Porsche Taycan sets new benchmark at Shelsley Walsh

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Porsche Taycan, Shelsley Walsh

The all-electric Porsche Taycan has claimed two records at the world’s oldest motorsport venue.

In the hands of journalist Dan Prosser, the Taycan Turbo S Sport Turismo set the fastest times in both the Series Production Electric Vehicle and Estate Car classes at Shelsey Walsh Hill Climb in Worcestershire.

The 762 PS Taycan recorded a time of 31.43 seconds over the challenging 0.57-mile course, breaking the previous estate car record of 32.41 seconds, achieved with an Audi RS 6 Performance in 2016.

The Taycan then set an all-new record at the venue for production electric vehicles. In fact, it came within a second of the overall electric car record of 30.46 seconds, set by an electric single-seat Formula E race car in 2018.

In order to qualify for the road-car record, the Taycan remained as it left the factory in Zuffenhausen, Germany, right down to its road-biased Pirelli P Zero tyres.

Only a ‘beam breaker’, to accurately record the time of the run, and number stickers marked it out.

Underlining the road-going specification of the car, Dan drove the Taycan to Shelsley Walsh from his home on the day of the event.

Hill climbs are one of the earliest forms of motorsport, and Shelsley Walsh is the oldest motorsport venue in the world to still run events on its original course, having first been used in 1905.

The 914-metre course snakes its way up a rural hillside, and over that distance climbs by 100m.

It gives the course an average gradient of more than one in 10 – and at points it’s steeper still, up to 1:6.24.

At just 3.7-metres wide – narrower than a typical two-way road – and with little run-off area, the course demands precision driving. These factors combine to make hill climb racing particularly thrilling and addictive for competitors and spectators alike.

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Lotus Emeya completes intensive test programme

Home / Auto News / Lotus Emeya completes intensive test programme

Gareth Herincx

1 day ago
Auto News

Lotus Emeya

The all-new Lotus Emeya has completed an extensive three-year test and development programme across 15 countries and two continents.

Cold-weather validation programme in the Arctic Circle confirms the “hyper-GT” can perform in the harshest conditions, including temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius.

It’s claimed the rigorous tuning and testing process ensures the Emeya drives like a true Lotus, so it’s “engaging and desirable, with safe handling so customers can maximise dynamic performance”.

Most recently, the all-electric grand tourer has been in Ivalo, Finland, around 250km inside the Arctic Circle. The three-year test and development programme took place on a variety of terrain and conditions -from the UK’s challenging B-roads to the smooth and fast-flowing German autobahn, through the highest Alpine passes and the remoteness of Inner Mongolia.

Testing also took place at race tracks such as the Nürburgring Nordschleife and at proving grounds like the high-speed loop near the southern Italian town of Nardò.

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Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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Kia EV9 review

Kia EV9 review

We road test the Kia EV9 – the stellar South Korean brand’s all-new, all-electric flagship SUV

With its concept car looks, long range and effortless drive, the Kia EV9 is quite the statement.

About the same size as a BMW X5, it’s available as a six or seven-seater – the former sporting swivelling middle-row seats.

Kia EV9 review

Priced from £65,025, it’s expensive for a Kia, but you sure get big bang for your bucks. The big question is – will it tempt buyers away from prestige EV rivals from the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz?

First impressions couldn’t be better. It’s an epic car with a bold, boxy design that focuses on maximising interior space and passenger comfort. And despite its size, the EV9 looks much better in the metal than it does in pictures.

Previewing Kia’s future design direction, the combination of a long wheelbase and completely flat floor creates generous space for all in the three rows of seats.

Kia EV9 review

And even with all the seats occupied, there’s still 333 litres of cargo space – expanding to a superb 828 litres with the third-row seats flipped, or an enormous 2,320 litres with the second and third-row seats folded down.

The Kia EV9 is equally impressive on a technical level. All models in the range come with a large 99.8kWh battery, and there are two electric motor options.

First up is the 201bhp Single Motor model that powers the rear wheels. Or step up to the Dual Motor all-wheel drive EV9, which has 378bhp and a massive 516lb ft of torque. If economy trumps performance on your tick-list, then the former delivers a claimed 349 miles of range, while the flagship model still offers a respectable 313 miles.

Kia EV9 review

Or to put it another way, the Single Motor can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds (19-inch wheels), while the more potent model takes just 5.3 seconds (21-inch wheels).

Ultra-fast charging is standard, meaning 154 miles can be added in just 15 minutes. Or to put it another way, a 10-80% charge will take as little as 24 minutes via a 350kW connection. Naturally, it will also charge overnight at home, if you have a wallbox.

