Aston Martin has announced that its Lagonda brand will be a zero-emissions range. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
Aston Martin has announced that its Lagonda brand will be a zero-emissions range. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

Zero-fumes Lagonda

British sports car maker Aston Martin has confirmed it will re-invent the long-dormant Lagonda brand as a zero-emissions line.

As it hinted at the Geneva motor show in March, it will start its production future in 2021 with an all-electric Lagonda SUV, which will be the template for all future Lagonda-branded cars.

Aston has stopped short of calling Lagonda a dedicated battery-electric brand, instead dubbing it "emissions-free" to possibly include a future hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain.

"In reviving one of the most iconic names in motoring we have created a unique opportunity, one that allows us to cast aside an inherited 20th-century approach and instead design cars around 21st-century demands and desires," Aston Martin president and CEO Andy Palmer says. "The Lagonda SUV is the first of its kind: a spacious, high-performance 4x4 that successfully reconciles a love of technology, luxury and style."

Aston Martin has owned the Lagonda brand since 1947, though it dates back to 1906. It built a limited edition run of Lagonda Taraf limousines in 2014, but prior to that its last use of the Lagonda badge was on the wildly optimistic, electrically troubled, wedge-shaped Aston Martin Lagonda that ran from 1976 to 1989.

The upcoming Lagonda SUV will retain the dramatic, polarising styling of the Vision Concept from the Geneva show, giving it another point of separation from the more classical sports car proportions Aston Martin owners are so fond of.

Middle-ground AMG

Mercedes-AMG has unveiled another GT roadster that is neither too hot nor too cold but just right. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
Mercedes-AMG has unveiled another GT roadster that is neither too hot nor too cold but just right. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

AMG has added middle-ground punch to its hotshot, two-seat convertibles. The GT S roadster should be just the thing for biturbo V8 lovers for whom a 302km/h blow dry is not enough and a 316km/h is too much.

The Mercedes-Benz hotshop is about to swing a 384kW, 670Nm version of its front-engined 4.0l GT into production or, in simpler terms, it’s cutting the roof off its GTS coupe to make a new roadster.

Sitting between the GT roadster and the hottest GTC roadster, the GTS will rip to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds on its way to a 308km/h top speed.

While pricing hasn’t been announced, it will slice the middle ground between the two existing GT-based roadsters, though trending towards the heaviest hitter. Critically, it won’t score the GTC roadster’s rear-wheel steering system of the flagship roadster’s handling performance.

Yet another GTI

Volkswagen plans to build its latest GTI range-topper before the end of 2018. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
Volkswagen plans to build its latest GTI range-topper before the end of 2018. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

The go-faster Golf family just got bigger and angrier with the debut of the Golf GTi TCR concept.

Flagging a production car it should be building by the end of 2018, the GTi TCR concept is another effort Volkswagen is making with the international TCR production-based racing series, which its Golf TCR has dominated.

The GTi TCR, which debuted at the Worthesee GTi festival in Austria, will turn the Golf even more wicked. The front-wheel drive, five-door hatch will punch out 213kW of power, which it hopes to tame with a mechanically locking differential. The most powerful front-driver in VW history, the GTi TCR Golf will be limited to 250km/h, though de-limited versions will hit 264km/h.

Though there’s no word on its 0-100km/h sprint times, the GTi TCR has uprated brakes, suspension and gear-shifting to match the added urge.

"At the moment, the Golf GTI TCR Concept — an athlete derived from racing sport — is a study," Volkswagen’s board member for sales Jürgen Stackmann says. "But at the end of the year, we want to make this GTI vision come true."

8 Series at Le Mans

BMW’s M8 GTE will race at Le Mans this year but the night before, the company will unveil the new 8 Series coupe. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK
BMW’s M8 GTE will race at Le Mans this year but the night before, the company will unveil the new 8 Series coupe. Picture: NEWSPRESS UK

BMW has decided to use the 2018 Le Mans 24-hour race to unveil the production version of its new 8 Series coupe.

The company has entered the M8 GTE race production race car into the famous 24 hour race but the evening before the flag drops at the start, the Munich car maker will show the new 8 Series coupe a year after it first showed the concept. The 8 Series coupe will go on sale in SA in the first quarter of 2019.

Tired of driving?

How was your drive to work today? Exhausting, stressful? Were you cut up by a minibus taxi, tailgated by a Fortuner driver and annoyed by the middle-lane hogger? Imagine if you could rise above it all.

Uber is planning to make that a reality with its UberAir service which will utilise flying taxis in the same way as its ride-sharing operation works on the ground. The company has announced that it will launch the service in 2023 in Dallas and Los Angeles, but is looking for cities outside of the US to also launch it. Uber says it is looking for cities with "aspirational vision" that are investing in future transportation solutions.

That’s probably South African cities out, then.

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