Category Archives: Motoring

Jaguar’s new F-type sports car

imageJaguar’s new two-seater sports car will be called the F-type and go on sale in the summer of 2013.

Jaguar has confirmed that its new two-seater sports car, due to be launched in the summer of 2013, will be called the F-type.

The announcement was made at the New York Auto Show, with the decision to build the car coming after the C-X16 prototype received such positive feedback.

Speaking at New York Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s Global Brand Director, said: "We showed the C-X16 concept in September 2011, and the reaction to it has been so positive that we’ve accelerated our development of an all-new Jaguar sports car.

"That car will be called the F-type, and it will be unveiled in production form later this year."

The aim of the F-type, said Hallmark, was to make Jaguar a world-leader in a market it had been absent from for too long.

2012 Geneva Motor Show: Jaguar Introduces The All New Jaguar XF Sportbrake

imageDesigned and developed on the much famed Jaguar XF saloon model, one of the biggest manufacturers of luxury cars, Jaguar Cars Ltd., has now unveiled its latest offering in the form of the all new Jaguar XF Sportbrake. This spectacular new luxury Jaguar car is slated to make a grand appearance at the upcoming 2012 Geneva Motor Show and has been conceived as complete luxury family car. To ensure maximum performance, Jaguar XF Sportbrake has been provided with a state of art self-leveling air suspension that keeps the car leveled even when fully laden with cargo. Furthermore, as an enhanced security feature, Jaguar has installed adaptive cruise control that essentially maintains a pre-set speed for the vehicle and even monitors the surrounding cars for immediate and effective braking.

The Queen’s cars on display at Goodwood

imageThe Goodwood Festival of Speed will be home to an exceptional gathering of vehicles to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee forms the inspiration for a spectacular gathering of vehicles at this summer’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The event’s Cartier Style et Luxe concours d’elegance display will this year be focused on vehicles that have been personally owned or used by the Queen in a collection that has never before been seen together in public.

What we’re driving: Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS

imageIt’s being superseded by an all-new model, but the previous 997-series 911 is still a force to be reckoned with.

The 911 is the Marmite of the car world – you either love it or hate it. From being the occasionally scary darling of enthusiast drivers everywhere, it became a symbol of 1980s excess and subsequently has been considered a bit flash, although there’s always a sneaking admiration for Porsche’s engineering-led approach and constant improvements honed on racetracks around the world.

Mercedes B-class review

imageMercedes’ new-look B-class has the style of its swankier siblings, but watch out for the ride.

Since my leisure activities involve muddy dogs, greasy car bits, salty boat bits, oil paints and large packages of ill-defined proportions, and exclude advanced chef-ing, d’hôtels des Posh and cashmere V-necks in delicate pastel colours, I’m not really a target customer for a Mercedes-Benz saloon. The life, suggested by these southern German cars, of plutocratic luxury combined with ravening business ethics and perhaps even paid staff has never particularly appealed.

Perhaps it’s for that reason that I have always had a soft spot for the Mercedes B-class, a compact Multi Purpose Vehicle built for people like me. The compact MPV was once Europe’s most popular C-segment model derivative, although they’ve now been overtaken by the dubious charms of the compact Sport Utility Vehicle. By contrast, MPVs are genuinely useful; big enough for arduous family duties, practical enough to look good dirty and with lots of space and flexibility.

Mr Money: the real Car of the Year

imageTelegraph Motoring’s Mr Money, Mike Rutherford, considers the finalists for the World Car of the Year.

There’s been all sorts of fun and games in Geneva over the last few days concerning what can loosely be described as the best on-sale cars on the planet. Just to be clear, unlike much of the futuristic mental concept metal you’ll see on the pages of Motoring this week, I’m talking here about the models that are actually in the showrooms already, available and ready to be bought and driven away by real-world customers.

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Destined to be unveiled at the next month’s New York Auto Show, the C63 AMG Coupe is essentially a 2012 C63 AMG sedan unburdened of a couple of doors. Either way, you’re looking at Affalterbach’s prized 6.2-liter V8 engine driving 451 horsepower (481 with the optional AMG Development pack) to the rear wheels via a seven-speed Speedshift MCT gearbox. Expect a 4.4-second sprint to sixty and an electronically-limited 155 mph top end in stock trim, or 4.3 seconds and 174 mph in AMG Development spec.

