UK

UK

The Ford Focus ST has quickly become one of our favorite hot hatchbacks on the market today, as the U.S.-spec model pumps out a monstrous 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, and gets this hatchback to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. The UK-spec Focus ST is slightly detuned – wow, we actually got the upper hand in performance for once – as it has 250 PS (246 horsepower) and 360 Nm (265 pound-feet) of torque, which gets it to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds and gives it a 154 mph top speed.

Apparently, the UK thinks so highly of Ford’s newest version of the Focus that it has been approved by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) for use by UK police officers. While Ford does not go into many specifics about what’s under the hood, we assume by the lack of information that this Police Patrol Vehicle pumps out the same 250 PS and 360 Nm of torque, which will give it a huge upper hand on most of the cars roaming the streets of the UK.

Inside, the Ford Focus ST PPV is a mobile data terminal, which allows the police to activate the various functions of the car and likely acts as the in-car computer system for checking up on bad guys. Atop the Focus’s compact body sits the obligatory blue-and-white light bar boasting long-lasting LED technology. The body of the demonstrator car that Ford is dragging around the UK is draped in white with your typical police livery.

Local police forces can pick up the Focus ST PPV for £21,995 ($35,156 at the current exchange rates) in hatchback form or for £23,095 ($36,915) for the estate (wagon) model.

Click past the jump to read Ford’s press release.

Toyota GT 86

Love them or hate them, the Toyoscibaru triplets are a relative success and the Scottish Car of the Year award brass have confirmed its UK dominance by gracing it with the “Best Coupe ” award. While the GT86 may not be a powerhouse, pumping 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque from its 2.0-liter Subaru-built flat-4 engine, its lightweight body and low stance make it a true “driver’s car.”

Ultimately, its “driver’s car” feel combined with its 164 g/km of CO2 emissions and 39.8 mpg was what convinced the voting members of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers to give the Toyota the award. There is no mention of what other cars contended the GT86 for the title, but the press release alludes to the fact that the Toyota GT86 was a come-from-behind winner this year.

Congrats to Toyota on its latest achievement. This only leads us to wonder what else Toyota has in store for us, especially considering the fact that Toyota recently confirmed that the GT86 is just the first of a series of sports cars that the automaker will release. We all anticipate the other two being a return of the Celica and a redo of the MR2 that would hopefully put to bed the underachieving MR-2 Spyder that we saw in the mid-2000s.

Click past the jump for the full press release.

Volkswagen Polo R-Line

Volkswagen’s compact hatchback positioned right between the Up! and the Golf – the Polo – is all set to put on its big-boy pants. That’s right; VW is giving the Polo the “R” treatment. No, we’re not talking about the “R-Line ” treatment, which is little more than some aesthetic changes. We mean the balls-to-the-wall high-performance “R” treatment, much like what the Golf is getting .

The details on this model are not yet complete, but we do know that it will borrow the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine from the outgoing GTI mk6. VW will then punch up its horsepower to the 225-pony range and ship it to the front wheels – no AWD option. According to reports, the Polo R will bolt to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds and give it a 150 mph top speed, making it extremely quick for its class. Sure, the Focus ST will smoke it, but it’s a step under the Focus’ class.

Much like the Polo R-Line, the Polo R will feature some extra ground effect and larger rims to give it a sportier look, but the complete details on the exterior are not yet known. We also expect the suspension to be lowered and the brake system to be upgraded, giving it better handling and braking to better work with the 45 extra ponies.

According to reports, the Polo R is all set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013. Rumors are also afloat that the Polo R will hit European showrooms in mid 2013, but there is no confirmation yet. Of course, the Polo will not be offered in the U.S.

We expect to see the Polo R to go head-to-head against the Renault Clio RS and the Peugeot GTi, which each feature a 197-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine. Depending on the weight difference, this could give the Polo R a significant advantage.

We’ll add more information to this review as VW releases more details.

Image Note: All images are of the Polo R-Line

For the vast majority of the automobile’s life, horsepower has reigned supreme as the bragging right of most car owners. Torque snuck its way in through the 1980s and is now a little more relevant, but it was all about that almighty HP for the most part. Well, as the emission standards and fuel crisis of just about every decade emasculated muscle cars more and more, a new spec started rearing its wallet-friendly little head: miles per gallon.