The Kia EV9 is generously equipped too, with a three-screen dash layout combining a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, a 12.3-inch driver’s display and a 5.3-inch touchscreen for the climate controls. With a few physical buttons thrown in too, it’s as logical and slick as ever – just what we’ve come to expect from Kia.

Kia EV9 review

There’s also wireless phone charging, Apple and Android connectivity, heated and cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone air conditioning, LED lights all round, a 360-degree camera system, V2L charging, a power tailgate and a three-pin socket in the boot.

I haven’t even mentioned the long list of safety and driver assistance tech which helped to earn the EV9 a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating, or the regenerative braking which is easily adjusted via paddles behind the steering wheel.

The overall build quality is hard to fault, while the interior materials (many of which are recycled) are just the job, though there’s still some way to go for Kia to be challenging the plush interiors of the big German premium brands.

Kia EV9 review

Once you’ve ‘stepped into’ the cabin, it instantly feels spacious and comfortable, with excellent visibility. You don’t feel perched, like some electric SUVs, and there’s plenty of seat adjustment.

I drove the Dual Motor EV9 in GT-Line S spec on a variety of roads around Aberdeen, Inverness and into the Scottish Highlands.

To say progress was relaxed and effortless would be an understatement. It feels big, especially in town and on narrower country roads, but for the most part it’s not an issue and it simply cruises silently along (wind and road noise are hardly noticeable). Ride quality is impressive and the steering is light-yet-accurate.

Gareth Herincx - Kia EV9

Despite its bulk, it manages to stay surprisingly flat in more challenging corners, but it would be an exaggeration to call it nimble. Helped by a low centre of gravity, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a 2.6 tonne car.

As you’d except from the AWD system, traction levels are superb. I didn’t get to try the EV9 off-road, but in addition to the steering wheel-activated Eco, Normal and Sport drive modes, there’s also a terrain mode button, giving the options of Mud, Snow and Sand.

There’s no shortage of power either, but if longer range is more important to you, it might be worth going for the Single Motor model.

Kia EV9 review

Freezing conditions probably didn’t help, but after a couple of days with the AWD EV9, average energy consumption was 2.5 miles/kWh, which is a tad disappointing. Nevertheless, that still equates to a tidy real-world range in the late 200s (more in an urban environment), and I’d hope the RWD version would be able to return around 300 miles.

Finally, a quick word about the seating. If you choose the seven-seater (it’s one of the few such EVs on the market), the third row is useable for adults (I managed perfectly well and I’m 5’11”) – partly because the second-row bench can slide back and forth.

Kia EV9 review

And the two individual ‘captain’s chair’ seats, which swivel and recline in the six-seater version, are a great gimmick, and certainly add to the car’s wow factor.

Verdict: The cool Kia EV9 is as impressive as it’s big. A statement car if ever there was one, this striking SUV is competitively-priced, spacious and safe; delivering an effortless drive and useable real-world range.

Kia UK

Kia EV9 review

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Audi Q4 e-tron review

We get behind the wheel of the Q4 e-tron – Audi’s entry-level, all-electric car…

Launched in 2021, the Audi Q4 e-tron battles it out in the hugely competitive mid-sized SUV sector.

Its many rivals include the Tesla Model Y, Kia EV6, BMW iX1, Mercedes-Benz EQB, Volvo XC40 Recharge and Polestar 2.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Priced from £51,325, it also competes with its Volkswagen Group cousins (they share the same platform) – the Skoda Enyaq and VW ID.5.

Available in both SUV and sleeker Sportback versions, the Q4 e-tron comes with a 76.6kWh battery and two power levels – the ’40’ (rear-wheel drive single electric motor) or the top-spec ’50’ quattro (two electric motors driving all four wheels).

The ’40’ delivers 201bhp and accelerates from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds, while the ’50’ has 295bhp on tap and can hit 62mph in 6.2 seconds.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Both versions have a 135kW charge capacity, which can get you from 5% to 80% in as little 29 minutes. Like all EVs, it will also charge up overnight if you have a home wallbox.

Depending on body style and power output, the Q4 e-tron has a claimed range of 292 – 328 miles.

Naturally, the Q4 e-tron is generously equipped, but as ever with Audi, there’s still a lengthy list of options, plus three packs (Technology, Technology Pro and Safety Package Plus) in addition to the basic three trim levels (Sport, S Line and Black Edition).

Audi Q4 e-tron review

We road tested the Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro in S Line trim. Our car was a Sportback, which is mechanically identical to the more conventional SUV version, except for the sharply raked roofline for extra kerb appeal. Perhaps more importantly, its slippery body also delivers a slightly longer range.

Inside it’s very Audi. In other words, it’s a combination of top build quality, state-of-the-art tech, comfort and space.