Geneva motor show 2012: Morgan

imageMorgan has three new models to show off at the Geneva motor show, including the world’s first electric car with a manual gearbox.

Time was when you saw a new Morgan once a decade, these days it’s more like once a fortnight.

Chief designer Matt Humphries has done a fine job in widening the roadster body to stretch over the Plus 8 bonded aluminium-alloy chassis and 390bhp, 4.8-litre BMW V8. And stretch is the word – there’s just enough room for a little finger between the cam cover and the scuttle.

Mini Roadster review Two seats, unlimited headroom and bumper car looks, but is the Mini Roadster really a sports car?

imageThe petrol engine is the BMW/PSA 1.6-litre four-cylinder with a twin-scroll turbo, in three power outputs; 120bhp/49.6mpg (EU Combined) in £18,015 Cooper form, 181bhp/47.1mpg in this £20,900 Cooper S, or 208bhp/38.7mpg in the £24,850 John Cooper Works (JCW). The Cooper D diesel has BMW’s 141bhp/62.8mpg, 2.0-litre turbo unit and costs £21,630. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with a £1,135 to £1,275 optional six-speed automatic on all but the JCW model.

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With Portuguese youth unemployment running at more than 25 per cent and one in 10 graduates leaving the country, you might have thought that the Mini launch presentation in Lisbon would have had its normal orgiastic obsession with the gorgeously minted yoof of Mediterranean café society hanging out in their Minis tactfully toned down.

Geneva motor show 2012: Ferrari’s F12berlinetta

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Ferrari reveals 211mph, 730bhp F12berlinetta ahead of next week’s Geneva motor show.

Ferrari has taken the wraps off its “most powerful and high-performance” road car ever ahead of next week’s Geneva motor show.

The mid-front-engined F12berlinetta is powered by the latest development of Ferrari’s naturally aspirated 6,262cc V12 engine, which now develops 730bhp at 8,500rpm and 509lb ft of torque at 6,000rpm (80 per cent of which is said to be available from 2,500rpm). The V12 is mated to Ferrari’s F1 dual-clutch paddle-shift gearbox and driven through the rear wheels.

Geneva motor show 2012: Range Rover’s Evoque Convertible

imageLand Rover has taken the wraps off its new Evoque Convertible concept ahead of the Geneva motor show.

“The world’s first premium convertible SUV” is how Land Rover is describing its Evoque Convertible concept car, which will make its debut at next week’s Geneva motor show.

Based on the three-door Evoque, the convertible features a fully retractable fabric roof with a roll-over protection system, four seats and a drop down tailgate. Land Rover claims that it has done all of this with minimal changes to the car’s weight and torsional rigidity.

Geneva motor show 2012: Citroën’s DS4 Racing concept

imageThe Citroën DS4 Racing Concept is set to make its debut at March’s Geneva motor show.

French car-maker Citroën will present a high performance “Racing” version of its DS4 crossover at March’s Geneva motor show.

Despite its name, this hot hatch is in fact a road car, albeit one that has benefited from the knowledge of Citroën’s Racing engineers, who have tweaked the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine to produce 256bhp – a record for a Citroën production car.

Looking for a long-term fix

imageMaria Fitzpatrick asks five experts for their home improvement advice

What’s in a name? Not much if you are Volkswagen, which trades model names like Top Trumps. As from this year, the 39-year-old Passat name graces the rumps of two entirely separate models, the first in Europe, the second in North America and the Far East. The larger American Passat is built at VW’s new Chattanooga plant in Tennessee, whereas European Passats continue to be built in Emden, Germany.

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Citroen DS3 review

imageCitroën’s latest DS3 might be one model too many, says Neil Lyndon.

I am walking through a prosperous town in the south-east of England early on a Saturday evening. The young groovers are beginning to come out for their larks. A new Mini passes on the street, driven by a young man with a girl in the passenger seat. On the tail of the Mini comes an almost identical couple in a new Citroën DS3.

Tour Auto: seeing France the fast way

imageAs one of the greatest classic car events around, the Tour Auto combines action, adrenalin, stunning scenery and sumptuous lunches.

The annual Tour Auto is the most extraordinary classic car event many of you will have never heard of. Held in France for the last 20 years, it’s a loving recreation of the Tour de France Automobile, which was first run in 1899 and took competitors on a gruelling route around the country’s nascent road network in examples of the very earliest “horseless carriages”.