With the price per gallon of gas tickling Abraham Lincoln’s feet in some areas of the U.S., mpg is becoming more and more important. In fact, just months ago, Consumer Reports did a survey that showed 37 percent of car buyers actually make their car-buying decision based on the mpg of a car. The next highest percentage chose build quality, and that tallied up to only 17 percent of the people polled.

It has gotten to the point now that even Lamborghini has introduced a start-stop feature on the 2013 Aventador , Ferrari and Porsche are building hybrids, and there is an electric-powered sedan hat hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds while getting 90 mpg equivalent. This leads us to the inevitable, the sports car world is the next thing that has to change or die off altogether, as the supercar world is already rolling toward the mpg side.

There is mention of the Mustang and Camaro both switching over to turbocharged V-6 or, god forbid, 4-cylinder engines . If the pony cars can do it, chances are the sports cars of the world – Nissan 370Z, Porsche Boxster, Mazda Miata, etc. – are all going to have to push their mpg to extremes to remain competitive. This could ultimately increase sticker prices significantly and might result in buyers having no problems saying, “yeah, my car only has 100 horsepower and looks like a shoe, but it gets 75 mpg!”

The UK has been dealing with terrible gas prices for ages and you can see it in its cars. For example, the Nissan 370Z Nissan 370Z costs $33,120 in the U.S. and gets 26 mpg highway. In the UK, however, Nissan Nissan had to tweak it to meet the EU’s more stringent fuel economy regulations, raising its highway mpg to 36, but bringing the 370Z’s cost to an astronomical £29,975 ($48,202 at the current exchange rates). Would you pay nearly $50K for a base 370Z? I know I wouldn’t.

This may very well result in the death of the sports car, what a scary thought. Ultimately it is a change-inexpensively-or-die situation for the sports car as we know it in next 10 years…

Top Gear is at it again. If you don’t remember, several months back they brought us the “Deadly 720” – the world’s first ever double loop completed by a car. Well, Guinness was on location and awarded Top Gear the “official” world record for the stunt.

Apparently that world record combined with their latest record for being the most widely watched factual TV show are not enough, as the Top Gear boys, fresh off of a new contract, are bringing back the “Deadly 720.” This time around they will add in a new element to the double loop, allowing them to set yet another record, according to Top Gear’s creative director Rowland French.

In a statement, French said: “The original Deadly 720 was as far as our experience, technology and bravery allowed us to go and we’ve been inundated with messages from the British public asking us to perform the stunt in the UK this year,” explained French. “The restless nature of the production, however, means I was keen to do something different and shoot for another World Record. The only way to do that is push the boundary further and create an even more extreme stunt. We started working on the project almost immediately after the South African stadium show and have been in rehearsals for weeks. This stunt will break new ground and I can’t wait to see the looks on the audience faces when we reveal it at the NEC.”

We’re not too sure what this new addition will be, but we’re sure it’ll be interesting nonetheless. The record will be attempted at the Top Gear Live show taking place at the Birmingham NEC from October 25th through the 28th.

We’re sure there will be plenty of hints and clues in the coming weeks, so we’ll bring you up to date with each update.

Click past the jump to read Top Gear’s press release.

Mazda has already announced plans to unveil a new generation Mazda3, but until that new model arrives in 2014 , the British market can take advantage of two very cool editions based on the current Mazda3 MPS. The two new models, Tamura and Venture, are priced from £15,995 (about $25,700 at the current exchange rates) and £17,495 ($28,150 at the current rates), respectively.

The new Tamura Edition will be offered with an impressive list of standard equipment: 17" alloy wheels, Sports styling kit, front fog lights, electric windows, six-speaker audio system, dual zone climate control air-conditioning, front, side and curtain airbags, and a Thatcham Cat 1 alarm.

The Venture Edition will add light gunmetal alloys wheels, a unique rear spoiler, privacy glass, 5.8-inch Sanyo TomTom navigation, Bluetooth hands-free, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, and heated front sports seats.

Both models are offered with either a 1.6-liter MZR petrol or diesel engine, both delivering improved fuel economy by 1.4%. Co2 emissions are also reduced by 2%.

