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BMW reveals 4 Series in more spacious Gran Coupe guise

BMW has revealed the more practical Gran Coupe version of its 4 Series.

It makes the model a four-door for easier access to the more spacious rear seats, but retains swoopy, coupe-like styling to distinguish it somewhat from the 3 Series saloon.

The Gran Coupe is based on the regular 4 Series and therefore gets the same design updates, including the controversial front grille. It also means it’s slightly bigger than its predecessor, with the width accentuated by the vertical air intakes on the outer edges of the bumper.

The top-spec model is the M440i xDrive, which gets slightly sportier styling touches to the exterior with grey and gloss black accents to make it stand out from the rest of the range.

Photo: PA Media

This model gets a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine making 369bhp and 500Nm of torque that allows it to sprint from 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds – yet BMW reckons it should still return about 35mpg.

There are two more petrol engines, both 2.0-litre four-cylinder units, making 181bhp in the 420i and 242bhp in the 430i. A 2.0-litre diesel is also available with 187bhp, with a choice of rear- and all-wheel-drive.

BMW says it has specifically tuned the 4 Series Gran Coupe to be fun to drive, and has fitted M sport suspension across the range, with only the M440i getting upgraded adaptive suspension as standard.

Other technical highlights include a lightweight braking system with optional M Sport upgrades, and an M Sport differential to improve cornering ability.

Specific to the Gran Coupe, BMW says headroom has improved over the previous model for front passengers, while those in the rear now get ‘significantly more’ legroom. Meanwhile, the boot has an automatic opening and closing mechanism.

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The Rimac Nevera is a 1,900bhp electric supercar

Rimac Automobili has pulled the covers off its new electric supercar, called Nevera.

Named after the Croatian term for an unexpected storm in the Mediterranean, the model has a massive 1,887bhp and 2,360Nm of torque, which Rimac says catapults the car from 0-60mph in 1.85 seconds.

The Nevera is also said to be capable of a 258mph top speed, and can complete a quarter-mile from a standstill in just 8.4 seconds.

The supercar has a 120kWh battery pack that provides a claimed range of 340 miles. This provides power to four motors that each power an individual wheel, while each axle has its own single-speed gearbox.

The bodywork has undergone extensive development since the early prototype stage, with complex active aerodynamics optimising low drag or downforce depending on the situation. As part of this system, the bonnet, underbody flap, rear diffuser and rear wing can each be moved individually, based on computer algorithms.

Photos: PA Media

The construction uses extensive carbon-fibre to keep weight low, while the forged alloy wheels are designed to channel cooling air to the Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes.

Inside, Rimac says the cabin was designed to take two people wearing full race equipment, as well as their luggage. There are digital screens to minimise physical buttons and switches, which can be configured individually for race or road.

Mate Rimac, founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, said: “Everyone at Rimac is driven by curiosity and a desire to push things to the absolute limit. With its combination of everyday use and 1,887bhp performance, the Nevera proves what is possible when there are no restraints placed on technology, development, or ambition.

“We have now unveiled a car that pushes the hypercar market to a higher level, we have utilised the full potential of the electric powertrain today, proving what we’ve always been saying – that an electric hypercar, in the form of the Nevera, is beyond exciting, and that is as thrilling on the track, as it is crossing continents.”

Just 150 examples of the Rimac Nevera will be built, each costing €2 million.

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Renault expands electrified line-up with new Captur E-Tech hybrid

Renault has introduced a regular hybrid version of its popular Captur – the E-Tech.

Sitting alongside the Captur E-Tech plug-in hybrid, this version combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 1.2kW battery and twin electric motors. The Captur E-Tech initially starts on 100 per cent electric power for quieter running and then the setup helps to deliver lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, with Renault claiming that it’ll emit just 114g/km CO2 and up to 56.6mpg combined.

The French firm also claims that it’ll deliver a zero to 60mph time of 10.4 seconds and a top speed of 106mph. Three driving modes – Pure, MySense and Sport – allow you to tailor the powertrain to your liking, with MySense acting as the default setting, automatically adapting the car to the driver’s inputs and the driving conditions.

Photos: PA Media

The Captur E-Tech is available in three trim levels – Iconic, S Edition and R.S. Line – with middle-of-the-range S Edition cars getting 18-inch wheels as standard alongside a seven-inch infotainment system and seven-inch driver information display.

The Captur E-Tech also boasts the same five-star Euro NCAP safety test rating as the rest of the Captur line-up thanks to the inclusion of all manner of safety assistance systems. These include lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, while automatic emergency braking warns the driver of an upcoming slow in traffic or a pedestrian in the road and will bring the car to a stop if they don’t react.

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Fiesta ST and Puma ST gain power boost through Mountune packages

Specialist Ford performance firm Moutune has introduced new packages for the Fiesta ST and Puma ST designed to boost power output.

