Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry
9 January 2018

This week's snippets of automotive news include Volkswagen's hot models, Jeep Wrangler customer modifications, 'SUV' goes high-end, and an M Performance BMW Z4.

Hot Volkswagens: 

Hot Volkswagens will continue to get the ‘Benny touch’ to ensure they are more fun to drive. Racer Benny Leuchter was pivotal in the Golf GTI Clubsport S and Polo GTI’s development. “I’ve helped to make the cars more agile, more adjustable at the rear,” he said. 

Jeep Wrangler customers: 

Some 98% of Jeep Wrangler customers modify their car with at least one optional part, according to Mopar boss Pietro Gorlier. The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ performance parts division has developed more than 200 components and accessories for the new Wrangler. According to Gorlier, the best-selling parts for it are side steps and a noise-reducing headliner. “People like the options that make the car more practical, or that offer more off-road protection,” said Gorlier.

'SUV' has turned high-end: 

The letters ‘SUV’ are the hottest property in the car market, according to Kia UK boss Paul Philpott – so much so that the meaning has almost completely changed. “Ten years ago, an SUV was a 4x4 diesel Shogun. Today, the term means a sportier, raised model,” he said. 

M Performance BMW Z4

Although reports suggest an M variant of the upcoming BMW Z4 has been ruled out, the division’s vice president, Dirk Hacker, says the door hasn’t been fully closed, even if an M Performance version is more likely. “We have been very pleasantly surprised by the feedback for the concept,” he said. “The appetite for an emotional driving experience is very strong. There is no announcement on a Z4 M yet but fast versions of the car look interesting.” 

Read more 

Volkswagen Polo GTI review 

Jeep Wrangler review 

BMW Z4 review 

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Polo GTI
New Polo GTI is powered by a 189bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor

A new engine and gearbox make for a much improved small GTI - but is it a match for some stellar rivals?

Join the debate


9 January 2018

SUV has always meant Sports Utility Vehicle! To describe a diesel shogun as a sporty car is taking the proverbial! Now, looking around at the current crop of light SUVs, we see cars like the t-Roc or its SEAT cousin, the Renault Capture, etc.: what excatly is 'sporty' about a Clio on stilts or an elevated Polo? Do they go faster? Corner more flatly? Or simply carry more sports kit (surfboards? very popular in deepest Sheffield!) than the equivalent hatches?

They look attractive if that is what floats your boat but then what? 2-wheel drive is hardly earth-shattering when coupled to a 1-litre 3-pot engine, is it?

They are 'funky' and the TV ads make the most of that trait: nothing wrong with that but I believe -Grumpy Old Git that I am- that the fad will pass like many other such fads...

For one, I won't buy one for the simple reason that short people (me and the missus) need special care and skill to alight from those kerb-fighting driving machines: anyone with a spare folding kitchen step thingy from Lakeland? Please?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune
  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic