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McLaren and Pirelli collaborate on a new winter tyre and wheel package

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 10:14
McLaren has matched Pirelli’s winter tyres with brand new alloy wheels and made them available on its Sport Series models through dealers

Top Spec Range Rover SVAutobiography revealed with £170k starting price.

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 18:42
After a luxurious back seat experience, but a few feet further off the ground? Range Rover’s new flagship might be for you.

New SEAT Leon Cupra R 2018 review – is it really worth the money?

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 17:15
The Cupra R offers tangible benefits over the old car, particularly the handling, so it’s a shame so few drivers will feel the benefits.

Bugatti Chiron and Ferrari LaFerrari headline RM Sotheby’s Icons sale

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 14:19
A stunning collection of iconic sports cars is set to go under the hammer at the RM Sotheby’s Icons sale in New York on December 6.

Cheap fast cars 2018 - the best budget performance cars on the market

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 13:03
The cheap fast car is a wonderful thing, if you buy right and do your research. These are our favourites from £1,000 to £10,000

Audi RS5 review - Audi's most entertaining coupe yet?

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 12:34
For  Effortless performance, confidence-inspiring handling, impressive refinement and comfort Against  Characterless engine, lack of driver involvement

A more rounded car than before, delivering crushing all-weather pace, but comfort and refinement comes at the expense of character

The original Audi RS5 debuted in 2010 and was arguably the brand’s best attempt yet to recapture the magic of its legendary ur Quattro. Featuring a similar four-seat coupe body, flared wheel arches and four-wheel drive, it ticked all the right boxes. And while it lacked the original’s five-cylinder soundtrack, it compensated with its howling V8.

In fact, this naturally aspirated 4.2-litre 8-cylinder unit was the dynamic highlight. The rest of the car just failed to live up to the promise of its raw ingredients. It was fast and composed, but it lacked the driver involvement that marked out the best, such as the BMW M4.

> Audi RS5 vs BMW M4 vs Mercedes-AMG C63 S - Supertest review

However, there’s now an all-new Audi RS5 that’s been developed to address the old version’s shortcomings. Lighter, faster and powered by a powerful new twin turbocharged V6, it promises to be one of the firm’s most engaging and entertaining machines yet. At least that’s what Audi claims.

Before you even so much as open the driver’s door Audi is keen to point out that the RS5 has been designed to cover a wider brief than its immediate rivals. In fact, bosses stress that this is a high performance GT car that can be transformed into razor-sharp sports coupe as and when the mood takes.

Audi RS5 in detail 

> Performance and 0-60 time - The RS5 edges out the competition in a launch style start covering 0-62mph in 3.9sec and is capable of de-limited 174mph top speed.

> Engine and gearbox - The 2.9-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 develops 444bhp, but the gains have been made in the mid-range courtesy of 442lb ft of torque available from 1900rpm.

> Ride and handling - The new RS5 has progressed significantly over the old model, lighter, more focused and hugely capable, although it still feels a bit inert alongside rivals.

> MPG and running costs - The smaller blown engine makes the RS5 more efficient than its predecessor, with Audi claiming 32.5mpg on a combined cycle.

> Interior and tech - The RS5 does justice to Audi’s reputation of producing class-leading interiors crammed with an endless list of tech functions.

> Design - A collection of tasteful exterior tweaks imbue the RS5 with the necessary aggression to wear the RS badge.

> Audi RS5 vs rivals - evo 240 saw the Audi RS5 meet the M4 Competition Pack and Mercedes-AMG C63 in an evo Supertest.

Prices and specs

The Audi RS5 weighs in at £62,900, which means it undercuts natural rivals such as the BMW M4 Competition Pack (£64,010) and Mercedes-AMG C63 (£63,475).

It matches the competition for kit, too, with sat-nav, LED headlamps, and Nappa leather seat trim. Yet it’s still possible to go overboard with options and splash out on items such as 20-speaker Bang and Olufsen hi-fi, a carbon fibre exterior styling pack and a driver pack that raises the top speed to 174mph.

The latest RS5 is no more powerful than before with 444bhp, but weight savings of 60kg mean it’s faster than its predecessor. For instance, the firm claims the 0-62mph sprint is covered in an electrifying 3.9 seconds, while we recorded our own 0-60mph time of 3.6 seconds – neither the M4 nor C63 can duck under the four second barrier. What’s more, the combination of launch control and four-wheel drive mean that this figure can be achieved come rain or shine.

However, it’s fair to say the RS5 never feels as dramatic as the figures suggest. Make no mistake; the Audi is a seriously quick car that can cover ground with truly indecent haste. Yet the extremely linear power delivery (peak torque of 442lb ft is delivered at 1,900rpm) means you’re treated to a smooth and relentless increase in pace, rather than the more exciting top end frenzy of, say, the M4.

Like all fast German machines, the RS5 is limited to a top speed of 155mph. Yet if you’re willing to fork out an extra £1,450 then Audi will raise this figure 174mph - useful if you live just down the road from an Autobahn.

Yet perhaps the biggest change is to be found under the heavily creased bonnet, where the current trend for downsizing means you’ll now find a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6. It delivers the same 444bhp as the old car, but torque has swelled by 125lb ft to a heady 442lb ft.

There’s a new eight-speed auto that replaces the seven speed S tronic, which is claimed to shift gears as quickly as the old twin-clutch unit. On the move, drivers can choose between Drive, Sport and manual changes via the steering wheel mounted paddles.

As before, the quattro four-wheel drive system splits the engine’s torque 40/60 front to rear, but the system now reacts faster and can send up to 70 percent of the engine’s output to the rear axle in extreme situations.

There’s no doubting the V6’s effectiveness when it comes to outright performance, but it can’t match the old V8 for visceral apppeal. This is partly down to the engine’s delivery, and partly the drama-dulling effects of four-wheel drive and a slick, seamless gearchange. Also playing its part is the muted soundtrack, which lacks the spine-tingling, 8,000rpm-chasing excitement of the old naturally aspirated V8.

> Click here to read our Mercedes-AMG C63 review

There’s a muted growl when you really start to work it, but it’s not a noise that has you deliberately holding onto each gear just to hear it again. You are further discouraged from doing this by the small, cheap-feeling plastic paddles on the wheel, which are a far cry from the gorgeous aluminium items on the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrafoglio.

The transmission slurs unobtrusively up the gears as quickly as possible. Yet with so much torque available at such low revs, the Audi still accelerates strongly. As a car to use everyday on everything from scarred city streets to smooth motorways, the cultured Audi is unrivalled.

Selecting the car’s Dynamic model sharpens the gearchanges, plus it adds some bass to the engine note, as well as more obvious exhaust rasp on upshifts. It also initiates a strange noise on the overrun that sounds like there’s someone trapped in the boot and they’re playing the drums to attract your attention.

Audi has left no stone unturned in its quest to make the RS5 a more engaging drivers’ car than its predecessor. A key aim of the development process was weight reduction, with the result that the car is up to 60kg lighter than before, tipping the scales at 1,655kg – the Mercedes-AMG C63 weighs in at 1,710kg, but the BMW M4 is just 1,585kg.

The use of aluminium and high-strength steel in the structure means that the body is 15kg lighter. The front and rear axle assemblies are 6kg and 5kg lighter respectively, while the electro mechanical steering gear shaves a further 3.5kg.

The biggest reduction, however, is reserved for the engine. With fewer cylinders than before, the 2.9-litre unit is an impressive 31kg lighter than the old V8. That’s a big saving, and one that aims to boost performance and, crucially, improve the handling.

> Click here for our BMW M4 review

And if that’s not enough for you, then the optional carbon fibre roof panel cuts a further 3kg, while the milled and forged alloys are 8kg lighter than the standard rims. Unsprung mass is further reduced by the ceramic brakes, which chop a further 8kg from the total.

Elsewhere, the RS5 features a specially developed version of the brand’s quattro all-wheel drive system. It’s permanently engaged with a standard torque split of 40/60 front to rear – a set-up that’s claimed to deliver more agile handling. Yet it has the ability to vary the torque channeled to either axle depending on the conditions, with front able to take up to 85 percent of the engine’s effort and the rear 70 percent. More importantly, this process now happens more quickly, helping to promote more natural handling characteristics.

Also included on all UK cars is the Sport rear differential, which can shuffle power across the axle and, in extreme situations, overdrive the outside wheel for a more rear-wheel drive feel.m the kerbweight.

