best-known companies in the EV business, with its range of futuristic models that deliver strongly when it comes to range. The Model 3 is Tesla’s popular saloon and it’s one of its best when it comes to range, too, with up to 374 miles possible between trips to the plug.

BMW i4 – 365 miles

BMW’s i4 is, essentially, an electric version of its regular 4 Series Gran Coupe. Thankfully, it’s just as practical and comfortable as that standard car but, of course, is able to offer a fully electric powertrain with an impressive 365 miles of range.

There’s also a range-topping M50 version which is able to give some of the BMW’s high-performance ‘M’ cars a run for their money.

Volkswagen ID.3 – 339 miles

Volkswagen’s ID.3 kicked off a whole new wave of electric vehicles for the brand and also marked the start of the dedicated ‘ID’ range of vehicles. It’s been a success for Volkswagen, too, with its futuristic exterior and practical interior obviously hitting the mark with buyers.

But it’s also got some decent range to offer, too, with up to 339 miles offered on big-battery versions.

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