Called m260, the first of the new kits can be fitted to either the Fiesta ST or the higher-riding Puma ST, taking power up to between 246bhp and 256bhp – a considerable leap from their 197bhp standard output.

The package – which costs £675 for new customers and £99 for those with existing Mountune kits but are looking to upgrade – includes a new induction kit, charge pipe kit and intercooler.

An m235 upgrade kit has also been available for the Puma ST for the first time – having previously been only available for the Fiesta – and increases power from 197bhp to 231bhp. This particular package costs £575. It’s installed via a Bluetooth-enabled dongle that plugs into the car’s OBD port and is then linked to a smartphone or tablet app.

Photos: PA Media

David Mountain, Mountune founder, said: “We are delighted to offer our customers, not one, but two new performance upgrades for both the Puma ST and Mk8 Fiesta ST. The Puma ST has been well received since it launched and we have worked hard to improve the already impressive vehicle, taking its performance to the next level.

“The two kits launched for this car increase both power and performance whilst retaining an OEM+ feel.”

Both the Fiesta ST and Puma ST make use of a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine which is driven to the front wheels through a six-speed gearbox. These packages not only increase power but enhance the exhaust output and deliver a more aggressive launch control, too.

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Fiat to go electric-only by 2030

Fiat has revealed its plans to become an electric-only brand by 2030.

Following the theme made by many other manufacturers, it’ll see the Italian firm’s line-up switched to electric while petrol and diesel models are slowly phased out from 2025.

The move coincides with the firm’s plans to make the cost of entry to electric cars lower while also improving charging infrastructure and helping to improve air quality.

Olivier François, Fiat CEO, said: “Between 2025 and 2030, our product line-up will gradually become electric-only. This will be a radical change for Fiat.”

Currently, Stellantis-owned Fiat has just the 500 electric in its stable of EVs, though mild-hybrid powertrains have been used across the firm’s range of cars.

During a conference on Friday, Fiat announced that it would be working to increase the availability of charging stations which could use solar panels as a form of energy.

“Between 2025 and 2030, our product line-up will gradually become electric-only. This will be a radical change for Fiat”

Olivier François, Fiat CEO

In addition, Fiat has teamed up with architect Stephano Boeri – who was behind the ‘Bosco Verticale’, a vertical garden on the outside of a building that comprises 27,000 plants, creating a rooftop garden on the top level of the Lingotto building. The firm’s former factory in Turin will house 28,000 plants in a way of helping to reduce air pollution.

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Czinger reveals production-spec 21°C supercar with 1,232bhp

Czinger has shared images and details of its production-ready 21°C supercar.

It has a revolutionary design and construction process, with each component designed using computational engineering and some built using 3D printing.

Starting with the headline statistics, the 21°C has a mid-mounted, 2.9-litre flat crank V8 petrol engine with twin-turbochargers, as well as two electric motors, each powering a front wheel.

The total powertrain output is 1,233bhp with a 100bhp upgrade available, contributing to a top speed of 281mph in low-drag optimisation mode. The 0-60mph time is said to be less than two seconds, while the sprint to 186mph takes just 13.8 seconds.

Photos: PA Media

It has a seven-speed automated manual transmission, and is designed to use a range of fuels, including sustainably sourced ‘e-fuels’ that would allow it to effectively run as a zero-emission vehicle.

Designed and built in Los Angeles, the 21°C uses a patented production system, which includes automated AI-based design and optimisation software that ensures each component is as light as possible while also meeting performance parameters.

Czinger also uses ‘additive manufacturing processes’, more commonly referred to as 3D printing. It says this allows it to optimise parts in ways other manufacturers can’t. For example, the front upper control arm is hollow to reduce weight.

Buyers can choose between two specifications: high downforce or low drag.

Just 80 examples of the Czinger 21°C will be built, with the firm previously confirming that this would be the first of a series of performance cars using its proprietary design and construction process.

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Cupra Born – what is it going up against?

Cupra has unveiled its first electric vehicle – the Born. It’s set to arrive with four battery options, bringing a range of between 211 and 335 miles. With striking looks and a focus on performance, the Born also has an emphasis on all-around environmental friendliness, with renewable energy used throughout its supply chain.

But the Born has a tough job on its hands thanks to a variety of rivals already on the market – and more are arriving soon. Let’s check them out.

Photos: PA Media

Volkswagen ID.3

One of the Cupra’s most obvious rivals comes from within the Volkswagen Group stable – the ID.3. It sits on the same platform as the Born, in fact, and offers similar levels of performance and space.

But whereas the Cupra’s styling is extravagant and head-turning, the ID.3 plays a more understated note. If you’re after a car that doesn’t shout about being an EV, the Volkswagen might be the one for you.