Leave the car to its own devices in Auto mode (there’s also Comfort, Dynamic and Individual, where you can pick ‘n’ mix your favourite engine, steering, suspension and transmission settings) and the RS5 is impressively easy going. The optional adaptive dampers soak up bumps that would send a shudder through the M4 and C63.

Turn into a corner with and it’s immediately clear the RS5 feels lighter on its feet than the old car. With less weight over the nose and quicker steering the RS5 turns in more eagerly, while the firmed-up dampers help keep it on an even keel during harder cornering. And with the benefit of four-wheel drive traction, the Audi fires out of corners with the sort of rocket-propelled energy that its rear-drive rivals can’t match. If you want to travel from point-to-point as quickly as possible, the RS5 has few equals in this class.

It’s more organic in feel than before, flowing down roads that the old car often felt like it was taking in scrappy chunks. This is largely down to the improved quattro four-wheel drive, which seems more natural than before. Power hard out of a tight corner and there’s a sense the rear axle is helping rotate the tail a little, reducing understeer and helping you carry more speed down the next straight. Be more aggressive and in slippery conditions the car will start to slide – although the system quickly sends torque to the front wheels to counter this.

> Click here to see evo's best sports car of 2017

The steering is quick, accurate and naturally weighted, it lacks any real feedback. The Audi RS5 isn’t as throttle adjustable as its rivals either, meaning you have fewer options into and out of corners. Carry a little too much speed into a bend and you get mild understeer, which can be cancelled out by lifting off. However, try and tighten the car’s line with a little more throttle, and the Audi washes even further wide.

To really appreciate the Audi’s deep reserves of talent you’ve got to put the dampers into their sportiest settings and really drive it hard. It’s at this point that you can appreciate the cast iron body control, limpit-like grip and impressive balance. No it’s not as exciting as its rear-wheel drive rivals, but as way to cover ground quickly, effortlessly and with a modicum of engagement it’s in a class of its own. 

Downsizing to the smaller turbo-unit has improved fuel consumption by 24 per cent over the old model. Standing in a petrol station forecourt is one place you certainly won’t miss the free-breathing V8.

In our long term RS5 we’ve managed to exceed the claimed 32.5mpg on a combined cycle, achieving 34mpg on a cruise up to Scotland. This instance aside, the mpg has failed to escape the twenties, with the poorest return of 22.3mpg over 884 miles and best of 28.1mpg.

You’d hope the tyres would wear more evenly compared to its rear-driven competitors, but when a new set of boots is required you should budget about £1000 for Hankook Ventus S1 evo2s fitted to our long termer. 

Inside, the RS5 builds on the foundations of the standard A5, which means few rivals come close for quality or upmarket appeal. The slick design is enhanced by some carefully chosen upgrades, including alcantara coverings for the steering wheel and gear selector, a smattering of RS5 badges and some supremely supportive high-backed seats.

Tech fans can revel in the now familiar Virtual Cockpit, which is standard. Featuring a 12.3-inch configurable TFT screen, it features a host of useful functions, plus a barrage of performance data, such as turbo boost pressure and a G-meter.

It’s a quiet and comfortable place to be, too. With the driver modes set to Comfort there’s very little wind and road noise, while the engine settles to a barely audible background hum. The ride is far more supple than that of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S and BMW M4, too.

The new RS5 certainly looks the part, thanks to muscular styling that’s said to be influenced by the firm’s monstrous 90 quattro IMSA GTO race car, which dominated American sportscar racing in late eighties.

Based on the standard A5 Coupe, the RS gets subtly pumped wheelarches, a larger grille and a deeper front bumper that’s crammed with intakes and sharply defined creases. Neat touches include the small vents either side of the headlamps and tail lights, plus the familiar silver door mirror caps.

You get 19-inch alloys as standard, with larger 20-inch items available as an optional extra. Other upgrades include the Carbon, Carbon Black and Carbon Matt Aluminium styling packs that add different coloured spoilers, sill extensions and door mirror caps. For the full lightweight look you can add the £3,250 for the carbon fibre roof panel.

