Car.co.uk Weekly News - July 2 2021

Charging, recharging and a bit of charging on track as we bring you this week’s news on the latest models

Electric models continuing to charge into the market

It feels like another week on electric avenue, which coincidentally is what Goodwood is calling its electric vehicle (EV) display area at the Festival of Speed. Great to see that the event is going ahead, in fact that’s probably the best news this week.

Back to the electric stuff, sorry petrolheads, there’s something further down for you. Volvo had a big tech day this week in which it also revealed its Concept Recharge, a sign of things to come. It previews the first models the Swedish automaker will produce that will only be available as pure battery-electric, with no internal combustion engine option. This means more interior space with the batteries in a pack beneath the floor. It also allows for a new design language as well as more tech, such as the self-driving capabilities that come from things like Lidar mounted in the roof.

After years of speculation that Nissan would close its Sunderland plant post-Brexit, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief because the Japanese company is investing £1-billion and turning it into an EV manufacturing ecosystem - that’s a place that makes EVs and components to the rest of us. The plant will build a new compact crossover to sit below the forthcoming Ariya, as well as its batteries thanks to a new battery manufacturing facility on the site. 

It’s no coincidence that Nissan’s alliance partner Renault also had some big announcements to make this week at its tech day. What really grabbed our attention though was the promise that the new electric Renault 5 will cost a third less than the Zoe when it arrives in the UK early in 2024. We could be tempted, really we could.

Then what better way to transition back to the traditional combustion engine that with a vehicle that has a bit of both, in this case a new model revealed this week by LEVC, the London Electric Vehicle Company, the same company that makes the new black cabs. It’s shown a compact camper van with a pop-up roof and the ability to drive in electric mode for up to 60 miles. Granted it’s more hybrid than pure electric and it will cost well over sixty grand, but, yeah actually we think we’ll take a VW.

One for the petrolheads

Talking of VW and we’re back to pure petrol, not that there’s anything pure about petrol, Volkswagen revealed its new Polo GTi this week. In a sign of the times, all the official information talks about the new IQ Light across the front, the driver assistance technology, Beats sound system, new colour options and the infotainment systems. Except for saying it has a sports chassis and is lowered by 15mm, there’s a complete lack of any details relating to its performance. What has happened to the world? 

What was that about Anglesey?

Well if it’s performance you’re after then we’re happy to oblige. Last week we mentioned that we were at the Anglesey Circuit to drive something special. Our experience was slightly dampened by it bucketing down with rain but the mood was brightened immensely by the fact we were driving the new Porsche 911 GT3. Equipped with the PDK gearbox (a manual is available too, hoorah), the power is only marginally up on the old one at 510hp and the 0-62mph time remains 3.4 seconds. It’s still naturally aspirated (hoorah again) and revs to a fantastic sound of 9,000rpm. New double-wishbone front suspension from the 911 RSR race car keeps the front end more balanced than before and the massive swan-neck rear wing can be adjusted to provide up to 150% more downforce, although that’s at around 134mph. 

The track was a bit slippery but the GT3 was superb, proving once again that it is a car as at home driving to the shop as it is blasting out a new lap record, as indeed it did recently at the Nurburgring. It’ll set you back £123,100 and if you want the Clubsport package with the roll cage then that will cost you precisely nothing extra, which is nice of Porsche don’t you think.

Right, next week your car.co.uk news will be coming to you from Goodwood where we’ll be looking for the best new stuff and going up the famous hill in the new Zenvo TSR-S.