Car.co.uk Weekly News - June 25 2021

Porsche 911 GTS 2021

Plenty of performance this week as Maranello takes on Woking, but we have a nice plug-in hybrid estate to show you too.

So it’s not the Dino then?

Ferrari unveiled its first V6 sports car since the Dino, so logically and as we all expected it called it the, 296 GTB. Wait, what happened to it being called the Dino? Well, according to Enrico Galliera, chief marketing and commercial officer for Ferrari, the original Dino was always a compromise to attract new buyers to the marque. Except of course Dino was the brand name, Enzo Ferrari felt it was such a compromise that he wouldn’t allow it to wear the Ferrari name. 

History lesson out the way, what is the 296 GTB? Well it’s a two seater sports car featuring not only a brand new V6 engine but electrical power too. The combination provides total power of 818hp and 740Nm of torque. It should do the sprint to 62mph in just 2.9 seconds and top out at over 205mph. It’s no coincidence of course that it will hit 62mph a tenth quicker than McLaren’s new Artura with its new V6 engine. It’ll beat its cousin Maserat’s new Nettuno V6 engine equipped MC20 in the sprint too. Everybody is V6 fighting. 

Last week Porsche unveiled the 911 GT3 Touring, this week it was the turn of the 911 GTS. We don’t think there’s anything planned for next week. Anyway, we’ve become big fans of the GTS versions in recent years, the Cayman GTS launched early last year is absolutely fantastic. We expect the 911 GTS to be just as good, boasting 30hp more than the last GTS and the current 911 Carrera S. It gets a few design elements to set it apart too. Talking of the 911, we’ve spent some time at the Anglesey Circuit driving the new 911 GT3, so watch out for our quick review on that next week.

Some new models for the rest of us

Honda has revealed the next generation of its popular Civic. It will go on sale in the autumn as a hybrid-only model and of course the sad news is that it will not longer be built in the UK, with Honda having announced the closure of its Swindon manufacturing plant. 

Dacia has not only recently unveiled its new brand identity and logo, but now it has shown the new Duster, it’s popular and budget-friendly crossover estate, although we think they like to call it an SUV. Due in the UK later this year it gets some exterior design changes and more significant improvements to the interior, especially in terms of quality and infotainment. 

Peugeot revealed its new 308 SW, or estate to those who don’t speak Peugeot. It’ll be in the UK early in 2022 and will include a plug-in hybrid option for the first time in the model. It certainly looks sharp, like the 508 SW.

Finally what was that car we couldn’t tell you about?

Ah yes, the secret car we couldn’t tell you about a couple of weeks ago. Now we can and sorry but we’re back to performance cars, in this case the new Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Before you go oh yeah, another limited edition, it’s actually not, in fact this one is very interesting. When former Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers moved to head up Aston, one of the first things he did was demand that engineers get more performance out of the Vantage. He wanted a massive 15 seconds lopped of its lap time at the Nur-burgring and all without putting on super-sticky rubber. 

The result is the F1 Edition, which wears the badge just so the marketing people can associate it with As-ton’s return to the sport really. We dove it along some lovely A-roads from Caffeine and Machine to Silver-stone where we told we had the Stowe Circuit all to ourselves. The Vantage has already proved to be as comfortable as ever on the drive to the track, but on circuit it showed its really sporty side, being both pow-erful and controllable. It looks the part too with that massive rear wing that contributes to the 200kg of extra downforce at maximum speed of 195mph. It’ll hit 62mph in 3.6 seconds but it’ll also cruise serenely, okay maybe not quite serenely, to a dinner party.