The supertest in evo 240 pitched the Audi RS5 against its key rivals, the BMW M4 Competition Pack and the Mercedes-AMG C63 S. The RS5 exceeded expectations with its sheer breadth of abilities allowing it to transform from a GT car to a hardcore performance coupe at a touch of a button.

The RS5 won praise against its rivals for the sophistication of its damping and its real-world pace. Criticism came for the way it denies instant access to the kind of thrills the M4 and C63 give up readily. You have to dig a little deeper for the excitement but that almost makes you appreciate the RS5 more.

Weights, dimensions and performance data

The Audi RS5 we tested weighed 1799kg, well up on the 1645kg BMW M4 but well down on the 1847kgcars Mercedes-AMG C63 S, but four-wheel-drive traction and a gearbox that features eight closely stacked ratios let it erupt off the line without wasting a single horsepower.

> Click here for the supertest

There’s launch control just like in the other two but the Audi’s system far more brutally effective. The result is 60mph in an incredible 3.6sec – Audi modestly claims 3.9sec to 62. The BMW and and Merc could only manage 4.4sec and 4.3sec respectively.

But things change at higher speeds where the RS5’s mass and lack of top-end power sees it start to lose ground. By 150mph it was a full two seconds in arrears on its rivals.

Lap time and track driving 

On our hot laps of Bedford Autodrome’s West Circuit, the RS5 split the BMW and the Mercedes with a time of 1:25.0. In most of the corners, particularly the tighter ones, it’s able to use its power earlier than its two rivals – proof of its fabulous power and immense low-down grunt. But every time it’s surpassed on the straight by the other pair which can accelerate faster.

> Click here for the supertest

Part of the RS5’s impressive lap time can be traced to the confidence it instils in the driver. With little to fear from snap oversteer the driver of the RS5 can use more of its power for more of the time. Yet there’s balance and poise there, and unless you carry far too much speed into a bend then understeer is virtually non-existant.

Supertest data and specs table

Audi RS5

Engine

V6, 2894cc, twin-turbo

Power

444bhp @ 5700-6700rpm

Torque

442 lb ft @ 1900-5000rpm

Transmission

Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive, electronically controlled rear LSD

Tyres

275/30 R20 front, 275/30 R20 rear, Hankook Ventus S1 Evo 2

Height/width

1360mm/1861mm

Weight

1799kg as tested (1655kg claimed)

Power-to-weight

251bhp/ton using test-car weight, (273bhp/ton claimed)

0-60mph

3.6sec as tested (3.9 to 62 claimed)

Top speed

174mph (optional raised limiter)

evo mpg

19.6 (average over duration of test)

Basic price

£62,900

PCP monthly price

£833 (36 months, £8000 deposit, 10,000 miles per annum limit)

 

 

 

 

24 Nov 2017

Nissan introduces Nismo Heritage scheme offering spare parts for old GT-Rs

Fri, 11/24/2017 - 12:04
Nissan is restarting parts production to offer spares to owners of old GT-Rs beginning with the Nissan GT-R R32.

Should you buy a used TVR?

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 18:12
TVR’s renaissance is well underway, but past models offer something unique in the world of sports cars. Here’s what you need to know.

New Porsche 911 Turbo spied – next-generation of the all-weather supercar incoming

Thu, 11/23/2017 - 12:15
Porsche’s next generation 911 Turbo spied with tell-tale side intakes and wide body. Should go on sale late in 2019

Ford Fiesta review – the best supermini?

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 14:55
For  Adjustable chassis, punchy Ecoboost engines, ST-Line styling, interior tech Against  Some poor interior trim, lacklustre low end petrols, Vignale models expensive

The new Ford Fiesta has grown up with improved refinement and updated interior tech yet still offers class-leading driving dynamics.

Replacing a well-loved model with the next generation can be fraught with danger but Ford has managed to keep all the best bits of the outgoing Fiesta while enhancing areas where the old car was beginning to lag behind its rivals. Central to the previous Fiesta’s DNA was an entertaining driving experience and with this new eighth generation machine Ford has managed to keep the car’s feisty and playful nature while improving refinement, updating the interior and adding some of the tech that’s expected even in the supermini class these days.

