Weekly News - July 11 2021

BMW 2 Series 2021

This week’s news is all about strategies, terrible marketing, new models and one massive festival for petrolheads and electricheads. It’s been a good week, except for that football thing.

Let’s strategise

It’s been a very busy week and with Goodwood Festival of Speed taking place, we thought we’d bring you details from our visit to this amazing event, hence this week’s news going out a little later than usual.

We’ll get to FOS shortly but it’s also been a week of strategising. Yes, that might sound a bit boring com-pared to FOS but it’s all part of how the cars we buy in the years to come is changing. The week started with the widely expected announcement that Bugatti is merging with Rimac to create Bugatti Rimac. It will be run by Mate Rimac and Porsche will have a significant shareholding. No details of new models have been released yet, but whatever comes from it is sure to be exciting.

Stellantis, the oddly named company that came from the merger of the Peugeot Citroen group and Fiat Chrysler, announced its electrification strategy. It also revealed some bizarre marketing slogans that looked like an intern came up with them in the pub at 11pm the night including the brand-insulting “From 2024, Alfa Romeo becomes Alfa e-Romeo.” You see our point right?  What you need to know though is that there will be lots of electric models, which is not really a surprise including four new battery-electric vehicle platforms that will be used throughout most of the brands. One very exciting thing that did come out of the briefing though is that Vauxhall/Opel will make the electric Manta and it will debut around 2025 or 2026, now that’s news we do like.

And now for some new models

The biggest new model news this week has to be the reveal of the new Lotus Emira. It will be the last purely internal combustion engined car to come from the British sports car maker and is essentially the replace-ment for the Elise which ended production this year. The 3.5-litre supercharged V6 from the Exige and Evora will continue for now, but there will also be a 2.0-litre turbocharged motor from Mercedes-AMG with power across both engines from 360hp to 400hp. Lotus is promising a 0-62mph time of under 4.5 seconds and prices will start from £60,000. We’ve spoken to many of those involved in the Emira project and we reckon this really is the start of something very exciting for Lotus.

Another two-door model that debuted this week is the new BMW 2 Series coupe and the great news is that it doesn’t have a massive beaver-tooth grille. Yes there are elements of the design that are controversial, es-pecially at the rear this time, but it looks like BMW design boss, Adrian van Hooydonk has been paying at-tention to feedback on other models. Priced from £34,980 and on sale in the UK early next year, there will be three models available initially including the 374hp all-wheel drive M240i xDrive. 

Bentley revealed its greenest model yet, the new Flying Spur Hybrid, which features a V6 petrol engine and an electric motor. It can do up to 26 miles in electric-only mode which means that it can cruise through an ultra low emission zone without the owner hearing the sound of money flying out of their account.

We’ve seen the Ineos Grenadier in the metal but until now the interior has been a secret. Well now Ineos Au-tomotive has given us our first look inside and if you like fighter jet cockpits with big, chunky buttons then you’ll love it. There’s a touchscreen infotainment system on the top of the dash but beneath it sits a large centre console that looks just a little like the outline of a Dalek. It contains all the regularly used buttons and switches with others being moved to a panel in the roof between the removable glass sunroofs. It’s all very utilitarian and just a bit Tonka and we can’t wait to play with it. 

Lotus Emira

One we did actually play with 

Before we talk Goodwood, let’s talk Goodwood. Not the festival but the circuit because before the main event we joined Polestar to put its models through their paces on the famous track. We were joined by Joakim Rydholm, chief chassis engineer for Volvo’s electric brand who brought along something rather special in the form of the Polestar 2 Experimental. Rydholm’s a national class rally champion in Sweden and he likes to tinker with set-up, which is why the standard Polestar 2 has Ohlins suspension with 22 manually adjustable settings. Asked by his boss to create something for Goodwood and you can imagine how much fin he had. 

The Experimental has power hiked from 406 to 476hp, there’s three way adjustable suspension, carbon fibre strut braces, larger 21-inch wheels with the six-piston brake callipers from the Polestar 1 sit each need of a 10mm wider track and it gets a few design tweaks. It’s 80% stiffer up front, 40% at the rear and because Rydholm has changed the components inside the Ohlins dampers, they have 40% more compression. To test it, he took us out on the track and the combination of the man who created the car and the component changes made it a very different Polestar 2 indeed. The increase in power made a huge difference to the speed at the end of the straights and how much it would carry through the corners. There was way more grip and the only really lateral movement was me being pushed across my seat slightly by the g-forces as Ry-dholm pushed his toy as hard as he dared. Although he was wearing a face mask, we just know he was grinning wildly. Sadly, at last for now, the car will remain a toy but you never know and lessons may be learned for future models.

Festival time

Then it was time for the famous Festival of Speed, not only an opportunity to see some great cars, but an opportunity to actually be at a proper event for the first time in around 15 months, hoorah. It had quite a lot in store from the usual selection of some of the greatest vehicles ever made to some of the future models too. If you think there isn’t a great selection of electric vehicles then think again because the Electric Avenue display was packed. It even contained some we are really looking forward to such as the new Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Volvo C40 Recharge. 

Elsewhere the event marked the global debut of the new BMW 2 Series coupe and it was the first time in the UK to see models like the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA, Alpina B8 Gran Coupe, Ferrari SF90 Spider, Genesis G70 estate, Maserati MC20 and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.

Many of these joined the stars of yesteryear and some of today’s best supercars to go up the famous hill-climb route. We also grabbed a ride up the hill, in the stunning Zenvo TSR-S with its 1,177hp and 1200Nm of torque. Our driver was British Superbike rider and Zenvo’s production director, Alberto ‘Bertie’ Solera. It is an incredible machine, even more so when you realise the detail that goes into every component, many of which are actually made in-house by Zenvo in Denmark. The company makes its own carbon fibre, creates all its own software and even makes its own wheels. It’s no wonder they only make five cars a year at the moment. And that wing, what a thing. To go up the hill and watch it constantly adjusting at all sorts of weird angles is a piece of theatre that goes some way to justifying the €1.55 million price tag all on its own. We had no idea what goes into creating a TSR-S and we got properly schooled. 

The main thing though is that Zenvo were there, along with the many others who both thrilled and informed the thousands of visitors who were denied the opportunity to attend in person last year. Here’s to the safe return of more events and the chance to get close to some amazing cars and the hear the stories of the people who own them.


Written by Mark Smyth