Subaru BRZ review

Subaru BRZ review

The Subaru BRZ is one of the best kept secrets of the auotmotive world.

Developed alongisde the near-identical Toyota GT86, it’s an affordable back-to-basics front
engined, rear-wheel drive 2+2 sports coupe.

For 2017, Subaru has given the evergreen BRZ a mid-life facelift, equipment upgrade and distilled the trim options down to just one – SE Lux.

Subaru BRZ review

The exterior design tweaks are subtle, apart from the old school aerodynamic wing at the rear. Elsewhere, there’s a new front bumper, LED headlights and 10-spoke 17-inch alloys.

You can choose from five colours, though Subaru’s iconic WR (World Rally) Blue Pearl is surely the one to go for.

Inside, a 4.2-inch LCD colour display is added to the instrument display, featuring such sporting essentials as a G-Force meter and braking gauge.

Subaru BRZ review

The leather steering wheel is now smaller and boasts audio controls, while plastics generally have been upgraded or replaced by leather, giving the cabin a more upmarket feel.

The Alcantra and leather seats are more comfortable than ever (the driver’s seat has a six-way adjustment), while a 6.2-inch touchscreen has been added to the centre console, though sat nav is a £1,250 option.

The infotainment system is not as hi-tech as the best of them, but it does the job and, of course, offers full connectivity.

Subaru BRZ review

Traditionalists will be pleased to note that the cockpit is still adorned with plenty of retro-feel knobs and toggle switches.

The rear passenger seats are fitted with ISOFIX anchor points, but as with most 2+2s, they are
almost totally useless. Better news in the boot where there’s 243 litres of space available – 1,270 with the rear seats folded flat.

The 2017 Subaru BRZ is more driver focused than ever. Sadly, there’s no extra power for the 2.0-
litre 200PS ‘Boxer’ petrol engine, but it is more responsive, it still sounds suitably throaty and CO2 emissions are slightly lower.

Subaru BRZ review

Elsewhere, Subaru’s engineers have made various changes (to the steering, suspension, dampers and
brakes) to tweak the driving dynamics and make the BRZ even sharper than before.

Priced from £26,050, the BRZ is one of the most entertaining cars you’ll find for that money.

The chassis is better than ever and it’s enormous fun on flowing country roads. Agile and engaging, it’s helped by a slick six-speed short-throw manual gearbox and it feels totally
planted.

Subaru BRZ review

For the record, the BRZ is capable of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds (but feels faster) and it tops out at 140mph. Fuel economy is a claimed 36.2mpg (and it not far off that in the real world), while CO2 emissions are a very average 180g/km.

But here’s the thing. The BRZ is also now available with automatic transmission – and it’s a bit of a revelation.

Subaru BRZ review

It may sounds like sacrilege in a sports car package like this, but the auto box slams through the gears pretty well – even producing the odd pop on down-changes, allowing you to concentrate on the driving. The engine even sounds more sporty.

Verdict: The new, improved Subaru BRZ is better than ever. With a mild makeover inside and out, plus enhanced driving dynamics, it has to be one of the best-value, most entertaining sports cars
on the market – and it still looks just as cool.

Review by Gareth Herincx

Subaru BRZ review

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Jeep gets dirty with Renegade ‘Tough Mudder’ Edition

Jeep is celebrating its fourth year sponsoring the UK Tough Mudder series with a special edition Renegade 4×4.

Just 100 Jeep Renegade Tough Mudder 4x4s will be made, and to mark the occasion, the first ever ‘Tough Mudder for Jeep’ took place at Silverstone Circuit’s off-road course in Northamptonshire.

The Renegade successfully waded through a course designed by Tough Mudder, tackling rough terrain, dirty water and signature Tough Mudder obstacles, including ‘Mud Mile’ and ‘Quagmire.’ The SUV also tackled the steep slopes and inclines of ‘Killa Gorilla’ and the treacherous Cliff Hanger obstacle.

Priced from £27,795, Jeep reckons the limited edition “embodies the spirit, fun, adventure and innovation of Tough Mudder with Jeep’s legendary off-road credentials, ensuring drivers can tackle any challenge while Mudders push themselves into the unknown”.

The Tough Mudder Renegade is a 4×4 2.0-litre Multijet diesel automatic, available in orange and black. Standard features include:

  • 2.0 Diesel Multijet II (140hp)
  • 9 speed automatic transmission
  • 4×4 Active Low
  • 17” black alloy off road wheels – with 215/60/ R17 Mud & Snow tyres
  • Tough Mudder exclusive bonnet decal
  • Limited edition numbered stickers on upper rear three quarter panel
  • Tough Mudder tailgate badge
  • Off road style front bumper
  • Specific interior look – orange and black – with anodised orange interior bezels
  • Fabric – heated front seats
  • (DAB) Digital radio
  • Uconnect 5” touchscreen with Bluetooth, Sat Nav and live services
  • All weather floor mats
  • Tough Mudder Merchandise Pack to include water bottle, cap, hand towel, lanyard and wrist band in a drawstring bag

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Volvo celebrates its 90th birthday

Volvo Cars starts production of its new XC60 mid-size SUV in Gothenburg, Sweden, this month – 90 years after the first-ever Volvo, the ÖV4, saw the light of day on April 14, 1927.

New Volvo XC60A A total of just 275 vehicles were sold in its lifetime, which was modest even in those days, while the new XC60 replaces one of the best-selling models in Volvo’s history.

The original XC60 became a phenomenon, with climbing sales every year since it was introduced in 2008.

Seven years after it was revealed, it became the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe, and in its ninth year it is still selling in big numbers, accounting for around 30% of Volvo’s total global sales. In fact, April 2017 will see XC60 production exceed 1,000,000.

Original Volvo XC60Volvo’s founder, Assar Gabrielsson, saw an opportunity for car manufacturing in Sweden after observing the growing automotive industries in the US and Europe from his position within sales at the Swedish ball bearing maker SKF – a supplier to the car industry.

He managed to convince SKF to invest in a spin-off car business called AB Volvo and the first mass-produced Swedish car was quite a conventional vehicle, with elements of American car design, a wooden frame made of ash tree and beech, a 1.9-litre side-valve engine and artillery wheels with wooden spokes.

Only one colour combination was available – dark blue with black fenders.

Despite all these changes over the past 90 years, one thing has remained the same and that’s Volvo’s commitment to making the world’s safest cars.

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Toyota’s UK vote of confidence

Toyota has announced that it will invest a further £240 million in its plant at Burnaston in Derbyshire.

Starting this year, the facility will be upgraded with new equipment, technologies and systems so that it can produce future vehicles using the new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform.

By 2020, the majority of Toyota’s models will be built using TNGA platforms which already underpin the new Prius and the all-new C-HR crossover, which is built in Turkey.

“Our investment demonstrates that, as a company, we are doing all we can to raise the competitiveness of our Burnaston plant in Derbyshire,” said Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe.

“Continued tariff-and-barrier free market access between the UK and Europe that is predictable and uncomplicated will be vital for future success.”

Toyota has been making cars in the UK since 1992 and the Burnaston factory employs about 2,500 people.

The Avensis, Auris and Auris Hybrid are currently produced at the site. In 2015, 239,728 British-built Toyota cars were manufactured at the giant plant.

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Rolls-Royce unveils 10mph luxury electric car

Iconic luxury car maker Rolls-Royce has taken the wraps off its smallest ever car.

The unique Rolls-Royce SRH has been crafted for one very special customer – St Richard’s Hospital Pediatric Day Surgery Unit in the marque’s home town of Chichester, West Sussex.

The car will allow children awaiting surgery to drive themselves to the operating theatre, through the Pediatric Unit corridors which are lined with ‘traffic signs’. The experience of ‘self-drive to theatre’ aims to reduce child patient stress.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars welcomed two test drivers from the Pediatric Unit at St Richard’s Hospital, Molly Matthews and Hari Rajyaguru, to the home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood.

Rolls-Royce SRH for Saint Richard's Hospital, Chichester. Photographed at Rolls-Royce factory, Goodwood, UK. Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

In true Rolls-Royce style, the two children and their families enjoyed VIP hospitality with one notable addition to the usual customer experience. Molly and Hari both enjoyed first drives on the Rolls-Royce production line, an exceptionally rare privilege.

“We are a proud member of the community here in West Sussex,” said said , CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

“The Pediatric Unit at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester does such vital work in providing essential care to young people and their families.

“We hope that the RollsRoyce SRH will serve to make the experience for young people during treatment a little less stressful.”

Created from the ground-up by the dedicated Bespoke Manufacturing team, the Rolls-Royce SRH presents to its very important customer a landmark study in bespoke luxury.

Finished in a two-tone paint-scheme of Andalusian White and Salamanca Blue with a hand-applied St James Red coachline, the interior features a two-tone steering wheel, while the 24 volt gel battery propels the car with the same whisper-quietness as Rolls-Royce’s awersome V12 engines.

Marianne Griffiths, Chief Executive, of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Just like the joy it will bring to our young patients, the Rolls-Royce SRH is simply priceless.

“It is a very special gift and one of the most wonderful donations ever received by Love Your Hospital, our trust’s dedicated charity.

“On behalf of everyone at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and especially the small team who volunteered so much of their own time in support of St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and the children we care for.”

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