Porsche have shown us the hottest Cayman yet, the GT4. As suggested by spy shots, it gains a much more aggressive body kit with a fixed rear wing along with 20 inch wheels.
Power comes from a version of the 3.8 litre flat 6 from the 911, here with 385bhp allowing this to lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 7 minutes 40 seconds. This is a proper Porsche Motorsport car too like the fantastic 911 GT3 which donates componentry. Unlike the GT3 which is PDK only, the GT4 has to have a six speed manual. Could this be the pick of the Porsche range?
If you fancy a Mini but don’t think it’s quite aggressive enough then the new Sport Pack is for you. Available on the entire 3 and 5 door range, the pack mainly consists of some visual upgrades from the John Cooper Works Range including a JCW roof spoiler, body kit and steering wheel. You also gain new upholstery, bonnet stripes, 17” wheels and a few other niceties. Cooper models also gain lower sports suspension for improved handling and a sportier look. Although £3300 to £4500, you should improve residual value by up to 25%. Handy.
The Renault Captur has a new big brother in the shape of the Kadjar. Sharing a platform with the ever popular Nissan Qashqai, the Kadjar gives the option of 2 or 4 wheel drive with a range of yet to be announced petrol and diesel engines. If you’re curious about these, don’t expect them to be much different to the Qashqai. The big difference is in the styling, the Renault looking much curvier and more muscular than the Nissan. That’ll probably be enough to guarantee its success. After a full release at the Geneva Motor Show in March, it’ll go on sale in the autumn.
If you’re a fan of lapping the ring (the Nurburgring that is) then SEAT have a bit of a hot hatch bargain. £4200 will buy you the ‘Ultimate Sub8 Performance Pack’ for the Leon SC Cupra 280 to make SEAT’s fastest ever car. While marginally faster around the Nordschliefe, Renault’s Megane Trophy R is up to £7000 more expensive. Although power is unchanged, weight has been reduced by ditching 4 speakers, fitting simpler air con and removing some interior storage bins. You also get big Brembo brakes, side skirts and the option of sticky Michelin tyres.
Nissan have shown us their new LMP1 car, one that seems to go against all conventional thinking. Deltawing (Google it if you’re not familiar) designer Ben Bowlby has created a chassis with a 3.0 twin turbo V6 powering the front wheels with electric assistance mostly going the same end. This is contrary to the rest of the World Endurance Championship cars which have a mid-mounted engine driving the rear wheels. If the wider front tyres get overwhelmed then the narrower rears get sent some electrical power. Total output is 1250bhp, yikes.
Suzuki are in the news for all the wrong reasons, 2 Celerio superminis tested by Autocar magazine had total brake failure when asked to emergency stop from 80 mph. Upon pressing the brake, the pedal sunk to the floor and stayed there with no slowing effect on the car. Even pulling the pedal back up and reapplying didn’t work. Suzuki immediately withdrew the car from sale and are currently investigating the issue which only affects right hand drive cars. If you’ve bought one, Suzuki are suggesting you don’t drive until they sort the issue.
Vauxhall/Opel have revealed pictures of their updated Corsa VXR/OPC ahead of the car’s launch at Geneva in March. Power is up to 205PS with an optional performance pack that brings Brembo brakes and a Drexler limited slip differential to the party. Special new dampers from Koni are standard, promising a comfortable ride when you’re not in the mood for a blast and tight body control when you are. I’m not the biggest fan of the new look but nice try with the Porsche GT3 style pre-bonnet vent.
Ferrari shocked no-one in revealing a turbocharged replacement for the 458. Called the 488 GTB, power is up to 660bhp and torque to 560Ib ft from a 3.9 litre twin turbo V8, enough to give McLaren’s 650S a bloody nose. Performance is explosive, 0-124 mph takes just 8.3 seconds while it gets round Ferrari’s test track, Fiorano, a second quicker than an Enzo. While it’s a clear evolution of the 458, the 488 differentiates itself with bigger side vents and a more aggressive nose. I bet the old car still sounds better though.
Instagram user dreboog has seemingly leaked our first view of the new Audi R8. The front is very much in keeping with the TT and Q7 and seems to tie in with the grille of the new R8 racing car which has been seen in light disguise. Sharing a lot of parts with Lamborghini’s disappointing Huracan, Audi will be hoping for better reviews of its halo model for sure. Who’s betting the new car will be turbocharged?
Top of the hot hatches revealed this week has to be the new Ford Focus RS. After years of suggesting it would be front wheel drive, Ford shocked petrolheads everywhere by confirming four wheel drive for the new model. This will help channel a power output ‘well in excess of 320PS’ to the road, potentially dropping the 0-60 time to under 5 seconds. Clever shuffling of the power between the rear wheels should give cornering forces over 1g and the option of drifting the car around corners. Judging by a video with Ken Block behind the wheel, it should be the most fun Ford in years.