Fiat Panda review

imageThere’s a lot riding on Fiat’s new Panda, not least a battle of the tiddlers against the VW Up and Kia Picanto.

The phrase “Small cars, small profits” is the blunt retort credited to Edsel Ford when presented with the first proposals for the Fiesta. In the even more Lilliputian world of sub-B cars such as the Panda, or its new rivals Volkswagen’s Up or Kia’s Picanto, you need to get the production right or you can lose money on every car you sell.

Top cars of 2012

imageThe next 12 months will see a battle of the city cars, more safety measures introduced and plenty of historic motorsport action.

After last year’s roller coaster of politics and economics, previewing 2012 is going to be about as effective as lighting a match in a gale, although there are some things I am looking forward to. Chief amongst these is the forthcoming battle of the tiddlers between Volkswagen and Fiat over their new Up and Panda models. There’s little love lost between both chief executives, Martin Winterkorn and Sergio Marchionne respectively, and the fight between the two has already got quite dirty so watch out for fireworks.

Husqvarna to emulate MINI in BMW stable

imageThe Swedish/Italian manufacturer’s new boss explains how the brand will sit in BMW’s two-wheeled portfolio.

If the new Nuda doesn’t make it entirely clear where Husqvarna is aiming to be, the hoped-for position of the brand within BMW is clear, according to German Husqvarna MD Klaus Allisat.

He says Husqvarna intends to be to the two-wheeled version of what MINI is to the BMW’s car division. But why not use the Swedish brand, with its strong pedigree in off-road competition, simply to build dirt bikes, since the S1000RR showed that BMW could muscle straight in to the superbike sector against established players and succeed using its own brand?

The Sweeney stays loyal to Ford

imageFilm remake of the 70s TV show uses the new, high-performance Ford Focus ST hatchback.

A film remake of The Sweeney will feature the new ST version of the Ford Focus

Flying Squad detectives Jack Regan and George Carter (Ray Winstone and Ben Drew taking on the roles made famous by John Thaw and Dennis Waterman) will drive the hot-hatchback as they give chase to London’s criminals.

The ST features a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine developing 247bhp. The black cars used in the filming should be rather more rapid and responsive than the cars used in the original 1970s television show. Ford’s strong link with the series saw Regan, Carter and their Flying Squad colleagues using a string of Granadas, Consuls and Cortinas as they cleaned up the mean streets of London.

How to get a new car at a bargain price

imageMotoring writer Neil Lyndon explains how to get a new car at a bargain price.

In a period when any capital investment is likely to lose you money, it’s horrible to be forced into a major purchase. However, for those who have no choice but to buy a new car, it could hardly be a better time.

If you can walk into a showroom with unencumbered funds to spend you ought, within reason, to be able to name your own price. The salesman will smile knowingly and try to kid you that he makes his money on part-exchange deals and hire purchase, but let him see a big bunch of fifties and see how fast his expression changes.

Seat’s Mii city car

imageSeat’s take on the VW Group’s new city car platform, the Mii, goes on sale at the end of the year.

Hot on the heels of Skoda’s Citigo, Seat has taken the wraps off its own version of the Volkswagen Group’s new city car, the Mii.

Like the Citigo, the Mii is based on Volkswagen’s Up! four-seater and will use the same three-cylinder engine in 59- and 74bhp guises, each of which can be equipped with an eco upgrade pack (think start-stop and energy recuperation systems) to bring CO2 levels down to less than 100g/km.

The car will be available with a manual or automated manual gearbox, the latter featuring two electric motors “to help manage the smooth gear change”.

Like the Skoda, the Mii can be purchased with a City Safety Assist system, which uses lasers to detect other traffic and warn the driver of any impeding frontal impacts. There’s also a portable satnav device, just like the one you can get in – yes, you guessed it – the Skoda.

So what makes the Mii stand out from the Up! and Citigo? Well, according to Seat it’s the car’s “Mediterranean modernity”.

Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid prototype review

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The world’s first diesel/electric plug-in hybrid, based on the Volvo V60, goes on sale next year. We get an early drive.

They said it couldn’t be done, but Volvo has chipped away at the idea of a diesel/electric plug-in hybrid and plans to put the concept on sale next year. There are no prices yet and that could be key, as a massive sticker price will banjax the prospects of this V60 estate for all except a few wealthy eco types and government departments buying environmental credibility with your taxes.

