Renault unveil new R.S. 01 racer

Renault RS 01

Renault has increased its racing pedigree after unveiling its new R.S. 01 at the Moscow motor show.

The sleek-looking racer will cost from £282,000 and is aimed at privateer racing outfits who are hoping to take part in the one-make World Series by Renault championships in 2015.

The French manufacturer is yet to reveal full technical details on the R.S. 01, but it is known that the car utilises the same twin-turbo 3.8-litre V6 from the Nissan GT-R Coupe. However, Renault’s version will be detuned to produce around 493bhp from 542bhp.

With the R.S. 01 only fit for the track, Renault has modified the engine in order to ensure it can withstand the demands of high-speed racing, with one such adaption being a new dry oil sump to prevent engine oil starvation during hard cornering.

Renault RS 01

Renault’s design for the R.S. 01 is almost Alfa 4C-esque and also takes inspiration from the company’s Dezir concept from 2010, with prominent logos joined by a large grille and daytime running lights. The firm say inspiration from the Renault Etoile Filante – a record-breaking land speed car that reached 186mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1956 – was key in the R.S. 01’s design.

Former Formula 1 World Champion and Renault ambassador, Alain Prost, commented at the launch: “Renaultsport R.S. 01 is a spectacular racing car, in the purest tradition of GT. With its high-level sporting capacities, Renaultsport R.S. 01 illustrates the rich expertise of Renaultsport, and its ability to develop the racing cars that will reveal future GT or endurance champions.”

Aston Martin’s new Lagonda revealed

Aston Martin Lagonda

Entering into a new era, Aston Martin has revealed its new Lagonda model in the open for the first time, as the special edition super-saloon touched down in Oman for warm weather testing.

Aston teased us with a darkened image of the new Lagonda last month, but this is our first proper look at what is to be a V12-powered saloon and the spiritual successor to the 1976 model produced by the Gaydon firm.

Just a select few – 100 customers it is thought – will be able get their hands on the new Lagonda when it goes on sale on an invitation-only basis.

Marek Reichmann, Aston’s design chief, is open to the fact that the Lagonda’s styling is heavily influenced from its 70s predecessor, with the wedged fronting a large nod to the old saloon. However, modern touches ensure the new model is well up to speed in the 21st Century and references the Rapide in that respect.

Aston Martin Lagonda - Rear

It is believed that the Vanquish’s powerplant has been utilised for the new Lagonda, but technical details are yet to be disclosed by Aston; although, if true, the model will receive around 565bhp to be put through the rear wheels and have a near to 200mph top speed, coupled with a 0-62mph time of around five seconds.

Carbon fibre bodywork helps the new Lagonda stay as light and as strong as possible while the VH chassis that underpins all other current Aston models will be the basis for the saloon, albeit with a slightly longer wheelbase for extra legroom in the rear.

The Gaydon factory will produce every example with the same facilities that built each of the One-77 supercars.

Aston Martin Lagonda - Rear

Commenting on the testing in Oman, Aston’s General Manager for the Middle East and North Africa Neil Slade enthused: “We are so proud to have the Lagonda here on the ground for the first time, and Oman is the ideal testing-ground for a car which has been specifically designed for customers in the Middle East.”

Expect the price tag to exceed £400,000 for the limited run model and a full reveal is anticipated at the end of the year, with deliveries starting in 2015.

Full details: New Vauxhall Corsa

New Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall has released full details on its latest generation Corsa which is to go on sale in January following its public debut at October’s Paris motor show.

Now in its fourth iteration, the new Corsa will be available in its usual three and five-door guises and prices are likely to be close to the outgoing model, while a line-up of efficient and economical engines will power the supermini.

Design

Vauxhall’s Adam seems to have had a say in the direction of the new Corsa’s design and could prove to also be the influence for the next Astra that is also expected to be revealed sometime in 2015. Around 85,000 examples of the hatchback are sold every year in the UK and Vauxhall has kept the basic dimensions and shape of the generation this new model replaces to keep such popularity.

It can be argued that the new Corsa is more of an extensive facelift rather than an all-new car, with the basic chassis structure of the forthcoming version pretty much identical to its predecessor, mirroring its exterior and interior dimensions as a result. However, each exterior panel is new after Vauxhall’s design team borrowed styling cues from other company models and then shrunk them down into supermini size and shape.

New Vauxhall Corsa - Rear

The new grille, for example, is taken from the Adam and so is the bar running across it; meanwhile, daytime running lights will grace most trims as standard and will represent a more exaggerated wing-like shape take on the Astra’s headlights.

Inside, the new Corsa has further influence from the Adam as it gets a more modernised cabin thanks to a new instrument panel and dashboard. A new seven-inch colour touchscreen takes front and centre which features Vauxhall’s IntelliLink infotainment system that can be connected to any smartphone where users can download sat-nav and internet radio apps, as well as use Siri’s voice control elements. Implementation of such technology and also general decluttering of the cabin certainly looks to have superseded the old, now dated interior.

New Vauxhall Corsa - Interior

Engines

As with most high-volume manufacturers these days, Vauxhall has plumped for a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, similar to Ford’s EcoBoost, called ECOTEC. With direct-injection, the turbocharged unit can deliver either 89bhp or 113bhp and Start/Stop technology is standard, with power being put through a six-speed manual ‘box; a new six-speed auto is optional on selected models. Around 54.7mpg and sub 100g/km of CO2 are expected from the lower tuned engine to match that of the Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost.

The entry-level engine, meanwhile, is a 69bhp 1.2-litre petrol, while a turbo and non-turbocharged 1.4 will also be available. Those after a diesel have two versions of the 1.3-litre engine to choose from that offers 74bhp or 94bhp respectively and will return 87.8mpg and emit just 85g/km.

Corsa VXR

Vauxhall has confirmed that a hot VXR version will be coming some time after the launch and is currently in development. A new version of the direct-injection turbo 1.6 is heavily expected to be under the bonnet and it’s possible more potent variants will follow later in the fourth generation’s life.

Ian Mitchell, Vauxhall’s small car brand manager, told Auto Express of their ambitions for the new Corsa: “We wanted it to have the ride quality of a Polo, but to be as fun to drive as a Fiesta – if you hit those benchmarks you’ve cracked it, and we believe we have.

“We’ve been pretty consistent with Corsa sales for the past few years. Clearly we have aspirations to grow our volume; we want to go at the Fiesta, which sells around 120,000, and steal some of its volume.”