- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Groupe Renault are negotiating a merger to form one of the world’s largest car manufacturers. If the £29billion deal goes ahead, it will make the new company the third-largest carmaker in the world, trailing behind only Toyota and Volkswagen.
FCA have been falling behind the competition when it comes to new car technologies and with the impending European Union fleet-wide average emission targets coming in 2021, the Group confirmed last month they would be pooling together with Tesla to help offset their average CO2 emissions and avoiding billions of pounds in fines as a result.
This potential merger with Renault would lead to sharing development and research costs for the likes of electric and self-driving cars, as well as sharing parts, saving FCA an estimated £4.4billion a year. Renault already has a similar system in place with strategic partners Nissan and Mitsubishi, as part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
- BMW held their #NEXTGen event in Munich this week and revealed the all-new 1 Series. Now in its third generation, the premium compact will be only available as a 5-door this time round and also loses its distinctive rear-wheel drive powertrain. For the first time, the 1 Series will instead be available with a new front-wheel drive configuration, which in turn provides more interior space over the previous RWD model and allows for a bigger boot, as well as better efficiency.
Also available with BMW’s all-wheel drive system, ‘xDrive’, for certain models, two petrol and three diesel engines will be available from launch, developing from 116hp in the 116d, up to 306hp in the M135i xDrive. All engines meet the Euro 6d-TEMP emissions standard, with the BMW 116d being Euro 6d-compliant and therefore avoiding the 4% diesel surcharge for drivers benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax.
The All-New BMW 1 Series goes on sale in September, with prices starting at £24,430.
- The New BMW X1 was also shown off at the #NEXTGen even, which has received some slight tweaks and a redesign over the previous version. These updates include new bumpers, lights and a larger kidney grille, which is more akin with the rest of the latest BMW lineup.
Triumphing over the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3, the BMW X1 remains the best-selling small premium SUV in Europe and the new model will now be available with a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) variant for the first time, the BMW X1 xDrive25e. With a 9.7kWh battery pack, BMW claim the X1 PHEV will be capable of a 31-mile electric-only range (WLTP).
The New BMW X1 goes on sale in July, with prices starting at £28,795. The PHEV version is then due to go on sale from March 2020.
- Honda has confirmed that the Side Camera Mirror System of the new Honda e will be available as standard when the car enters production. As seen on the prototype version, the technology is a first in the compact segment and replaces conventional side view mirrors with compact cameras providing live images to two six-inch screens inside the vehicle. Integrated at either end of the dashboard, these screens are position to ensure a natural feel and vision for the driver.
As well as improving visibility, the cameras reduce aerodynamic drag by around 90% compared to conventional door mirrors. The result is an approximate 3.8% improvement for the entire vehicle, contributing towards the models overall efficiency and range. Furthermore, there is a significant reduction of wind noise compared to normal side mirrors at higher speeds. The shape of the camera unit housing is designed to prevent water drops on the lens. A water-repellent coating on the lens surfaces deter any other residual water build up.
The production version of the Honda e will be unveiled later this year, with eager customers being able to make a reservation for priority ordering on Honda’s website.
- Ferrari has introduced its first series production plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV), the Ferrari SF90 Stradale.
Utilising a modified version of Ferrari’s twin-turbo V8 in combination with three electric motors, the SF90 produces 986bhp and is the most powerful production car Ferrari has ever built, outdoing the 950hp produced by the V12-equipped La Ferrari.
As well as being the most powerful Ferrari, it’s also the first Ferrari to have 4WD, which allows the car to hit 0-62mph time in 2.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 212mph.
With the car being a PHEV, the all-electric ‘eDrive’ mode can achieve a maximum range of 15 miles and reach a top speed of 84mph. The internal combustion engine will also automatically switch itself off entirely when reversing and just use the electric motors, meaning the car’s gearbox doesn’t need to include a reverse gear.
First deliveries of the SF90 Stradale are expected next year, with no mention yet of price or availability.