The new car uses Volvo’s tried and tested D5, 2.4-litre, five-cylinder turbodiesel as a base, which seems to fly in the face of the company’s recent announcement that in future its cars will only use 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines, but the engineers are unrepentant, saying that there was little fuel economy advantage in using a four-pot engine and that this car should offer high performance as well as low emissions.

BMW M5 review

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BMW has switched to turbocharging for its latest M5. Is it still the leader of the super-saloon pack?

Even by its own lofty standards, the M5 is a big one for BMW. It is with this car that it created the supersaloon genre back in 1984, when it slotted the engine from its M1 supercar into a humble 5-series. The result was not only the fastest production four-door in the world, but also one that handled better than most sports cars.

Less a car and more an iPad on wheels

imageNeil Lyndon tries to make sense of Volvo’s new range of in-car gadgetry .

Karl Benz (1844-1929) was not in a position to attend the recent event at which Volvo paraded its latest cars. But, if he had been looking down from automotive Valhalla, the inventor of the motor car might have wondered what they were talking about.

Instead of discussions of transmission systems, cooling methods, fuel delivery or any other problems that Benz overcame in obtaining propulsion from an internal combustion engine, this event concentrated on such features as a new Volvo’s ability to find a restaurant in a town you are visiting and secure a table before you arrive.

Jaguar is back on top

imageJaguar may yet return to the big time with its XF saloon, says Neil Lyndon.

For the introduction of its latest range, Jaguar chose the Perthshire highlands – as heavenly a place as any in Britain to try out the fastest road-going Jaguar ever to enter production. Long sightlines and relatively unbroken road surfaces allow a high-performance car to be driven with a freedom you might never find south of Nottingham.

Despite these attractions, however, I doubt if I used more than a third of the powers of the new £97,000 XKR-S. If you so much as rest a toe on its throttle pedal, the five-litre V8 engine growls through its four exhaust tail pipes like a hell-hound protecting a bone. If you do press the pedal to the floor, it flings you back in your seat and takes off in a tumult of sound and motion.

New Jensen Interceptor to be built in Britain

imageA new version of the Jensen Interceptor will be built at Browns Lane, the previous home of Jaguar.

These are the first images of the all-new Jensen Interceptor, set to be launched next year and built in Britain by CPP Global Holdings.

Like the original Interceptor, which was produced between 1966 and 1976, the new version is a four-seater GT car with a long bonnet and fastback rear.

CPP, a British specialist automotive group, has been appointed by Jensen’s owners, Healey Sports Cars Switzerland Ltd, to engineer, develop and build the car. This will take place at Browns Lane in Coventry, where CPP is to set up a production facility having purchased the site used by Jaguar between 1951 and 2005.

Make the most of the light fantastic

imagePlant your garden to take advantage of the light in the late summer.

I have a passion for late-spring and summer flowers, and plant my main border to look at its most striking when the sun is at it height and just being outdoors and amongst it all is pretty much a dawn-to-dusk compulsion for me.

Until fairly recently, therefore, each September I would kick myself for my perennial inability to find space for more of the good-looking late-summer stuff – more of the daisies and grasses that are so upstanding and plentiful in the gardens of those that I regard as real horticultural grown-ups.

MINI Coupé review

imageDoes MINI’s new Coupé lives up to its billing as the ‘sportiest’ model of the range thus

In the beginning there was the Mini. It was 1959 actually, and it took about five seconds before BMC’s product planning boffins produced variations on the theme such as the Traveller, Moke, Van and Pickup, plus the Riley Elf, Wolseley Hornet and Clubman. Then 120 or so special builders arrived, with catchy names like Many Mego, Deep Sanderson and Butterfield Muscateer. I’ve always had a hankering after a Unipower, but apparently all 75 are now in Japan.

So who can blame BMW for wanting that lucrative business for its new MINI – although it’s not so new now, as it’s now 10 years old, with the Cowley plant this week celebrating the production of the two millionth MINI. Yet while Sir Alec Issigonis’s miracle Mini and Dave Saddington’s assuredly retro MINI are different cars from different eras, both share a singular gotta-have-it factor that needs to be kept constantly simmering.