There’s a wide choice of engines – two petrols and one diesel (all available in different states of tune) – and combined with the extensive trim levels there should be a Fiesta to suit just about every buyer. We’re looking forward to the arrival of the ST hot hatch in 2018 but for the time being the Ecoboost ST-Line models give us a glimpse at how the new ST will be. And the future looks bright.

An enhanced chassis hasn’t taken anything away from the driving experience but has added an improved ride and upped the refinement. Inside there’s a much better cockpit with many models featuring large touchscreens and Ford Sync technology, although some interior trims still feel a little hard, low rent and behind the quality standard set by some rivals.

Ford Fiesta in detail 

Performance and 0-60 time summary > Ecoboost petrols offer decent performance – 9.0sec to 62mph for the 138bhp model – while a new higher power diesel is similarly brisk.

Engine and gearbox summary > Three different engines to choose from. 1.1-litre petrols in entry level models, 1-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost in three different states of tune plus two diesels mean plenty of choice. Six-speed manual standard on higher power versions.

Ride and handling summary > Still class leading. An updated chassis resists understeer well and rewards the committed driver while comfort and refinement levels have also improved.

MPG and running costs summary > Diesels offer claimed 80mpg+ while Ecoboost petrols offer 60mpg potential. Low insurance groups and affordable servicing should make running costs pleasantly palatable.

Interior and tech summary > Updated interior dominated by new touchscreen that works well and offers excellent connectivity. A little cramped in the rear as expected from a supermini. Some cabin materials a little low rent.

Design summary > Stays true to its predecessor’s styling while still managing to look fresh. ST-Line adds more sporting looks while range topping Vignale has its own unique style.

Prices, specs and rivals

Despite two models in the Fiesta range – the ST and the Active – having yet to make their debuts there’s still an extensive line-up to choose from with trim levels ranging from the entry-level Style through Zetec and Titanium and onto the sportier styled ST-Line and range-topping Vignale. Engines range from a 1.1-litre three-cylinder (69 or 84bhp) to the 1-litre Ecoboost (99, 123 or 138bhp) and there are two 1.5-litre diesels too in 84 and 118bhp states of tune.

Standard kit levels increase as you go up the range and around three-quarters of buyers will opt for the more practical five-door shell. Style models have manual air con, auto lights, AM/FM radio with a 4.2in TFT screen and lane keeping tech while Zetec models add a larger 6.5in touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus a Quickclear heated screen, LED running lights and a leather steering wheel with audio controls. 

Titanium brings 16in alloys, Ford Sync 3 Navigation, cruise control, powered folding mirrors and additional driver assistance tech, while a Titanium X adds a B&O audio system, a rear view camera and part leather heated seats. The range topping Vignale has unique front and rear bumpers and a bespoke front grille along with all the Titanium X goodies plus leather seats and a Panorama sunroof.

> Click here for our review of the old Ford Fiesta ST

Until the full-fat ST arrives next year it’s likely evo buyers will be most interested in the ST-Line models as not only do they feature the ST’s body styling they receive 17-inch alloys, sports seats, sports suspension and a smattering of unique ST-Line trim. ST-Line X adds navigation with an 8in touchscreen, LED front and rear lights and cruise control along with a few other goodies. Prices for the ST-Line start at £16,595 for the three-door 99bhp Ecoboost and rise to £18,975 for a five-door 118bhp 1.5TDCi, and opting for the ST-Line X trim level adds an extra £1350 to the price. 

The Fiesta’s most likely rival, certainly in terms of driving dynamics, is the new SEAT Ibiza and in the FR trim level it’s broadly equivalent to a Fiesta ST-Line. The 1.0 TSI Ibiza in 113bhp tune and FR trim costs £17,280 – more or less the same as the 99bhp 1-litre Ecoboost Fiesta with the 123bhp Fiesta costing another £500 over the Ibiza. The Fiesta does offer more standard kit though and has better emissions, too.

The new VW Polo is also worth consideration, especially if you fancy the idea of the Fiesta Vignale as the VW also has that upmarket feel even if it can’t touch the Fiesta for driver involvement. Prices are yet to be announced for the Polo SEL and R-Line models and while they might be a little more expensive than the higher-end Fiesta models on a spec adjusted basis they may well feel a little more premium than Ford’s offering.

