RUMOUR HAS IT...
Ford focused on the future
Ford has revealed the next generation of its Focus
Ford has revealed the next generation of its popular Focus this week, promising "a new era for technology, comfort, space and driving experience".
The new generation has been designed from scratch and the company says it features a new "human-centric" design, and new models such as the Focus Active crossover.
Tech will include a new stop and go adaptive cruise control system, traffic sign recognition and a lane-keeping system, as well as predictive curve lighting. There will also be a head-up display for the first time and active park assistance. On the connectivity and infotainment front, the new Focus will be available with FordPass Connect, Sync 3 with an eight-inch touchscreen, Bang and Olufsen Play audio system and a wireless charging pad.
Upgrades have been made to the EcoBoost petrol engine as well as the diesel offering with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. Ford is promising fuel efficiency improvements of 10% across the range. In addition there will be selectable drive modes, 20% better torsional rigidity and continuously controlled damping for better ride comfort.
Ford SA has confirmed that the new Focus will be coming to SA but cannot say when or which models at this stage.
More than a game
PlayStation will meet reality this weekend, with Audi turning its e-tron Vision Gran Turismo into a full-blown hypercar.
The German premium car maker has taken the digital star of PlayStation 4 and built two of them for the real world. It plans to debut the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo concept cars as race taxis during Saturday’s Formula E Grand Prix in Rome, complete with a 100km/h sprint in less than 2.5 seconds.
The e-tron Vision Gran Turismo was developed as a hypothetical electric sports car for the evergreen race gaming platform, but Audi turned it into a real car in just 11 months.
"E-Mobility is rapidly gaining importance; that is why in 2017 Audi was the first German manufacturer to enter Formula E with a factory-backed commitment," Audi’s board member for development, Peter Mertens, says.
"With the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo race taxi we are turning electric mobility into a tangible experience for our customers and guests as part of the Formula E races, in the middle of the world’s metropolises."
Like many other manufacturers, Audi delivered the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo as a completely digital car for the Gran Turismo game’s 15th anniversary. Other cars were turned into full-sized models, but Audi has become the only Gran Turismo anniversary digital car to be turned into a functional running car.
X5 platform move
BMW is busy moving many of its models to its new CLAR (cluster architecture) platform and, in some cases, it means an early switch to the next generation.
2018 will see the debut of an all-new X5 just five years after the latest generation was launched. It is unlikely to feature any major design changes to the exterior but expect big changes inside as well as more power from the engines and improved efficiency courtesy not just of engine enhancements but also the lighter weight of the CLAR platform.
Many car makers have teamed up with National Geographic over the years. It makes sense for Land Rover, Toyota or Jeep to work with the brand, but Rolls-Royce?
Three years after the beginning of its worldwide testing programme, the Cullinan will undertake The Final Challenge to prove itself "Effortless Everywhere", says Rolls-Royce. The Final Challenge began recently in the Highlands of Scotland and is being broadcast on social media by National Geographic and Rolls-Royce as it continues its adventure through the Alpine snowfields of Austria, the arid deserts of the Middle East and finally across the toughest terrain in the US.
Land Rover has its day
To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Land Rover has declared April 30 as World Land Rover Day. It might be a Monday but do not expect it to be a holiday, instead expect Land Rover owners the world over to celebrate the marque that first debuted in 1948.
To mark the announcement, Land Rover got snow artist Simon Beck to create a 250m wide drawing of a Land Rover Defender on the side of a mountain in the French Alps. The company says the image is a tribute to the moment when Maurice Wilks, engineering director of Rover, first sketched the shape for the original Land Rover in the sand and proposed the idea to his brother Spencer, Rover’s MD. The design was christened the "Land Rover", the outline of which we now recognise as the Defender.
Will the company use the 70th anniversary to reveal the new Defender? We wouldn’t bet against it.