Frankfurt Motor Show 2011: Seat IBL concept

imageSeat showed a four-door Mondeo-sized concept car called the IBL at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

It doesn’t for the moment presage a production car of that size, but Seat will launch a new Leon next year and word is some of the elements of this design, such as the sharp-chiseled side lines and the thin headlights, will be relevant to the Leon.

These cues have now been seen on three successive Seat concept cars, so they must mean something.

Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 review

imageThe world’s first-ever diesel/electric hybrid passenger car, the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, goes on sale this autumn. Is it worth the wait?

Former General Motors boss Fritz Henderson described making petrol hybrid cars as “expensive squared. But making diesel hybrids,” he added, “now that’s expensive cubed.”

So welcome to the world’s first diesel/electric hybrid car, an expensively cubist creation from Peugeot-Citroën. First shown in Paris last year, this new driveline goes on sale in the 3008 SUV in November and in the following five months will appear in the 508 range and the RXH, an upmarket all-road estate. Yet even as it was being launched, rivals were muttering darkly that the Peugeot would be noisy and smelly.

Frankfurt Motor Show 2011: Gerry McGovern interview

Land Rover’s Director of Design, Gerry McGovern, tells the Telegraph all about his opinion-dividing concept for a new Defender.

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Gerry McGovern, Director of Design at Land Rover, explains the design process and reaction to his concept for a new Defender, which is being displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show:

“These concepts [the DC 100 and DC100 Sport] show we are now getting serious about putting a new Defender into production. There’s been several sorts of reaction since the pictures first went out; most of it positive, some sitting on the fence and a small amount has been negative. I think that’s from the traditionalists. You need to remember, though, that we aren’t going to be able to sell the current vehicle after 2015 in some markets. It doesn’t meet modern crash standards, or emissions requirements and it’s got no air bags. It’s great, but it’s from a bygone era.

Frankfurt Motor Show 2011: Mercedes-Benz F125

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Sometimes things are just so clever it’s difficult to fully understand them at first glance. So it is with the F125 Frankfurt Motor Show concept car from Mercedes, which looks at least a decade into the future.

Superficially this is a big old limo with unfeasible gull-wing doors and a questionable plutocratic interior. “There are no clues as to the replacement S-class,” said one tight-lipped PR. Delve deeper though and there’s technical gold under the skin as befits the Stuttgart brains who built it.

Powered by a hepped-up fuel cell of the type that Mercedes is currently trialling with the B-class F-cell models, the F125 uses four separate drive motors on each wheel as well as components from the SLS AMG E-Cell supercar.

Win VIP tickets to the Goodwood Revival

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The Telegraph has partnered with Goodwood to offer one lucky winner and a friend VIP tickets to the Goodwood Revival.

The first Goodwood Revival took place in 1998 with the intention of recreating the romance and glamour of motor racing as it used to be.

The fast, flowing circuit following the Battle of Britain airfield’s perimeter road was active from 1948-1966. The latter year became the cut-off point for eligible cars when Lord March realised his dream to revive racing at the circuit.

Vauxhall’s urban concept car revealed

Vauxhall is the latest manufacturer to unveil a two-seater urban mobility concept ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Vauxhall will reveal this striking two-seater electric car at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week.

With a range of 60 miles and a top speed of 75mph, the as-yet-unnamed car is inspired by the need for low-cost urban transport, especially for younger drivers and those on a very tight budget.

According to Vauxhall, the concept has “production potential”. If made, it will compete with a new generation of electric urban runabouts such as the Renault Twizy. It’s a far more sporty proposition than the Renault, with aggressive frontal styling based on the forthcoming Ampera extended range electric hatchback.

Racing David Coulthard

It was virtual versus reality in what was being billed as the world’s biggest race, but just how did David Coulthard get on?

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So this is it, virtual versus reality in the world’s biggest race. In one corner David Coulthard, 13 times Formula One race winner and current commentary box sidekick to Martin Brundle. His weapon: a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. His task: to set the fastest lap possible around a “mystery” UK circuit in a 15-minute time slot.

His opponents are many and varied. In fact, with the race open to anybody around the world with a Playstation 3, a copy of Gran Turismo 5 and an internet connection, the scope is enormous. For my part, I’ll be joining six competition winners at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey. Our job is to take on DC in real-time, setting the fastest lap we can manage in a virtual version of the SLS AMG, on a virtual version of the same track.

Goodwood Revival 2011: Nick Mason interview

Nick Mason, Pink Floyd drummer and racing driver, talks to Andrew English about the magical Goodwood Revival.

