Land Rover increasing focus on customisation

Land Rover’s design chief says the company is working on an expanded range of technical and cosmetic enhancements for customers looking to take the personalisation of their cars to the next level.

Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern told a small group of Australian journalists including CarAdvice at this month’s New York auto show that he has designers in his team working specifically on bespoke ETO (Engineered to Order) projects.

“That’s becoming an area of much bigger focus for us,” McGovern said. “It’s very important to our business.

“I split the studio into exterior design, interior design, and I have another one that looks at colour and materials and special projects including ETO, so I have designers in my department that are working specifically on ETO.

“We’re looking at ETO, what we can do in terms of offering more personalisation, which has to include higher-performance technical aspects, not just cosmetic ones.”

Sports Car Comparison: Porsche Cayman v Audi TT RS v Lotus Exige S

It’s been variously belittled as a Boxster with a roof, or the Porsche that tells people you can’t afford a 911 … but the Porsche Cayman emerged in 2005 to quickly establish itself as one of the great driver’s cars.

Named after a type of alligator rather than the tax-haven islands whose residents certainly could afford far more expensive Porsches, the Cayman arrived in 2013 in all-new form for the first time in eight years.

We’ve reviewed the new Porsche Cayman in isolation both overseas and on home soil, but how does it fare against two natural rivals?
We’ll be honest and reveal that this comparison wasn’t exactly strategically planned and was more a case of sports car planets aligning fortuitously.

Lotus test vehicles tend to be thin on the ground, and the one day an Exige S became available we just happened to have both a Cayman and the hottest version of the Audi TT in the garage.
It means it’s not quite the perfect match-up in terms of power.

Proton GEN.2 Hybrid

Remember the Lotus Exige 265E? The Exige powerd by E85 fuel containing 85 percent renewable ethanol alcohol and 15 percent petrol. 0-100 in 3.88 seconds. Not bad for ethanol!

It was obvious from that incarnation that Lotus and its parent company Proton were spending some serious money on alternative fuels. Now Proton has unveiled its first Hybrid prototype at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

2013 Jaguar XF 2.0 Petrol Review

The launch of the new 2.0-litre turbo-petrol Jaguar XF represents the British throwing their union-jack-woven gauntlet (that’s glove if you don’t hail from the 15th century) down at the Germans and Japanese.

For too long the full-size XF sedan has been similarly priced to the 5 Series, E-Class, A6, and GS establishment, yet has offered mostly inferior engines – particularly the base diesel and petrol V6.
Now, the entry-level XF is priced from $68,900, $10K less than the old turbo diesel starter (which now begins at $69,900…). And it’s powered by a really rather excellent 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, shared with the Land Rover Evoque and Freelander, and Ford Mondeo and Falcon, albeit in a different state of tune.

Lamborghini Egoista: 441kW ‘selfish’ supercar revealed

The Lamborghini Egoista has been unveiled in Italy, taking the brand’s reputation for extreme models one step further.

Revealed at a ceremony in Sant’Agata marking the end of the Lamborghini 50th anniversary grand tour, the Lamborghini Egoista is designed as “a gift from Lamborghini to Lamborghini”.

Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak: Loeb wins, smashes record

Sebastien Loeb has won the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, smashing the previous record by more than 1min 30sec.

Behind the wheel of the 652kW Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak, the nine-time World Rally Champion covered the famous 20-kilometre, 156-turn course at an average speed of 145km/h to complete the ‘Race to the Clouds’ in 8min 19.878sec.

Significantly quicker than last year’s record-setting run of 9min 46.164sec achieved by Rhys Millen, Loeb’s new time set the trend with the top three finishers all beating the 2012 record.