• Ford Focus RS Promises Cheaper Thrills

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    There was no question that the 2016 Ford Focus RS was going to be quick. That was always a given. No, the question was always “how quick?”.

    Now we know. With 350PS and 440Nm the turbocharged 2.3-litre Ecoboost propels the Focus to 62mph in just 4.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 165mph. That’s nearly a whole second faster than the previous fastest Focus, the RS500, and it’s a lot cheaper than that limited edition RS.

    It’s hardly a surprise that this is the fastest accelerating RS model ever, that’s progress for you! What is a surprise is the price that Ford are asking for this level of performance – just £28,940.

    In terms of thrills gained against hard-earned money spent there’s nothing that can touch it. It’s cheaper than a 300PS Golf R and makes the Leon Cupra, Megane Renaultsport and Astra VXR look under-endowed. What it emphatically does is stick two fingers up at the Audi RS3 and AMG A45, who tried to convince us that almost £40k was acceptable for a hot hatch. Jürgen Gagstatter, chief program engineer for Focus RS, puts it quite politely:

    “The all-new Focus RS delivers stunning performance and innovative technology at a price that will make both our customers and premium automakers look twice. After experiencing the acceleration and cornering capability of the Focus RS, drivers will question the sense in spending almost £10,000 more on a premium competitor.”

    So in other words, you’d have to be barking mad to spend another £10k on one of the German rivals. Unless you really, really want some of those pretty headlights.

    2016 Ford Focus RS

    Performance & Economy 2016 RS 2009 RS 2010 RS500
    Engine 2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol 2.5-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged petrol 2.5-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged petrol
    Transmission 6-speed manual, front-engined, all-wheel drive 6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive 6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive
    Power (PS / bhp) 350 / 345 300 / 295 350 / 345
    Torque (Nm / lb.ft) 440 / 324
    (470 / 346 on overboost)
    440 / 324 460 / 339
    0 – 62 mph (seconds) 4.7 5.9 5.6
    Top Speed (mph) 165 163 165
    CO2 Emissions (g/km) TBA 225 235
    VED Band TBA K L
    Combined Economy (mpg) TBA 30.1 28.5
    Price (OTR) £28,940 £27,925 £35,437

    2016 Ford Focus RS (08)
    2016 Ford Focus RS Interior
    Ford Focus RS Dynamic Torque Vectoring
    2016 Ford Focus RS (09)
    2016 Ford Focus RS (07)
    2016 Ford Focus RS (10)

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  • Every Little Counts For SEAT Leon Cupra 290

    Remember the SEAT Leon Cupra 280? Launched at the start of 2014 to a flood of praise and accolades (including from myself), it was seen as one of the best hot hatches on the market. Well, that’s so last year, because the Cupra 280 is gone.

    SEAT Leon Cupra 290 01

    SEAT Leon Cupra 290

    Instead we’ve got a Leon Cupra 290 and, as you might have guessed, it’s got a power increase of 10PS courtesy of a mild ECU remap. Which might not seem like much but, as a certain supermarket giant likes to remind us, every little counts. It takes the Leon’s output even closer to the Golf R, beats the Focus ST with ease and matches the Megane 275’s recent power hike.

    Not that you’ll notice much difference. The official acceleration times for the Cupra 290 are exactly the same at 5.7 seconds for the DSG and 5.8 for the manual transmission and top speed is still limited to 155mph. Economy and CO2 emissions are identical but the peak torque of 350Nm is at least available across more of the rev range than before, from 1,700rpm all the way to 5,800 rpm.

    Of course, you could go to an aftermarket tuner and get 4 or even 5 times the power increase along with some extra torques for a few hundred quid. The trouble is that might upset SEAT’s warranty department so if you want a little more power this is one way of getting it without affecting your Leon’s warranty.

    No official word on prices yet but expect to see a slight increase from the 280’s £28,485 OTR.

    SEAT Leon Cupra 290 02

    SEAT Leon Cupra 290

    Model 2015 Leon SC Cupra 290 2015 Leon SC Cupra 290 DSG 2014 Leon SC Cupra 280 2014 Leon SC Cupra 280 DSG
    Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed dual-clutch automatic 6-speed manual 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
    Engine 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol
    Power (PS / bhp) 290/287 290/287 280/276 280/276
    Torque (Nm /lb.ft) 350/258 350/258 350/258 350/258
    Kerb Weight (kg) 1,395 1,421 1,395 1,421
    MPG 42.2 42.8 42.2 42.8
    Top Speed 155 155 155 155
    0-62 mph (s) 5.8 5.7 5.8 5.7
    CO2 156 149 156 149
    VED G F G F
    Price £TBA £TBA £28,485 £29,840

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  • Forza 6 Launch Trailer

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    Gran Turismo versus Forza? Playstation versus Xbox? Which camp are you in?