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Sometimes, no matter how high falutin’ you might be, life has a way of bringing you crashing to Earth. So just as this interview starts, Nick Mason, Pink Floyd’s drummer for 46 years, gets a knock on the front door.

“Sorry about that,” he apologises when he returns to the phone. “We’re having some furniture delivered.”

“So you’ve got an afternoon assembling flat packs,” I joke.

“Yes, that’s why I’m skulking in here talking to you,” he replies.

Wow. You might imagine that, after 200million album sales and immortalisation in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Floyd’s head of syncopation and owner of an exquisite car collection including a Ferrari 250 GTO, would spend the summer relaxing over witty repartee and mint juleps, not puzzling over the instructions for a Billy bookcase.

But then Mason has always had a strong work ethic and while he’s proud of his long-service award to the Goodwood Revival, he has never confused messing about in cars with work.

“It might come as a surprise to some people,” he says, “but I’ve always understood that the music pays for the motor racing and it takes precedence. The only Festival I missed was in 1993, when we were on tour. I have a policy of not giving up the day job.”

But while the gig diary is clear, this year’s Goodwood Revival (September 16-18), of which The Daily Telegraph is national media partner, isn’t quite business as usual for Mason and his cars. The Ferrari will be on the TT grid, but with Mark Hales and Martin Brundle behind the wheel. His son-in-law (Marino Franchitti, professional racing driver and brother of IndyCar champion, Dario) will drive the Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage and his daughter or wife will drive the Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica.

“Annette [Mason’s second wife] usually drives it,” he says, “but she had a fall off a racehorse a couple of weeks ago so I’m not sure whether we’ll run her or not.”

So Mason is taking a back seat from the driving duties. Any particular reason?

“Funnily enough it’s a bit like Stirling [Moss]. I find that after 40-odd years racing, the quotient of fear against excitement has changed, particularly at Goodwood, where there’s a big difference between me and Mark [Hales]. You end up spending the whole weekend revving yourself up and it becomes more stressed and less fun.

“So I thought I’d try being le patron for a change. It means I can enjoy the Saturday night ball, have a drink and then ponce around on Sunday morning looking important.”

Mason has entered his cars and family at the Goodwood circuit since its reopening in 1998. In that first year, Annette had a big accident in the Maserati Birdcage. Does Mason worry about his family and his cars?

“Yes I do. It’s wonderful that the circuit is as it was back in the day and the cars are going quicker, but the track’s a bit short of run-off space. Long term, if there are more big accidents, then Charles [Lord March] might be forced to put in chicanes, which would be a tragedy.”

It’s not as though Goodwood doesn’t try to keep things safe, though. “Anyone who has driven there has had loads of briefings reminding them to be sensible,” says Mason. “Charles does everything possible to contain things, but people do go out there and get excited.”

And while Mason reckons Goodwood’s grids contain some of “the sharpest historic racing cars in the world”, are those modern modifications good for the sport?

“The modifications do worry me slightly, but I don’t think it’ll change the face of historic restoration, because Goodwood is quite specialised. Not every E-type owner will rush out and super tune their car ready for the event, so it’ll be fine as long as everyone understands what it is. And, to some extent, the cars need to be prepared in that way, because there’s more of a tendency to put modern racing drivers behind the wheel, which I think makes fantastic racing.”

But the dangers, while real enough, are a small part of the Goodwood appeal, which Mason admits jogs a few memories. “I was there in its heyday,” he says, “with my dad, spectating at the TT when the Astons caught fire. You can see just what Goodwood was like back then. At Silverstone it’s a lot more difficult to remember what it was like.”

Does he have a favourite corner? “It’s the one after the pit straight, the double apex at Madgwick,” he says. “You know when you’ve got it right, with that little bump which tells you you’re on line.

“The great thing about Goodwood, though, is that it’s all hooked up together, so the exit to one corner is the entry to the next and so on. My most challenging one is the unnamed right-hander, because it looks daunting, but I always end up thinking I could have carried a bit more speed through there.”

Now in its 14th year, the Revival remains an extraordinarily popular event. Why does Mason think it’s been such a hit?

“What’s so good is that you can mingle with the whole motor-racing experience,” he says. “You can see the cars, talk to the drivers, engage with other enthusiasts. What’s more it’s an event that engages the public. There’s such a massive difference between the British Grand Prix and Goodwood.

