We have a right mixture of Car Co UK news for you this week, with new electric models, concepts, coffee grains for dashboards and even a hot water bottle.
Star gets brighter
We kick off this week with big news for fans of the Swedish Polestar brand as it updates its Polestar 2. It gets some of the new design that debuted on the Polestar 3, including a Smartzone area at the front containing a camera and radar, but the most significant changes are in power and range. This includes new electric motors with a switch to rear-wheel drive for the single motor models and a jump in power of 67hp and an increase in torque to 490Nm. Even the dual motor version has been adjusted to push more of the power to the rear wheels, plus there’s also an increase to 421hp and 740Nm. There’s more power for the Performance Pack too and the option to unlock that power through an over-the-air update if you have a long range dual motor model.
The Polestar 2 also gets new, larger batteries which now only contribute to better performance and faster charging but significantly improve driving range. Single motor models can now travel up to 322 or 395 miles while the dual motor versions add as much as 65 miles to give them a potential range of 368 miles. The changes are likely to be a blow to some of Polestar’s rivals when the new models arrive in the UK in the third quarter of this year.
Citroen spin-off brand, DS, has revealed the new DS 3 which will be available as either a petrol or full-electric model to replace the DS 3 Crossback. It’s been redesigned a bit and has new tech like LED headlamps, DS’ Iris infotainment system and connected services. Being DS, it will have a bit of luxury too including the option of Nappa leather upholstery.
BMW will launch its M3 CS in March with prices starting from £115,900. The CS gets 40hp more than the M3 Competition to reach 550hp and will have a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds as well as a top speed that no-one outside of Germany is likely to achieve, probably. The M xDrive all-wheel drive system allows the driver to decide how much control they want, with the ability to hurl all the power only the rear axle and have a bit of fun. Various tweaks have been made to the chassis, transmission and BMW is clearly aiming it at the real enthusiast driver by stripping out a further 20kg from the Competition model and supplying it standard with track tyres.
If the CS doesn’t have enough power and status for you then how about the Aston Martin DBS 770 Ultimate? It’s the last in a line of DBS models that goes back decades and in more recent times has featured in a number of James Bond movies. Only 499 will be made in both coupe and convertible form featuring 770hp and 900Nm as well as a bunch of limited edition design and engineering changes. Aston says that the order books are already closed and deliveries will start later this year.
Crossover and pick-up combine in Audi Activesphere
Audi has revealed the fourth in its series of Sphere concept models, the Activesphere. It’s a four-door crossover with a clever trick up its sleeve, the rear can turn into a pick-up style cargo bed. It’s electric of course, with a claimed range of 372 miles and uses the Volkswagen Group’s 800v architecture for rapid charging times, but more importantly than that, it just looks super cool. Audi says it has no plans to build the Activesphere at the moment, but if you were considering the awkward-looking Tesla Cybertruck then you might hope Audi gets in there first.
The new Nissan Qashqai has beaten its rivals to take the accolade of most reliable car in 2023 from consumer magazine, Which?. The Qashqai, which is is built at Nissan’s manufacturing plant in Sunderland in the UK, achieved a maximum five stars from the title which surveyed 50,000 customers for its annual vehicle reliability study. If we’re talking awards then What Car? has given its overall Car of the Year trophy to the Volkswagen ID Buzz. We haven’t even seen one yet so can’t judge but it’s definitely an interesting choice.
Vauxhall is now taking orders for the Astra GSe or Grand Sport Electric electrified performance model that will arrive in the UK in the summer priced from £40,550. It will be followed by an estate version with both using an upgraded version of the brand’s existing petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain. Vauxhall is promising a power output of 180hp and up to 40 miles of pure electric range for the hatchback. Both the Astras will be followed by a Grandland GSe which will arrive later in the year.
We are becoming used to the recycled materials in our cars made from old old plastic bottles, fishing nets and even plants, but now former Jaguar design boss, Ian Callum has been coming up with some new solutions. He and his team at Callum Design have discovered that coffee pulp, red lentils, walnuts, rice and even old denim jeans all have the potential to be used in car interiors of the future. Carrot pulp can be used for trim parts, out of date rice can be turned into a translucent material for headlamps and tree leaves can replace wood veneer. It’s all part of a focus on the circular economy that is also integral to the strategy of car.co.uk.
Finally, you might remember that BMW announced it was going to start charging buyers to use their heated seats. Well now Dacia UK is having a cheeky dig by offering free hot water bottles for anyone who visits their Staples Corner, Manchester or Swansea dealerships on the 1st or 2nd of February. Look closely at their official publicity image and you’ll even see an unbranded BMW key.
That’s all for this week, we’re off to get a hot water bottle.
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