Maserati will introduce the Alfieri as a plug-in hybrid or full-electric model in 2020. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
Maserati will introduce the Alfieri as a plug-in hybrid or full-electric model in 2020. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

Remember the Maserati Alfieri concept from 2014? Well, the company hasn’t given up on the car that bears its founder’s name.

In a conversation with one of the Maserati product planners, Motor News learnt the company plans to introduce the Alfieri as a production model in 2020. However, unlike the concept, it looks likely to be a plug-in hybrid or fully-electric model.

Resurrected … again

Aston Martin is turning Lagonda into an all-electric luxury brand, starting with this concept SUV. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
Aston Martin is turning Lagonda into an all-electric luxury brand, starting with this concept SUV. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

Aston Martin is resurrecting the Lagonda brand for the second time after it had a go with the Lagonda Taraf a couple of years ago.

That was a sedan with a big internal combustion engine, but at this week’s Geneva Motor Show the company revealed Lagonda as a new super-luxury electric vehicle brand.

Yes, Lagonda will be all-electric and the company has plugged into the new era with its Vision Concept SUV. It will be one of two models that the company plans to launch worldwide in 2023.

Luxury hybrid

Bentley has revealed a plug-in hybrid version of the Bentayga. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
Bentley has revealed a plug-in hybrid version of the Bentayga. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

Bentley has followed up the V8 version of the Bentayga with the reveal of a plug-in hybrid version.

Using an electric motor and a new V6 petrol engine, the company claims an electric-only range of 50km and emissions of just 75g/km of CO2. Bentley also says that the battery can be charged in just 2.5 hours. The company says the hybrid version will only be available in selected international markets from late in 2018, so it remains to be seen if it will come to SA.

Tron’s back

Audi hasn’t exactly revealed the e-Tron SUV but it will be in SA in 2019. Picture: QUICKPIC
Audi hasn’t exactly revealed the e-Tron SUV but it will be in SA in 2019. Picture: QUICKPIC

Actually it’s not Tron, it’s e-Tron, Audi’s electrification brand. We can’t say the company has revealed its new all-electric SUV because it is still covered in camo, but Audi says it will have space for five plus luggage, charge up in just 30 minutes at a 150kW fast-charger and will go on sale in Europe at the end of 2018.

Audi plans to bring it to SA in 2019 and it will be followed by an e-Tron Sportback.

New direction

Hyundai has used its Le Fil Rouge concept to announce its new Sensuous Sportiness design language. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
Hyundai has used its Le Fil Rouge concept to announce its new Sensuous Sportiness design language. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

Hyundai has announced a new design direction with the reveal of its latest concept in Geneva.

The company says it is moving to a theme of "Sensuous Sportiness" and showcased it with the reveal of the Le Fil Rouge concept, which we have to say looks remarkably like it was inspired by a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti from 2004. Still, if you want sensuous sportiness then Ferrari is a good place to start.

Spyder emerges

Lamborghini has lopped the top off the Huracan Performante. Picture: LAMBORGHINI
Lamborghini has lopped the top off the Huracan Performante. Picture: LAMBORGHINI

As night follows day, a higher performance Lamborghini Huracán inevitably means a higher performance Lamborghini Huracán Spyder.

Lamborghini courted controversy in 2017 with the Huracán Performante and its record-smashing Nordschleife lap, but there are fewer doubters now after independent testing.

The Huracán Spyder Performante’s straight-line performance isn’t demonstrably different to the standard car, but Lamborghini promises its cornering pace will be.

It leverages the mid-mounted, 5.2l, naturally aspirated V10 for 470kW of power at 8,000r/min and 600Nm of torque. Lamborghini claims that’s good for a 3.1 second sprint to 100km/h, 0-200km/h in 9.3 seconds and a 325km/h top speed.

The maximum torque doesn’t arrive until 6,500r/min, but Lamborghini counters that 70% of the torque peak is already underfoot at 1,000.

The 1,507kg supercar hangs 57% of its weight over the rear axle and hauls down from 100km/h in just 31.5m.

Dumping diesel

Japan’s biggest car maker has responded to Europe’s burgeoning diesel crisis by abandoning the fuel.

Toyota Europe CEO South African Johan van Zyl insisted this week that the brand would dump all its diesel-powered passenger cars and crossovers in Europe by the end of 2017.

A statement from the car maker clarified that it would retain diesel power only for its LandCruiser, Prado, Hilux and its light commercials.

Toyota insists fewer than 10% of its cars and crossovers in Europe use diesel power, with its hybrid strategy, expected to take up any shortfalls. More than 40% of Toyota’s European sales were hybrids last year, dominated by the C-HR’s 80% hybrid mix.

The push into crossovers has hurt Toyota’s chances of meeting the EU7 limit of 95g/km of CO2 by 2021, and missing that target will automatically bring huge fines for carmakers.

"The more hybrids we sell, the better our chances," Toyota Europe chairman Didier Leroy insisted. "For us, mild hybrids wouldn’t be a step forward," he said.

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