“Both get huge crowds, but what happens on the track at the Grand Prix is the show and that’s it. What happens at Goodwood, however, is the crowd becomes part of it; like extras in a film. I think that’s partly about the details that Charles puts in place.”

Mason’s modesty is legendary and is so profound it is occasionally mistaken for stand-offishness. He once replied to an interviewer that he was not famous, but was part of a famous enterprise.

It’s his skill and enthusiasm rather than fame and money that have earned him a place in motor-racing hearts; he’s earned it the hard way and a measure of that is his favourite Goodwood anecdote.

“There I was moaning on to Doug [Nye, journalist and motoring historian] about the E-types beating the Ferraris in the TT race and how that wasn’t how it was in period and he said; ‘What you need to remember, Nick, is that this is a circus and you are just the monkeys’. I think that’s fine. And if you don’t like it, well, you don’t have to race.”

With that, Nick Mason hangs up and returns to assembling the flat pack.

Fun for the weekend: hire a Caterham

Buying a car for your loved one’s birthday is a little expensive for most of us, so why not hire one instead?

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Two years ago, my father turned 60 and, until a few weeks ago, I was still mulling over the ideal birthday present for him (no point in rushing these things). In an epiphany, however, it hit me: a Caterham Seven.

My Dad loves cars, and Caterhams present a minor challenge but are fairly easy to drive in comparison with anything else in the go-kart league. If, like me, you haven’t got the requisite £13,650 for the cheapest Seven, or £10,000 for a second-hand model (residuals are strong), there’s option C – Caterham’s scheme, Hire-A-7.

The Lotus range-extender

Range-extender technology could offer the best combination of low emissions and real world practicality. We try the latest system from Lotus.

As the electric vehicle (EV) market grows, one of the major problems facing designers of pure EVs is getting sufficient range from batteries that can’t cope with long journeys.

The alternative is to have a full hybrid such as the Toyota Prius or Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, in which a petrol or diesel engine combines with an electric motor. However, in such models, electric-only range is restricted to just a few miles.

Mr Money: Fisker performs a miracle

Telegraph Motoring’s Mr Money, Mike Rutherford, talks to Henrik Fisker about his take on green motoring.

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What do you do when you have one of the most glamorous jobs in the global motor industry – chief designer at Aston Martin – but you’ve grown tired of being stuck behind the drawing board in Warwickshire?

If you’re Henrik Fisker, you bravely – foolishly, some would say – turn your back on that safe job and, effectively unemployed, you then sit at your kitchen table quietly designing the petrol-electric car that Aston Martin wouldn’t or couldn’t build when you were in its employ. Next comes the little matter of raising the $1,000 million-plus needed to establish a new motor manufacturing company. After that, the dream becomes reality as you start watching your own production line building your cars which, naturally, wear badges bearing your family name.

‘Driving’ the Formula One British Grand Prix

Welcome to the world of Formula One simulators, where you can drive the new Silverstone Grand Prix circuit without even getting in a car.

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In an effort to understand a little more about what Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and the rest of the Formula One grid have to contend with this weekend, I spent an afternoon driving as fast as I could around the new Silverstone circuit in a grand prix car. Not in the real thing – that would be so 20th century – but in an F1 simulator.

It’s a strange and rather surreal truth about modern F1 that when not actually racing, drivers spend much of their time sitting in darkened rooms completing invaluable test and development miles on incredibly sophisticated simulators. When the sport is trying to reduce costs by limiting the amount of on-track testing, simulation is a neat solution, which is why the biggest teams spend vast sums on creating bespoke simulators that mimic every nuance of the real thing.

New BMW M5 revealed

BMW’s new £73,000 M5 saloon promises a compelling blend of performance and refinement.

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BMW has released details of its new M5, the fifth generation of its flagship performance saloon, which it claims provides the dynamics of a trackday car with the civility and comfort of a true grand tourer. It goes on sale in November, priced at £73,040.

It features the most potent engine ever devised by BMW’s high-performance M division, making its world premiere. The previous naturally aspirated V10 has been ditched in favour of a twin-turbocharged, 4,395cc V8 which develops 560bhp from 5,750-7,000rpm. The two banks of the V8 are arranged at 90 degrees, the space within the V being occupied by the two turbochargers and catalytic converters.

