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What I learnt from Autocar – 18 March 09 March 19, 2009

Posted by Richard Aucock in What I learned today.
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… I saw a heavily cloaked test car a few weeks ago on the M42. Looked like a Jaguar, beneath the disguise. It was – the new XJ, which Hilton says will be unveiled in June.

what-i-learnt-from-autocar-18-march-09It was going to be a reskin of the current model, but is much more than that. Jaguar’s taken the lessons from the XF – a rehashed S-Type – and applied them here, for an extensive overhaul using the same air-suspension wheelbase.

Styling will wow. Jaguar designer Adam Hatton stressed as much over a beer late last year, at a function in the Cotswolds… and I believe the Malvern-dwelling dude (who rates the Citroen C4, but doesn’t like the new MINI).

There’s even going to be an all-glass panoramic roof.

Jag’s 3.0-litre V6 diesel will feature: this is so powerful and eco, it makes the V8 diesel redundant. Range Rover only for that, then? Seems an expensive way of doing things.

… VW’s said it’s planning a Bluesport range of green performance cars. Like Bluemotion, but faster. Raking in more profits, then.

… Mercedes will sell a diesel version of the next SLK, due in two years. As it’s based on the fine current C-Class platform, expect the brilliant C 250 CDI engine to feature.

… Sweden is not to ban petrol and diesel in 2020. It will ban them in 2030 instead. So that’s why Saab and Volvo are so big on biofuels…

What I learnt… from Autocar, 11 March 2009 March 18, 2009

Posted by Richard Aucock in What I learned today.
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… Top VW product man Ulrich Hackenberg says customers are prepared to pay more for Bluemotion ‘green’ cars. That’s because they’re 5-10mpg more economical. Win-win for VW, then. It gets more cash for each car, which customers are happy to buy in decent numbers.

what-i-learnt-from-autocar-11-march-2009With such a business model, why would it thus apply the Bluemotion changes to all models, cutting such a profitable revenue stream?

VW’s rivals may snipe and say that ‘all our cars are green, not stand-out green specials’ – but they ‘aint getting the profits of VW. That’s why Bluemotion’s here to stay.

Hackenberg also says customers are understand that they must look at engine technology, not size, to gauge performance. Good news for the downsizing trend.

… Next year, MINI will start selling patterned soft-top Convertibles. Not easy to productionise down at Oxford, but extremely lucrative, I’d have thought.

… Renault reveals the Megane Renaultsport 250’s carryover platform has been re-engineered to take a short-shift 6-speed gearbox. Why go to the trouble? Unless there are future transmission developments we’re not aware of…

… The Golf R32 will lose its heavy V6 for a more eco four-pot turbo. Probably the TTS’s 268bhp unit. It’s for handling as well as emissions, says VW.

… the origins of the TTRS’s five-pot turbo are revealed. It’s actually a tuned-up version of an engine seen in the US-spec VW Jetta. Not, as Audi claims, half a Lamborghini V10. Ahem.