For those who do not remember, the Bloodhound SSC is a rocket built by current land-speed record holders, Richard Noble and Andy Green. A few years ago, these gentlemen attempted to break the 1000 mph barrier and after a few years of reworking the vehicle, they are back again to achieve this very goal.

Up until now, all we’ve had for this vehicle were a few teaser images and sketches, but Noble has announced that this rocket system will be tested in its entirety for the first time at Newquay Cornwall Airport. During this test, the SSC SSC will be using a EJ200 Eurofighter Typhoon engine to hit a top speed of 230 mph, after which barrier the rocket firing sequence will begin. Previous details suggested that this sequence will begin after the 300 mph barrier is hit.

The world record attempt will be made late next year, or very early in 2014. The test will be public, so anyone living or visiting the United Kingdom, may want to swing by and check out this fascinating attempt. The previous record was an impressive 763 mph hit by RAF pilot Andy Green driving Noble’s ThrustSSC.

Source: AutoCar

The Kia Picanto is not a model you’ll find zipping through the streets of the U.S., but it has been a relative hit in developing markets, thanks to its low price, and even in the U.K., thanks to its stellar gas mileage. In the 2013 model year, Kia is releasing a series of “Originals” 3-door collection.

The most recent addition to this new collection of 3-door Kias is the all-new Picanto City. This model is, from the outward appearance, almost identical to any 3-door Picanto you’ll see frolicking through the streets of the U.K., but under the hood, in the wallet, and at the pump, it is much different than you would expect.

The U.K. super-mini segment is already overcrowded, so how well can Kia expect to do with this ultra-economic super-mini car?

Click past the jump to read our full review on the 2013 Kia Picanto City and find out how well it stacks up to the growing list of super-minis in the U.K.

Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept

Okay, so as we all know, the automotive rumormill has a habit of bouncing back and forth before finally resting on the truth. Back in August, we heard a rumor that the Alpine would be built in a joint venture between Renault -Nissan and Caterham . Then just days later, we started exploring the possibility of the Alpine and Infiniti Emerg-E being a Renault-Nissan and Lotus project, given the Emerg-E was already built on the Lotus Evora platform and it would be simpler to build both the Emerg-e and Alpine on the same platform.

Well, it looks as if the Lotus and Nissan talk is done with, as Caterham appears to have swooped in and all but completed a deal with Renault Nissan. Sky News is reporting that Caterham boss, Tony Fernandes, is just about to put ink to paper on a $400 million production deal that will join Caterham Caterham and Renault Renault -Nissan at the hip on the Alpine project. The deal would involve a 50-50 split in cost and profits between Renault-Nissan and Caterham.

There is no mention as to whether this will also affect the Emerg-E’s production plans, but chances are that the Emerg-E will remain a Lotus and Renault-Nissan project, since both companies are already so deeply entrenched in the deal.

This also effectively eliminates the chances that the Emerg-E and Renault Alpine will share any significant DNA. It is very doubtful if Lotus would be willing to lend its platform to Caterham for a project that it back-doored from the already struggling sports car builder.

We’ll keep a close eye on this situation because it could boil over into something a little more, as the two rivals compete to snag up a little extra business. The deal is expected to be reviewed on Monday and approved in just a few weeks.

Source: Sky News
Top Gear Season 17 moved to June 26?

Fresh off of their earning the “Most watched factual television program ” record from Guinness and Clarkson’s riveting and tear-jerking speech regarding said win, the folks at BBC decided it was time to reward the Top Gear boys with a new contract. So now we get another three years of hearing James May, Richard Hammond, and Jeremy Clarkson talk about and beat the living crap out of cars.

On top of renewing the boys, BBC also bought out the remaining 50-percent share of Bedder 6, the company that Clarkson and Top Gear producer, Andy Wilman, own. Bedder 6 also happens to own the commercial rights to Top Gear, so not only does the BBC now have its hosts locked up for three years, but sole ownership of the entire series indefinitely.

Part of the deal the trio signed requires heavier global promotion of the show, so you can expect more Top Gear shenanigans going on in random parts of the world. Top Gear fans are getting everything they ever wanted: more Clarkson, Mays, and Hammond, more global Top Gear promotion, and indefinite Top Gear airing all in one quick swipe of a pen.

Congrats to the Clarkson and his cohorts, and we look forward to seeing more of them.

Source: BBC News

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