Motorhome renting guide

A home on wheels is just the ticket for a festival or family holiday, but what do you need to know before you set about renting one?

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“It was more than a motorhome… it was a car I could go to the bathroom in.” Wise words from Homer Simpson, which will be especially apt if you’re planning on visiting a festival this summer with its overflowing WCs or, frankly, if you’re travelling anywhere at all with small children.

The convenience (if you’ll pardon the pun) of a motorhome, camper van or RV (recreational vehicle) isn’t restricted to bathroom habits – you’re also never more than a few feet away from a cup of tea or a cold drink from the fridge.

Citroën DS4 review

What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a crossover; a mash-up of a coupé and five-door hatchback, with a sport utility’s ride height and slightly compromised accommodation. The Americans have made a black art of mixing styles in this manner, some of which end up with all the charm of pants which you can wear on your head.

And why is it called a DS? That comes from Flaminio Bertoni and André Lefèbvre’s original DS of 1955, a car whose sheer eroticism, élan and singularity moved the structuralist philosopher Roland Barthes to describe it as “a new Nautilus”. Citroën could never follow that, but last year it relaunched the DS badge on the front of a three-door, hot-hatch version of its nondescript C3 with a weird floating-roof design and uprated running gear.

SLS AMG Roadster undergoes testing

Drop-top version of the V8-powered Mercedes SLS AMG revealed ahead of the car’s September debut.

imageMercedes has released pictures of a lightly disguised version of its SLS AMG Roadster undergoing testing, before the car makes its official debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

Like the coupé upon which it is based, the Roadster has been developed independently by AMG, the high-performance tuning arm of Mercedes.

However, it trades the supercar’s “gullwing” doors for a fabric roof that can fold away in just 11 seconds while travelling at speeds up to 30mph.

Mr Money: another winner from Citroën

imageCitroën could be on to a winner with its DS5. That’s Mike Rutherford’s verdict, who has been impressed with the style and value of the French firm’s coupé-crossover.
Contrary to what you might have heard, Citroën’s DS5 coupé-crossover wasn’t unveiled at the Shanghai motor show earlier this month. It actually made its world debut at a private party in the city’s business district the night before the exhibition opened.

Royal wedding: A motorbike is the perfect way for Prince William to get away from it all

imageYou don’t have to be a disaffected Hell’s Angel to appreciate life on two wheels , writes Stephen Bayley.

Mildred (a local girl): “What are you rebelling against?”

Johnny (a gang leader): “Whaddya got?”

This fine exchange is cinema’s source of the now universal idea that the motorbike is a symbol of rebellion. It comes from the 1953 movie The Wild One, which starred a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T (and Marlon Brando). Just as Brando’s fictional Johnny – in his Schott Perfecto leather jacket – inspired many real-life imitators, The Wild One had its origins in fact.

Sculptures that define the Goodwood Festival of Speed

imageApart from the famous cars and drivers – and the glamour – the other main talking point at the Festival is Gerry Judah’s sculpture celebrating an important motoring milestone.

A Festival of Speed without its famous sculpture would be like a wedding without the cake, Christmas without the tree or a Martini without the olive. It just wouldn’t be the same.

Saab gets €150m lifeline from China’s Hawtai Motor Group

imageSwedish car maker Saab appears to have secured a cash injection after Hawtai Motor Group, a Chinese company, agreed to invest €150m (£135m) to rescue the business.

The investment means Sweden’s two most famous automotive brands are now backed by China after Geely bought Volvo from Ford last year.

An ailing Saab was acquired from General Motors for $400m (£243m) by Dutch car maker Spyker, but its turnaround plan has been hindered by disappointing sales. This sparked a liquidity crisis that led to Saab halting production on April 6 as unpaid suppliers stopped deliveries.

Peugeot sets ‘electric’ Nürburgring lap record

imagePeugeot’s EX1 Concept has set a lap record at the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife for an electric car.
Peugeot has set a record lap time at the Nürburgring Nordschleife for an electric car.

The company’s EX1 Concept Car was driven by Stéphane Caillet, driver and technician at Peugeot’s Research and Development Centre, around the 13-mile circuit in a time of nine minutes, 1.338 seconds.

World Car of the Year winners announced

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The Chevrolet Volt, Aston Martin Rapide and Ferrari 458 Italia all won awards, but it was the Nissan Leaf that took overall honours.
World Car of the Year winners announced

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