    For years I’ve been in the legion of Gran Turismo fans but with every release of Forza I find my devotion starting to waver. The Xbox contender seems to grow from strength to strength while the Playstation stalwart seems to be treading water. Maybe I’m being unfair to the Gran Turismo team, but this launch trailer for Forza 6 has renewed my longing to buy an Xbox.

    This is the biggest Forza yet, with over 450 cars to choose from and 26 destinations to race in, 10 of which are new to the series. Each destination has several layout options too, so there’s plenty of asphalt to keep you occupied, whether that be on new tracks such as Lime Park, Watkins Glen and the Circuit of the Americas or old favourites such as Spa Francorchamps and the legendary Nürburgring.

    Ford GT in Forza 6

    Ford GT in Forza 6

    There’s a demo to whet your appetite too, which throws you behind the wheel of the 2016 Ford GT and pitches you against 23 opponents on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, a new fictional buy discount levitra track added to this release.

    On top of the extra content comes a new weather modelling system that does more than reduce grip and make pretty patterns on your monitor. Forza goes as far as modelling puddles on the track, which can lead to aquaplaning if you’re not careful. There’s damage modelling too, which can leave your pristine supercar looking very second-hand after a hard race. Gran Turismo, please take note!

    Pagani In The Rain

    Pagani In The Rain

    The demo then takes you through the early stages of the career mode and introduces you to the new pre-race modding system, which allows bonuses to be added to the end-of-race results or to give your car a little extra performance.

    Forza 6 will hit the stores on September 18th so there’s still time to get your pre-order in and start driving on the day of release.

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  • Mégane Renaultsport 275 Cup-S Lowers Price

    Renault are set to make their all-conquering Mégane Renaultsport even more irresistible by introducing a new entry-level model, slashing the price to under £24k.

    Megane Renaultsport 275 Cup-S Preview 09

    Megane Renaultsport 275 Cup-S

    The Renaultsport 275 Cup-S distills the Mégane’s essence into its purest form, ditching creature comforts in favour of the Cup chassis (usually a £1,350 option) and the same 275hp turbocharged petrol engine as the limited-edition 275 Trophy-R, and it’s all yours for just £23,935.

    Personally I wouldn’t be satisfied with that. Having driven a Trophy-spec Mégane I’d have to add the optional Ohlins dampers. They may be expensive at £2,000 but they transform the ride, improving both body control and the Mégane’s ability to handle bumps and compressions. You’ve then got the best handling chassis in its class for less than £26k, less than the price of a 227bhp Golf GTI.





    The headline figures can be a bit misleading though. In ‘normal’ mode the Megane’s turbocharged 4-cylinder engine develops buy nexium 20 250hp at 5,500rpm. It’s only when you start playing around with the Renaultsport Dynamic Management system that you can unleash the full-fat 275hp. With peak power comes 360Nm of torque, covering the mid-range from 3,000 to 5,000rpm.

    If the thought of a modern car without so much as air-conditioning puts you off then take a look at the other end of the Mégane spectrum. The new 275 Nav replaces the 265 Nav and represents the softer side of the Mégane’s character. For £25,935 you get the same engine and straight-line performance but sacrifice the Cup Chassis (still available as an option) for the slightly softer Sport setup and lots more toys in the cabin. It adds dual-zone climate, auto lights and wipers, R-Link V2 multimedia system with navigation, better sound system, keyless entry and tinted rear windows.

    Both the 275 Nav and Cup-S are available to order now with deliveries starting in November.


    Megane Renaultsport 275 Cup-S Preview 09

    Performance & Economy 2015 Mégane Renaultsport 275 Cup-S 2015 Mégane Renaultsport 275 Nav
    Engine 1,998cc turbocharged 4-cylinder, petrol 1,998cc turbocharged 4-cylinder, petrol
    Transmission 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
    Power (PS / bhp) 279 / 275 at 5,500rpm 279 / 275 at 5,500rpm
    Torque (Nm / lb.ft) 360 / 265 at 3,000-5,000rpm 279 / 275 @ 5,500rpm
    0 – 62 mph (seconds) 6.0 6.0
    Top Speed (mph) 158 158
    CO2 Emissions (g/km) 174 174
    VED Band H H
    Combined Economy (mpg) 37.7 37.7
    Kerb Weight (kg) 1,376 1,376
    Insurance Group 40E 40E
    Price (OTR) £23,935 £25,935

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