As with all SUVs, there’s a high driving position, while the dashboard layout is refreshingly conventional with a user-friendly blend of 10.25-inch digital driver’s display, a 11.6-inch central touchscreen, separate (physical) climate controls and a multifunction steering wheel.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Audi’s infotainment system is as slick as ever. What’s more, it uses ‘haptic feedback’ (there’s a slight clicking sensation when you touch it), which is much better than the frustrating touch-sensitive system used by other VW Group brands such as Volkswagen and Seat.

Visibility is good and where there are deficiencies, the multitude of cameras and sensors make up for it. Oh, and kudos to Audi for sticking with a rear wiper, an essential missing from competitors such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

On the road, the Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro may not be as blisteringly fast in a straight line as some rivals, but it’s still swift enough for everyday driving.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

The ride is a tad stiff, but even so, it manages to stay comfortable and refined with very little wind and road noise making it into the cabin.

In fact, our test car – which was fitted with 20-inch wheels and optional adaptive suspension – only got caught out on poorer surfaces.

The Q4 disguises its weight well, for a fairly heavy car (more than two tonnes), thanks to a low centre of gravity, but also light and accurate steering with a reasonably tight turning circle. It’s only when stopping from speed that you sense how hard the brakes are working.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Push it on more challenging roads and it would be a stretch to call it the most engaging of drives, but at least it manages to remain relatively flat in faster corners, plus it grips well and traction is excellent.

There are various drive modes (Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual) and selecting Dynamic does make it feel slightly sharper and more responsive, but that’s as far as it goes.

We also like the way you can also adjust the level of brake regeneration via the paddles on the steering wheel, plus there’s a B-mode on the gear selector, for maximising energy recuperation.

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Based on a week of mixed driving, we’d estimate our Q4 e-tron has a real-world range of around 270 miles. However, if you opt for the entry level model, your range is likely to be closer to 230 miles.

The Q4 e-tron’s interior is spacious and there’s enough room for six-footers to sit comfortably in the rear which isn’t always the case with sportier SUVs.

Add 535 litres of luggage space in the boot (15 litres more than the SUV version) and 1,460 litres with the rear seats folded, and it’s a very practical proposition.

Finally, and as with most modern EVs, the Q4 e-tron is loaded with the latest technology and solidly built, achieving a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP’s crash tests.

Verdict: Handsome, comfortable, practical and easy to drive, the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron oozes badge appeal and is one of the best 100% electric SUVs in its sector.

Audi UK

Audi Q4 e-tron review

Play your cards right with cinchCharge

Audi RS e-tron GT charging

We test the “faff-free” app and card that makes charging an EV much easier…

The great switch to electric vehicles is not without its issues. The high upfront cost of EVs, range anxiety and finding a public charger, to name but a few.

Then there’s the multitude of different companies providing chargers, each requiring registration, meaning some EV drivers have phones packed with apps or wallets loaded with (RFID) cards.

Anything that can smooth things along helps, which is why car marketplace, cinch, is on to a winner with cinchCharge.

cinchCharge

Marketed as “faff-free EV charging”, cinchCharge is a payment card and app which gives cinch EV buyers access to more than 30,000 public chargepoint connectors across over 18 networks.

In one fell swoop, electric car drivers who’ve bought via cinch can pay for charging using the cinchCharge card or app without having to shuffle cards and flick through different apps.

We’ve been testing out cinchCharge for ourselves over the last couple of months and we’re impressed.

The cinchCharge app helps you find and filter accessible public chargers by availability, speed and distance from your location.

cinchCharge app

What’s more, the cinchCharge app is free to download, there’s no monthly subscription and no fees.

When you stop at the charger, simply tap the cinchCharge card or use the app to start charging. Then you end your charging session and payment is taken from your linked debit or credit card, so you only pay for what you use.

The cinchCharge card worked perfectly on every public charger we used, including Gridserve, Motor Fuel Group, Osprey and Ionity.

Typically, there were also a couple of occasions where we were miffed because we weren’t able to use fast chargers on the Instavolt and BP Pulse networks, because they are not cinchCharge providers, but on the whole, the coverage is impressive.

The app is fine, though perhaps not the slickest out there, but it is integrated with Google Maps, Waze and Apple Maps, meaning you can easily get directions to chargers, once you have located them.

Subaru Solterra charging

What’s more, the interactive map within cinchCharge shows you whether the chargepoint is available, compatible, the speed it will charge your car, as well as highlighting the price.

Our only suggestion is that would be a great bonus if the kWh prices were discounted a little for cinch owners.

So, overall cinchCharge works and certainly alleviates one of the key “faffs” of owning an electric vehicle (ie registering with various suppliers and needing multiple cards).

It’s just a shame that all EV drivers can’t benefit from cinchCharge and you have to buy a car via cinch in order to be able to access it!