Car News Roundup – September
Now that the summer holidays are sadly over and the sun is rising later and setting earlier attention turns to the Autumn months. For car makers it means the events that they have released cars at throughout the year are running out and online is once again the place to find out the newest releases and automotive news.
After a slow start to the month for news, it soon picked up and now the updates are coming thick and fast as the motor industry gears up for their (is it too late to still say ‘potentially’) all electric future and a step away from what they have known for decades. The date may have recently been pushed back to align with commercial vehicles and now the combustion engine ban is set for 2035, but that will not delay the plans of those who have committed to life without petrol or diesel cars. As a result, the number of electric cars announced this month has been expectedly high and makes up almost all of the cars featured here.
Here is our rundown of the most popular car news that has been announced during the month of September:
Lotus’ change of direction from lightweight sports cars to electric powered luxury performance cars seems to have been well received by the public and motoring press alike. The last hurrah of their petrol powered sports cars, the Emira, and their all-electric Super-SUV, the Eletre, have given fans of the brand confidence that it was the right decision and a step towards an exciting, if not different, future. For September they have announced their latest electric performance car, this time a super-saloon in the form of the Emeya.
Borrowing styling cues from the Eletre SUV, the Emeya aims to lead the way with a comfortable electric saloon car with exceptional driving dynamics and an electric powerplant that produces an astonishing 905bhp. Using the same airflow management principles as its SUV sibling, the Emeya manages to look athletic and curvaceous whilst remaining purposeful and aggressive at the same time. With the very latest 800V battery technology the Emeya should be able to charge to 80% capacity in just 18 mins and offer a range in excess of 370 miles on a full charge. But Lotus fans will also been keen to know about the focus on lowering the centre of gravity as much as possible, the carbon ceramic brakes for effective stopping power and the fact that they claim sports car agility.
Mercedes Benz Concept CLA
Mercedes Benz have released a concept of their forthcoming electric powered CLA, claiming that ‘pretty much everything’ on this preview will be carried over to the new car. Rather than just being a hint at what just the new CLA will look like, Mercedes have claimed it gives a lot away as to the future of a lot of their models. The three-pointed star Daylight Running Lights, or DRL’s, and the large grille but in its new different form will apparently become the new signature of their upcoming cars.
Not only that, but much of the interior of the Concept CLA has heavily focused on its eco credentials and the fact that the majority of the materials are either recycled our sourced in more ethically conscious ways. A lot has also been said about the claimed range of their new creation, with a possible maximum of up to 466 miles on a single charge, which is much more than its rivals, including Tesla, can manage. With new 800V architecture also included, it should also be possible to use a rapid 250kW charger to allow almost 250 miles of range in just 15 minutes.
If anyone is determined to include their past into the electric future of their models it is certainly Volkswagen. With the ID.Buzz bringing their iconic VW Microbus/Camper bang up to date in the commercial and passenger sector, they are also keen to please their performance car fans. The Golf GTI is one of the most legendary cars in the history of motoring. Bringing performance and practicality to the masses, it single handedly created the hot hatchback sector that we know and love today. With VW announcing that the ‘Golf’ name may die with the petrol engine, they are keen to assure their legions of hot hatch fans that the GTI ethos will live on.
Volkswagen announced their new ID.GTI Concept based on their ID.2 Concept that was released earlier this year and it features nostalgic touches in abundance. The red grille surround remains to the now filled in grille, the flared wheel arches to encase the large alloy wheels, the chequered pattern to the seating, even the golf ball gear knob is present, well sort of. Due to the lack of actual gear selector, it is now a rotary dial to the dashboard, but at least the sentiment is there. VW have also promised that although performance details aren’t available for now it will offer driving thrills, reduced weight, and the same front locking differential as the current GTI Clubsport.
Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 has been a huge sales success for the electric car powerhouse since it was launched in 2017. Despite being over 6 years old in a rapidly changing sector there are still few rivals that can match not only its performance, range or charging speeds, but also its driving dynamics and handling. As well as this, the Model 3 has had a few price reductions over the years and now is more than competitive against similar vehicles. In order to keep the car competitive, Tesla have launched a facelift model.
Tesla claim that more than 50% of the components have been refreshed for the facelift model and are keen to enhance the levels of comfort and refinement following customer feedback. From the outside there are sleeker headlights front and rear to give a sharper appearance and improve the already class leading drag coefficient and boosting efficiency. More aerodynamic wheel designs with new tyres improve efficiency further whilst reducing tyre noise, whilst a reshaped bonnet and double glazing enhance cabin noise further. Thanks to the more efficient shape and reduced drag coefficient the range gains are 344 miles (up from 305) for the rear-wheel-drive version and 421 miles (up from 394) for the long-range model.
Mini Cooper Electric
Whilst most manufacturers are launching new versions of electric only cars, bizarrely for the majority of cars at the moment, the Mini Electric is actually the second generation of electric car from the iconic retro brand. With the last few generations of Mini being synonymous with being great driver’s cars, the expectations are high for the new electric Mini to not disappoint. For starters and for reasons unknown all Mini Hatchbacks are now called a ‘Cooper’ although you can still get the Cooper S for extra performance.
From the outside the styling looks cleaner and loses the chunky wheel arches yet is still unmistakably a Mini from any angle. The round lights at the front with circular DRL’s remain but at the rear they are now angular and digital in appearance and are joined across the whole width of the car by the ledge to open the boot. But it is inside that sees the most changes. The central speedometer inspired by Mini’s of old is now a fully interactive OLED screen and the cockpit is more minimalist in appearance, much like the original also. The dashboard is swathed in a choice of textiles, under-lit by mood lighting and a big focus has been on using recycled materials wherever possible. Range is a claimed 250 miles (400km) which is a vast improvement to before and 80% charge can be achieved in as little as 28 minutes. Prices are expected to start at £30,000. For those looking for something for a bit more space, they have also announced a Countryman version with similar design and styling at the same time too.
From the outset the ID.X is heavily caveated that they do not intent to put the car into production, but then again things can change. Based on the ID.7 that was launched earlier in the year, the ID.X takes the all-electric saloon and takes it the usual ‘R’ specification of a Volkswagen, and beyond. With 550bhp created from an electric motor on each axle, meaning all-wheel drive, the power upgrade is only half the story. Visually the car also comes adorned with a front splitter, extended side skirts, a rear diffuser and boot mounted high level spoiler all in high gloss black and with a red pin stripe like the later Volkswagen’s from the combustion era.
It isn’t all power and no thought on driving dynamics however. The ID.X has been lowered by a not inconsiderable 60mm and features stiffer springs, an increased toe by 80mm to improve high speed stability and cornering ability, and features large 20-inch alloy wheels, painted in gold of course. Inside it features carbon bucket seats, lashings of leather and Alcantara and the same red accents to show the performance credentials. Although this particular car currently has no plans to make it in to production it does show the potential that the ID.7 platform does hold and hopefully the plans for a future of performance models from a brand who knows plenty about that sector.
Alfa Romeo Brennero / Fiat 600 / Jeep Avenger
As part of parent company Stellantis, there are many brands who can benefit from shared platforms yet create different products for their respective customer bases. With their new all-electric e-CMP platform they have announced at least 3 new cars to benefit in the form of the Alfa Romeo Brennero, Fiat 600 and Jeep Avenger (and will also be used for the Citroen e-C4, Vauxhall Mokka and Peugeot e-2008 as well). All will be small SUV’s but each will offer a slightly different brand identity and from looks alone at least, be completely separate to each other.