> Click here for our SEAT Ibiza FR review

evo tip – Watch out for the cost creeping up on some higher end models, you could easily spend over £20k on a Vignale model – do you really need quilted leather seats and a Panoramic sunroof in your warm hatch? ST-Line and Titanium models look to offer better value for money.

evo comment – Ford might say that it’s designed the new Fiesta’s suspension to take 18in alloys for the first time and while they might give the hatch tough looks we’d stick with 17s as the 18s tend to upset the car’s sweet handling balance and affect ride quality.

Performance and 0-60 time

With three different engines, two petrol and one diesel, and several alternative states of tune for each unit, performance figures vary from somewhat anaemic to peppy without being downright fast. From an evo perspective the two naturally aspirated 1.1-litre three-cylinder units can probably be discounted with their leisurely 0-62mph times of 14.9 and 14.0sec respectively for the 69 and 84bhp versions. 

The diesel offerings in 84 and 118bhp guises knock off the benchmark sprint in 12.5sec and 9.0sec, the latter model being currently the fastest accelerating Fiesta you can buy. It feels pleasantly rapid on the move making good use of its 199lb ft of torque that’s on tap from 1750 to 2500rpm. And given it weighs 1188kg its in-gear acceleration is certainly rapid enough to make overtakes pretty effortless. 

The Ecoboost turbocharged 1-litre three-cylinder models come in three states of tune – 100PS (99bhp), 125PS (123bhp) and 140PS (138bhp) and the two lower powered models have identical 125lb ft torque outputs while the 140 model can muster a slightly higher 133lb ft. If you must have an automatic gearbox (and only around 11 per cent of Fiesta customers choose this option) you’ll have to choose the 100PS Ecoboost as this is the only engine to which the six-speed auto can be mated. Performance suffers if you do go auto, with a rather leisurely 12.2sec 0-62mph time compared to the six-speed manual’s 10.5 sec. 

The two higher powered Ecoboost Fiestas dispatch the 0-62mph dash in 9.9sec (125PS) and 9.0sec (140PS) respectively but on the move the latter model does make its extra 15bhp count and according to Ford is 1.4sec quicker from 31 to 62mph in fourth gear which gives a good indicator to its increased flexibility.

Engine and gearbox

The three-cylinder 1.1-litre normally aspirated versions are the two engines we’ve yet to sample in the Fiesta, but as we’ve seen, their lacklustre performance has little to recommend them to evo readers, especially when you consider that the more powerful Ecoboost engines offer better performance with no penalty at the pumps or in emissions figures either.

For the first time in the Fiesta, Ford is offering a higher-powered diesel version in the 120PS model which offers 118bhp and 199lb ft of torque. The 1.5-litre TDCi engine is a SOHC two-valve per cylinder unit that employs an optimised combustion chamber design with a variable geometry turbocharger and high pressure injection – it also offers regenerative charging when braking and coasting. It’s mated to a six-speed manual that’s slick in operation.

On the move the diesel is a pleasant companion once warmed up and while in the past less than five per cent of Fiesta buyers have opted for the diesel model this higher output unit may change some buyer’s behaviour. At a cruise on the motorway it’s refined and has more than enough shove to accelerate briskly without the need for a downchange.

> Click here for our Mazda 2 review

Ford expects most buyers to opt for one of the Ecoboost models and it’s not hard to see why. With high pressure direct injection, four-valves per cylinder and twin-independent variable cam technology these Fiestas punch beyond their weight. Ford also reckons its offset crankshaft design on the Ecoboost engine offers excellent refinement, and in general it’s correct. The engine only feels a little coarse for a short period after a cold start.

Once warmed through though it’s an excellent unit and even in its 100PS guise proves to be an entertaining companion. This is the only engine that can be mated with the six-speed automatic (the 125 and 140 models both use the six-speed manual) and while there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the auto its shift speeds aren’t the fastest (although they are smooth) and the steering-wheel mounted paddles are so small that you can struggle to find them.

It’s the 125 and 140 models that are the best option and while the higher powered model is the pick of the range there doesn’t feel a huge margin between them. Both are keen to rev and have a pleasant warble as you go higher up the rev range and while neither are going to set the world on fire they’re very well suited to the car’s chassis with enough power to bring it alive. 

