First drive: Zenos E10 S roadster

The UK sports car industry has a new name. Stephen Dobie drives the Focus ST-engined lightweight

It’s the Zenos E10 S. If you think it looks primed and ready to take on trackday stalwarts like the Caterham Seven, Ariel Atom and KTM X-Bow, you’d be spot on.

The Zenos’s bald numbers make it extremely competitive. It uses the engine from the Ford Focus ST, an exceedingly punchy turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder, providing the E10 S with 247bhp with which to propel its 850kg.

A Focus feels blooming fast with this drivetrain: with 600 fewer kilos to shift and a worm-like centre of gravity, the Zenos can be scintillatingly swift if you want it to be. Its top speed is 145mph, while 0-60mph takes four seconds. Yet it starts at £29,995 (£5000 less buys a 200bhp, naturally aspirated E10, though very few customers have chosen that over its more powerful sibling).  more…

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First drive: Renault Megane GT220 Tourer

It’s the Renault Megane GT220 Sport Tourer. A long name for an even longer car, and another entrant into the pleasingly bustling hot hatch estate market.

Wearing a GT rather than an RS badge, it’s not quite an Alsatian-friendly version of the Nürburgring-honed Trophy-R. But the GT220’s front wheels are driven by what’s essentially a detuned version of its fighty sibling’s 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, albeit around 50bhp lighter here, with 217bhp on tap.

It’s far cheaper, too. This Sport Tourer kicks off at £24,245, just £15 more than a five-door GT220.

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The first 725bhp Mustang has landed

Here’s the very first production version of a tuned Mustang that produces more power than a Lamborghini Huracan and punches dangerously close to an Aventador SV. It’s called the ‘Rocket’.

It’s the brainchild of Galpin Auto Sports, the tuning arm of the largest Ford dealer in the US, designed by Henrik Fisker (the same man who did the Aston DB9, BMW Z8 and Karma), built in conjunction with GFMI Metal Crafters and first unveiled to the world at last year’s Los Angeles Motor Show.

The one you see above is the very first production version, revealed at Amelia Island yesterday – where there are many great auctions occurring – and looks positively evil.  more…

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NOOOOOO! Lotus CEO Admits They Probably Have To Build An SUV

NOOOOOO! Lotus CEO Admits They Probably Have To Build An SUV

This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that’s actually important — all in one place every weekday morning. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn’t your time more important?

1st Gear: Or Maybe A Crossover

It took maybe 15 minutes to realize that Dany Bahar would be a disaster as Lotus CEO, but Lotus is basically disaster incarnate so it’s hard to blame him for everything. If I’m being generous, Bahar merely accelerated a crash that was surely to come.

The new boss, Jean-Marc Gales, has actual automotive experience, which is why he’s probably right about Lotus having to do an SUV.  more…

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First drive: BMW 2-Series Convertible

Yet another niche-busting BMW?

Not really. This is the replacement for the old 1-Series Convertible. And, spoiler alert, it’s a whole lot better. Sharper to drive, for a start.

And the 2-Series Convertible is roomier, yet it doesn’t look so much like a bathtub. That’s not just because it’s wider and longer, but it has wedgier styling that emphasises the rear wheel-arches.

But why not a folding hard-top?

Cost, weight and size. Having a folding hardtop instead of this soft roof would add another 100kg or so. And it would take up nearly all the boot.

The folding hardtop in the 4-Series brings all sorts of disadvantages, and it would be even harder to package in the shorter 2-Series.  more…

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New GT-R will be ‘front-engined 2+2 hybrid’

Shiro Nakamura might be a diminutive chap in stature, but in car-drawing terms Nissan’s Chief Creative Officer is a colossus.

TG caught up with Nakamura-san – fresh from winning the Grand Prix du Design award at the International Automobile Festival – at the London launch of Infiniti’s revised Q70 exec saloon.

Of course we should have been complimenting him on the Q70’s new LED lights and tweaked bootlid, but, um, we want to know about the new GT-R instead.

So we asked Nakamura-san if he’d seen any of the speculative renderings the internet has spewed out, all purporting to show how the new GT-R will absolutely definitely look.   more…

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The Jeep Renegade Is Going To Make Fiat Chrysler So Stupid Rich

We’ve explained why the Jeep Renegade is a great option for consumers, but we should mention why it’s great for Fiat Chrysler.9

Sure, they’re probably going to sell many of them and it’ll help them reach their goal of moving a trillion Jeeps a year, but the real benefit to FCA is in running up their profits on the back of Italian autoworkers and a slumping euro.

 

What’s going on?

The dollar is much stronger than usual relative to the euro and the vehicle is made in Italy, so when it’s exported over here the company is making a higher profit margin. But wait, that’s not all!

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This is Alpine’s Vision GT concept

The Vision Gran Turismo concepts keep coming. And when they look like this, we’re not complaining one bit.

 

This is Alpine’s effort. Alpine, if you need a reminder, is a sports car maker with ties to Renault; production of its Porsche-rivaling A610 ceased in the 1990s, but it still has motorsport presence and a new mid-engined road car lies on the horizon.

A madcap concept may go some way to help stymy impatience as the latter remains in development, away from our prying eyes.

The VGT concept is certainly an arresting diversion. There are hints of LMP2 endurance racer in its side profile – no surprise given it’s Alpine’s current area of motorsport expertise – but beyond that, the Vision GT spins off in its own barmy direction.   more…

Bond’s Aston DB10: the real story

TG exclusive: we interrogate Aston design boss Marek Reichman for the inside line on the ‘Spectre’ star.

“Sam Mendes wanted this to be the poster car for every boy who watches James Bond for the first time,” says Aston Martin design director Marek Reichman. He’s discussing the conversation with Spectre director Mendes that led, eventually, to the DB10, Daniel Craig’s company wheels in the 24th Bond outing, which reaches cinemas late in 2015.

“My interpretation of that was that Sam was talking about a brand-new DB5,” continues Reichman in an exclusive chat with TG. The DB5, of course, was Sean Connery’s ride in 1964’s Goldfinger, a gadget-laden masterpiece that established the Bond-Aston love affair and remains, for many, the archetypal Bond car. But, says Reichman, the DB10 doesn’t revive its predecessor’s gadgetry, but rather its philosophy.   more…

 

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Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang brought back with more than 500 hp

The original Shelby GT350s from 1965 were Ford Mustangs tuned by then-newcomer Carroll Shelby from everyday pony cars into track-ready rides, ones that proved their capabilities by beating Corvettes and Ferraris on circuits across America.

Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

Today, after a 43-year hiatus, Ford resurrected the name with the 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang — and by its reckoning, the mission hasn’t changed much.

Based on the new Mustang chassis, Ford says the GT350 will boast not just ample power  — more than 500 hp — but better handling than any Mustang the company has produced in the past 50 years, with technology far beyond what Shelby could have envisioned in 1965.

The biggest news lies in the engine bay, where the GT350 brings the term “flat-plane crankshaft” into the limelight for the first time in decades. If you imagine a see-through version of a typical V-8 engine, the pistons move in a stair-step fashion — alternating power strokes in a way that maximizes the engine’s smoothness. It’s the reason a Corvette, Mustang or Challenger sounds the way it does; the traditional V-8 burble comes from exhaust pulses created by so-called cross-plane crankshafts. More …

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