The Fiat 600 is a larger version of their popular 500 small hatchback and offers retro styling to go with the reborn badge from the 1950’s and 60’s. The Jeep Avenger uses the same platform to offer a rugged alternative and is charged with reinvigorating the brand to appeal as an electric SUV alternative rather than just an off-road mud-plugging company, especially as the new car at launch will not be all-wheel drive. Alfa Romeo has unexpectedly had images of its forthcoming small SUV leaked and show a stylish alternative that slots in below the Tonale and become the smallest model in their line-up, believed to become the ‘Brennero’. All three cars will share a near 250-mile range and deliver just over 150bhp from their sole single motor set up upon release.
Fresh on the back of their successful rebirth of the A110, Alpine are reaching to their back catalogue for another new model to the lineup. Not shying away from being bold with their new cars, the next model they are looking to bring back is the A310, and is one of 7 new electric cars set to be launched by 2030, including taking the A110 ‘t the next level’. The original A310 from the 1970’s and 80’s was a small angular coupe that was the successor to the A110. The new A310 is set to take inspiration from the original car yet follow the company’s ethos of lightness and nimble handling, much like the A110 has.
Alpine are being bold with their new car and are aiming the more practical A310 at the Porsche 911, seeing the A110/A310 offering much like the 718 Cayman/911 pairing. Despite the all-electric powertrain, they are determined to ensure the car retains the feeling of lightness and agility and offer the practicality of a 2+2 layout. Alpine are aiming for the A310 to be a higher volume seller than the A110, hoping that the flexibility of those 2 extra seats is enough to offer a real appeal to the sporting brand, and be the first step in their plan to being a ‘key volume player’. No specifications for the powertrain have been released as yet, but Alpine is investing heavily on a flexible architecture to underpin a number of models for the near future.
David Brown Automotive Mini Electric
‘Restomodding’ or the taking of an older or classic car and fitting it with a more modern engine, an all-electric powerplant or modern running gear is increasing in popularity over the past few years. Some are done as one off creations, however others create limited production numbers and offer fully bespoke creations to completely overhaul an iconic car. David Brown Automotive offer the latter, and then some. When they launched their Speedback GT, a limited numbers Aston Martin DB5 inspired retro themed car with more modern Jaguar XK underpinnings and completely bespoke interiors, they showed their coachbuilding ambitions, and not just with the price tag in excess of half a million pounds.
Following on from the Speedback GT they have taken to reinvigorating one of the most iconic cars of them all, the original Mini. With their ‘Mini Remastered’ programme they take an existing classic Mini and overhaul the whole car from de-seeming the bodywork and fitting bespoke lights, grilles, and mirrors, to reworking the engine, a limitless choice of interior options that include modern luxuries like air conditioning and Apple CarPlay, and replacing all the switchgear, replace the dashboard and much more. Their latest announcement is the replacement of the engine and running gear with a fully electric powerplant to meet modern day zero emissions standards. For those looking for the ultimate iteration of the classic Mini to meet modern day demands and the upmost in luxury and bespoke possibilities, you would struggle to find something more impressive. Even if prices start at a lofty £150,000.
There might not be much excitement to the announcing of the latest small SUV from Volkswagen, however the Tiguan is now the best-selling car that VW make. Gone are the days when a small hatchback or supermini were the numbers cars in the range of most manufacturers, these days SUV’s are where the money is made. The Ford Fiesta, their biggest selling car for decades is now beaten by the Puma, one in every three Porsche’s sold is a Cayenne, and now the traditionally big selling Golf and Polo are outsold by the Tiguan.
The good news about the latest version is that the amount of choice on offer remains. There are petrol versions, diesel versions and hybrid versions aplenty. No electric only version although surely that will be along at some point. The car looks more aggressive than ever before and with things like a ‘vehicle dynamics manager’ controlling the electronic differential and shocks, more emphasis has been put on its sporty character to match. The interior now features screens aplenty with a large digital instrument screen, the centre of the dashboard offering a huge 15-inch touchscreen and more tech options to include a head up display. The Tiguan may be in its third generation now but the latest updates are sure to mean that it remains at the top of the sales charts for a while yet.
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