Ride and handling

It takes very little time behind the wheel of the new Fiesta to come to the pleasing conclusion that Ford has remained true to the outgoing car’s class leading driving dynamics. It’s the small things you notice first – the controls all fall to hand perfectly and are well weighted with a precise but light clutch and a brake pedal that doesn’t have an over servoed feel to it. The ‘box swaps cogs sweetly and the Ecoboost engine seems eager. 

Despite the strong family resemblance to the outgoing model, Ford has thoroughly undated the Fiesta’s underpinnings to keep it at the top of the class. It says there’s a 15 per cent increase in torsional stiffness thanks to an increased use of boron steel, laser welding and stiffer front subframe attachment points. Its track is wider than the outgoing model, too, by 30mm at the front and 10mm at the rear and Ford reckons this has also allowed the chassis to be optimised to accept 18-inch wheels for the first time.

Reworked suspension bushes that are double bonded to be twice as stiff as those on the outgoing car are said to offer a sharper steering response. Ford says those updated bushes have also been designed to bulge in a specific way to better isolate road imperfections and work in combination with a rear twistbeam to reduce the impact of small bumps and imperfections in the cabin.

> Click here for our Renault Clio review

If that sounds like Ford is attempting to make the Fiesta slightly more grown up you’d be right, it is a little more refined than it was before, but the best news is that it hasn’t lost its tactility and sharpness in the process. Even when punting around town the Fiesta feels keen and threading your way in amongst other traffic is child’s play thanks to the well weighted steering and good visibility.

On the motorway the car’s a better prospect than before with a supple ride, even on the ST-Line models with the sports suspension that sits the car 10mm closer to the ground. Noise suppression is good and you could easily be forgiven for thinking you’re in a car from a class above.

Head off the motorway and onto some decent driving roads and the Fiesta is its same old playful self. Resistance to understeer has been improved thanks to a lighter, stiffer hollow front anti-roll bar and along with the rest of the changes Ford says this has resulted in a car with 10 per cent more grip than before. While that’s difficult to quantify, the Fiesta really does flow well along a challenging piece of road. You can tip it into a corner late on the brakes to bring the rear end into play or get your braking over earlier and enjoy the poise and grip as it digs in and powers off up the next straight.

The nicely weighted gearbox ensures that being in the right gear isn’t a chore although such is the spread of torque that you can find yourself leaving it in third and really not needing to swap cogs that much. Overall it’s a deeply satisfying experience and it really is one of those cars that you find yourself driving quickly without really knowing you’re doing it. 

Downsides? Not many really, although we’d leave the optional 18in alloys on the options list as they really don’t offer any more grip than the 17s and can unsettle the car every now and then if you hit an unexpected dip or compression joint mid corner. But that’s about it really. It’s entertaining, has huge reserves of grip yet isn’t uncouth when just cruising. We can’t wait to sample the full fat ST when it arrives next year and as the basic platform is this good how entertaining will it be with another 60bhp and a further fettled chassis? 

MPG and running costs

On paper the Fiesta offers up some pretty staggering economy figures but even driven pretty moderately you’ll struggle to meet them. The diesels are claimed to offer up to 88.3mpg for the 84bhp version while the considerably brisker 118bhp model has an official figure of 80.7. Mid to high 50s is more likely if you use the performance at all.

The petrol models all have figures in the low to mid 60s bar the only automatic version in the range (the 100PS Ecoboost), which has an official figure of 54.3mpg. In real world driving mid to high 40s economy should be possible in the Ecoboost models and it doesn’t seem to make a huge difference which power output you go for. 

Traditionally Fords have majored on low running costs and this should be the case with the new Fiesta. Servicing intervals are every two years or 18,000 miles (whichever comes first) and can be covered by a Ford Servicing plan which should reduce costs further. A three-year 60,000-mile warranty is on a par with European rivals such as VW and SEAT but looks poor in comparison to manufacturers such as Kia and Hyundai.

Insurance costs should also be relatively palatable with the new Fiesta ranging from Group 2 to Group 15.

Interior and tech

There’s been a step up in design for the interior of the new Fiesta with the new touchscreen dominating the new layout. Initially the larger screens do look a little oversized but you quickly become accustomed to them. The dashpod itself is clear and looks stylish with blue illuminated needles.