Mercedes-Benz EQA

Mercedes is quickly accelerating its EV plans, bringing in a raft of new models under its ‘EQ’ umbrella. One of the latest is the EQA, an electric crossover with all of the premium touches you’d expect from a Mercedes.

The range has recently been bolstered with new higher-powered versions, capable of managing 0-60mph in as little as six seconds while still returning 264 miles from a single charge.

Skoda Enyaq iV

Again, there’s another Volkswagen Group entry here. The Enyaq iV sits on the same MQB platform as both the Cupra Born and Volkswagen ID. 3, with the three returning similar performance and ranges.

As you’d expect, the Skoda majors on value-for-money more than the others here but still offers a decent range and plenty of performance.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

Hyundai has already been making strides in the EV segment, mainly with its Ioniq and Kona Electric models. But the Ioniq 5 is the car set to take it into the big leagues thanks to premium styling and an equally fancy interior.

A range of up to 300 miles gives it a long-distance ability while 350kW charging speeds can help it go from 0-80 per cent charge in just 18 minutes.

BMW i3

BMW’s i3 might be the oldest car on this list but it’s no less worthwhile as a result. It’s packed with features, clever tech and it handles well too – particularly the slightly more focused i3S version.

Even its looks have aged well and you’d be hard-pressed to tell that the i3 has been on sale for many years now.

Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge

Volvo might have become well-known for its hybrid powertrains, but it has only recently introduced its first fully electric car – the XC40 P8 Recharge. It’s a hugely powerful thing, this, but brings the same level of practicality you’d find in the firm’s regular XC40.

It doesn’t look too out of the ordinary, either, thanks to classically Scandinavian understated styling.

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Rolls-Royce confirms return to bespoke coachbuilding

Rolls-Royce is making a return to coachbuilding, allowing customers to commission bespoke vehicles based on the firm’s platforms.

To promote the return of the service, the West Sussex-based company has revealed a new project called Boat Tail. The idea came from the classic coachbuilding technique of grafting boat hulls to Rolls-Royce chassis.

The model has been revealed to show what is possible using coachbuilding techniques and was designed over four years in collaboration with three of the company’s top clients. Three examples will be built, with each owner putting their own individual spin on it.

Rolls-Royce says it engineered 1,813 completely new parts in the creation of these cars and spent eight months developing the platform to take the new body work. Furthermore, the Bose sound system is bespoke, using the entire floor structure as resonance chambers for the bass speakers.

Photos: PA Media

The unique rear end also took a lot of work to get right and has five electronic control units alone. The process for developing the wiring took nine months and allowed the deck lids to open to exactly 67 degrees, incorporate a locking mechanism and a climate control system for any food or drink left inside.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls-Royce CEO, said: “Today marks a seminal moment for the House of Rolls-Royce. We are proud to unveil Rolls-Royce Boat Tail to the world, and with it, the confirmation of coachbuilding as a permanent fixture within our future portfolio.”

Alex Innes, head of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild Design, added: “Coachbuild provides freedom to move beyond the usual constraints. Normally, there is a natural ceiling to Rolls-Royce Bespoke by way of the canvas.

“At Rolls-Royce Coachbuild we break through that ceiling, embracing the freedom of expression afforded by coachbuilding to shape a concept directly with our commissioning patrons.”

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Everrati electric Porsche 911 brings plug-in performance

EV powertrain specialist Everrati has released a new flagship electric Porsche 911.

Revealed today, the model is based upon a fully restored 1991 Porsche 911 964. However, a range of carbon fibre elements help to drive down the car’s weight, while the electric powertrain delivers a range of more than 150 miles between charges and a 0-60mph time of under four seconds.

Evverati sources an accident-free example of a Porsche 911 to commence the restoration and modification. Each car is disassembled back to its bare chassis, with the bodywork, powertrain and interior all removed.

Photos: PA Media

The wide body is crafted by replacing the steel wings and bonnet with custom carbon fibre parts. The lightweight material is also used for the doors, though these are reinforced with steel for improved side impact protection.

At the heart of the car sits an electric motor with 500bhp linked to a 53kWh battery pack. The powertrain develops more than double the power output of the original Porsche 964, with all 500Nm of torque being sent directly to the rear wheels.

Everrati says that using a DC fast charger will enable the battery to be taken from 10 to 100 per cent in ‘less than an hour’.

All of the car’s major chassis components are either restored or replaced, with customers offered a choice of two suspension settings. The first – a standard setup – features fully adjustable coilovers and dampers, while an optional version adds adaptive dampers which can be configured via a touchscreen in the cabin.

The Porsche also features a range of high-end features such as a full touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay, while all of the car’s traditional gauges are replaced with EV readouts.

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