Ever since the first generation Ford Focus RS arrived in 2002, the car has been a little bit of a legend. The first generation model looked fairly unassuming, but with 212 hp and a 0-60 time of just 6.4 seconds, it was able to blow the doors off many unwary sports car drivers. The second generation Focus RS was a
little lot less subtle. Even if it wasn’t coated in that eye-searing lime green paint Ford offered it in, it still stood out a mile away. It was also faster and more powerful than its predecessor. The latest model, the third generation Ford Focus RS, happily continues on where the Mk2 Focus RS left off.
The 2016 Ford Focus RS is a ninja of a car. It’s stealthy, extremely capable and full of surprises. Not least of which is the fact now all four wheels get a share of the power being produced by that turbocharged engine up front.
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BMW has finally realised what everyone else noticed from the first day it was introduced, the BMW 1 Series has an incredibley ugly face. But thanks to a major facelift, the car now looks much better. It’s still not beautiful. But it’s now not such an embarassment for the company.
The whole front end has been redesigned and now features bigger air intakes, a revised apron and a different kidney grille with a more sculpted frame and chrome accents. But perhaps most importantly, the 2015 BMW 1 Series now has new headlights. As standard the car comes with twin circular configuration headlights with with LED daytime running lights. Optionally, the 1-Series can be bought with full LED headlights (including the indicators) as well as adaptive LED headlights with High Beam Assistant function and LED fog lights with cornering.
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The extensive 911 range got a little bigger at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, thanks to the introduction of the Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS. The car is aimed at buyers who want more performance and better handling from their 911 but don’t want to go all the way and dip into the domain of the hardcore 911 GT3.
Built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 911 Targa, the Targa 4 GTS features a sportier front bumper, wider rear fenders and tinted bi-xenon headlights. The model also has aerodynamic mirrors, a sports exhaust system and gloss black 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels.
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Hot on the heels of the Shelby GT350 Mustang, which was unveiled in November 2014, Ford has unveiled the even higher performance Shelby GT350R Mustang. Ford are making some big noises about the GT350R, calling it the more track-capable production Mustang ever built.
“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “It is a thoroughbred street car making use of technology and ingenuity to deliver performance few enthusiasts have ever experienced.”
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When Ford unveiled the Ford GT concept in 2002, people got excited. When they put it into production in 2005 people got really excited. When they discontinued it in 2006, people got a little bit less excited. And now in 2015, with the introduction of the all-new Ford GT at the Detroit Auto Show people are going f***ing nuts.
The all-new Ford GT is set for a 2016 production date, which also marks 50 years since the historic 1,2,3 win at Le Mans in 1966 with a trio of Ford GT40s. Just like the previous Ford GT, the new supercar takes some inspiration from the original car. But whereas its predecessor was more or a modern-day clone, the 2016 car is much more abstract.
The 2016 Ford GT also marks a departure from the V8 engine, and instead it features a twin-turbocharged 3.5 litre EcoBoost V6. But before anyone starts booing the loss of two cylinders, that V6 manages to produce over 600 horsepower, and is packed full of race-bred technologies, including an all-new, port/direct dual fuel-injection setup to improve engine response, plus a low-friction roller-finger-follower valvetrain. The transmission of choice is a seven-speed dual-clutch unit which Ford say offers near-instantaneous gear changes.
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The anticipated convertible version of the Alfa Romeo 4C has finally been unveiled. The car made its world debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, with sales due to begin later in the year.
The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider retains much of the coupe’s styling, however there are some subtle differences apart from the removable and storable fabric roof. Changes include new headlights – which are thankfully far more attractive than those of the coupe, a new rear decklid which features three functional heat extractors, a revised rear spoiler, and LED tail lights. In addition an optional high-performance dual-mode Akrapovic performance exhaust system with center-mounted carbon fiber tips is available.
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The Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE is a five-seater plug-in hybrid SUV which is designed to preview a future model for the North American market. The concept, which made its debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, provides a good indication what the all-new seven-seater SUV – scheduled for production in late 2016 – will look like.
The Cross Coupe GTE is the third concept car presented by Volkswagen on the way to the production version of the mid-size SUV. Previously, the company unveiled the CrossBlue concept, and the CrossBlue Coupe concept.
The Cross Coupe GTE has an aggressive front fascia with an aluminum grille and LED headlights. The concept also has muscular fenders, gloss black accents and strong character lines which lend themselves well to the vehicles upscale demeanour. The concept also features a sloping roofline, a tailgate-mounted spoiler and large 22-inch aluminum wheels.
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A pre-production model of the Buick Cascada has been unveiled at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The Buick Cascada will go on sale early in 2016, and when it does it will end a 25 year drought of convertibles for Buick. The car is essentially a rebadged version of the European market Opel Cascada, with just a few minor changes to suit the American market.
The styling of the Buick Cascada, which was designed from the outset as a convertible, features a flowing, sculpted profile and raked A-pillars. When lowered, the top folds neatly and completely beneath a hard tonneau behind the rear seats for a sleek look. The convertible roof lowers in just 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. When raised, superior thermal and acoustic insulation contribute help keep the cabin quiet and comfortable.
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There are a number of automakers offering high-riding wagons (or estate cars if you prefer), the Golf Alltrack, Octavia Scout, Insignia Country Tourer, and A4/A6 allroad quattro all spring to mind. But there aren’t any sedans on sale right now using the same recipe.
Scheduled to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show next week, the Volvo S60 Cross Country breaks new ground in the crossover sedan segment (forgetting the old Subaru Outback sedan), and will no doubt pave the way for more jacked-up sedans from other manufacturers.
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At the Detroit Auto Show, Lexus will unveil a new high performance sedan called the GS F. The Lexus GS F will join the recently launched RC F Coupe, and is designed to offer the practicality and comfort of a four-door car with sports car like handling.
The GS F shares the same platform as the standard Lexus GS, but features extensive enhancements throughout. Power comes from the company’s 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 – the same engine used in the RC F, and good for 467 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 389 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
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