Weekly News - July 30 2021

McLaren 765 LTS

Coupé-SUVs are increasing in numbers and performance this week with new models from Porsche, Renault and VW. Plus there’s a new Bowler Defender and the McLaren 765LT drops its top.

Good news for Mitsubishi owners

Have you heard the news, the good news? No not that, but the good news for Mitsubishi owners that while the brand is officially leaving the UK, its parts and aftersales business is now secure. The IM Group which is the official distributor for Subaru and Isuzu has purchased the aftersales business from The Colt Car Com-pany which has been the Mitsubishi distributor for decades. Existing dealers will become Mitsubishi Motors service agents, so for owners things will look the same, except that there won’t be any shiny new Mitsubishi models sold here anymore, although we imagine IM will be happy to get you into a Subaru or Isuzu if you’re interested.

More SUV coupés anyone?

Did anyone really take the original BMW X6 seriously? Most people laughed at the idea of a coupe-like SUV but then Mercedes did it and Porsche too. Actually now almost everyone’s doing it and this week we had not one but two new coupé crossover SUV announcements. Renault has confirmed orders are now open for its Arkana with prices starting from £25,300 and deliveries expected to begin towards the end of August. On the same platform as the Clio and Captur, it’s the first Renault to built purely as a hybrid and will use the new E-Tech hybrid and mild-hybrid technology. 

Volkswagen has confirmed that the Brazilian Nivus will go on sale in the UK and Europe as the Taigo. Based on the Polo, the Taigo gets a few changes over the South American version to meet European crash stand-ards and other things and it will be built in Spain. It’s not going to be short on features either, with the option of the digital Virtual Cockpit, wireless connectivity and an R-Line styling package. No pricing as yet but first models are due in the UK early next year and we expect it to be priced around the same as the T-Cross which starts at just over twenty grand.

Porsche Cayenne GT 2021

SUVs that put on a great performance

This one is not your run-of-the-mill family crossover SUV thing. This is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT, the first Porsche SUV to wear a GT badge and get the full treatment from Weissach. This means a twin-turbo four litre V8, all-wheel drive, rear-wheel steering, loads of carbon fibre and an interior that seems to actually be hewn from a block of Alcantara, not that we think that’s actually possible. We drove it in the UK fresh from Germany on Stuttgart plates and it is immense. Surprisingly docile on the motorway, on the B-roads it turned into the closest an SUV can get to behaving and feeling like a sports car, although we stress the word closest because no SUV will ever achieve this feat properly no matter what the marketing people say. It growls through its titanium exhaust, the engine delivers instant response in the sportiest of modes and it has a rear bias which can make it rather fun on the right roads and in the right hands. If you really have to buy a performance SUV then this is the one. If you don’t then buy a 911.

Anyone who is into off-roading, especially off-road motor sport will be familiar with the Bowler name. Until recently they took original Land Rover Defenders and made them into incredible cross-country rallying weapons. These days the company is owned by Jaguar Land Rover and it’s no surprise that we now have a Bowler version of the new Defender 90. It features performance upgrades as well as modifications to sus-pension and bodywork as part of an overall package designed and engineered to tackle the rough stuff at pace. As if these aren’t cool enough, there will also be a Bowler Defender Challenge in 2022 which will take place over seven rounds in the UK and 12 entries will be allowed. Where do we sign?

This one is probably not going to be about performance, but Ssangyong has released a sketch of its future SUV model. Looking like a cross between a Jeep Wrangle and a new Ford Bronco, it’s currently codenamed X200 and the South Korean automaker is promising it will follow a philosophy of “powered by toughness.” We assume this is a play on the days when Ssangyongs had a sticker in the back window saying “Powered by Mercedes-Benz”. Given they generally weren’t that tough, or reliable, we look forward to experiencing this toughness for ourselves.

Finally a topless spider

We drove the new McLaren 765LT (Longtail) at Silverstone last year and it is a phenomenal thing. Now you can have a topless version in the new Spider. Key figures include a 0-60mph time of 2.7 seconds, a top speed of 205mph and the figure all potential Spider buyers want to know - the retractable hard top opens or closes in 11 seconds at up to 31mph. That wind in the hair thing will cost you though, the 765LT is order-only in the UK priced from £310,500.


Written by Mark Smyth