If there was one criticism to be aimed at the interior it’s that some plastics still feel a little cheap, especially on the door trim panels – perhaps not a problem on the entry-level £13k Style model, but out of place on the £21k Vignale cars.

The entry-level Style model might be a little lacking in equipment but from there on up the Fiesta range is well equipped and has plenty of standard kit. The Zetec and ST-Line receive a 6.5in touchscreen while the Titanium and Vignale receive an 8in version with sat nav as standard. This can be added to an ST-Line for an additional £300, or as part of the ST-Line ‘X’ trim level. Mobile phone connectivity is taken care of by Sync 3 technology, which works very well in practice and includes audio streaming, too. The optional B&O system sounds great, and isn’t too outrageous at £300.

> Click here for our Citreon DS 3 review 

There are several driver assistance systems on offer from a lane keeping system to blind spot warnings, collision warnings, a driver alert system and traffic sign recognition, and all work well although the collision warning can be a little over eager in town driving. 

In terms of accommodation front seat passengers are well catered for, but as you’d expect from a supermini it’s quite tight in the back if front seat passengers are tall. The Sports seats in the ST-Line grip in all the right places but larger drivers may find they’re a little tight across the backrest.

Design

The Fiesta has been Britain’s best-selling car for decades now and Ford clearly didn’t want to upset the applecart with an all new design so the eighth generation of Fiesta is reassuringly familiar while looking ever so slightly more grown up, too. It’s larger than before – 71mm longer, 12mm wider and with a 4mm longer wheelbase but the overall look is very familiar with high-mounted swept back headlamps, a swage line that rises to the rear lights along with a tapering window line. New light clusters at the rear endow it with a more sophisticated look, if perhaps not appearing quite so neat as those on the older Fiesta.

Different model lines come with different wheels and styling, the most obvious being the sportier ST-Line and the Vignale. The latter features unique front and rear bumper assemblies along with the Vignale-style satin aluminium grille as seen on other Fords. The 17-inch alloys on the ST-Line and Vignale models certainly fill the arches well but we’d avoid the optional 18s as while they do look good they take the edge off the chassis’s fluidity. 

evo tip – Watch out for the cost creeping up on some higher end models, you could easily spend over £20k on a Vignale model – do you really need quilted leather seats and a Panoramic sunroof in your warm hatch? ST-Line and Titanium models look to offer better value for money.

22 Nov 2017

Mini John Cooper Works Dakar rally competitors launched

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 14:29
The Mini John Cooper Works buggy and rally car will attack the Dakar with 335bhp 3.0-litre engines.

"No, I’m afraid the Aston Martin Rapide AMR is a completely preposterous car. And I want one very much indeed."

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:38
Take dignity, and discard. Then add smugness and blend with no logic whatsoever. Yes, it’s Porter’s recipe for a truly silly car

McLaren 720S GT3 race car announced

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:09
Latest GT3 racer makes its debut; single-make series and driver development programme also revealed

The anatomy of a Group B rally car - history and tech of rallying's golden era

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 13:52
Unprecedented levels of power, excitement – and controversy. Group B rallying had it all. We take a look under the skin of the famous cars

Ford RS200 ‘Evolution’ to star in Bonhams’ London sale

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:35
An Aston Martin DB7 Zagato and the second ever UK delivered Porsche 911 will also feature in the Bond Street Sale on December 2.

The king of Cupras: interview with Dr. Matthias Rabe (sponsored)

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 16:52
Dr. Matthias Rabe, SEAT’s head of R&D, gives evo an insight into the history, personality and future for the CUPRA brand

Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE Pro ready for launch tomorrow night

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 16:52
Aston Martin Racing’s new GTE Pro racing car is all set to be revealed tomorrow night

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 004S unveiled: a three seater supercar with 650bhp

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 14:29
The new Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 004S sports car has a three-seat cabin layout, a 650bhp twin-turbo engine and costs over £300k.

Jaguar E-pace P300 HSE review - Jag's small SUV fails to impress

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 10:19
Jaguar's smallest SUV is sure to sell well, but those buyers will not be getting a class-leading vehicle

Ferrari F355 - history reviews and specs of an icon

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 16:59
As far as the subjects of ‘Icon’ features go, few are more worthy than Ferrari’s glorious F355.