Engines and drivetrains are the weak points in Volvo’s current model range. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind me saying so – okay, perhaps they…
May 2007 and the Audi R8 was a month away from its UK launch. I sneaked a peak of the first right-hand drive UK car and signed an order within the hour. Then the doubts started to set in.
Seat would like you to believe that it’s mid-sized Leon hatchback is as up-to-date as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf. Not a year goes by, it seems, before another press release comes out with the words ‘New’ and ‘Leon’ in close proximity, and yet it’s the same MPV-like Leon that’s graced our roads since 2005.
Special Editions. Sometimes they’re really special, whilst at other times it’s just a way of freshening up a familiar model which has been on sale for a few years. Few would question its effectiveness when selling a few extra super-minis or roadsters during the summer months, but there’s been a growing tendency during the past 24 months to follow the special edition route with performance cars.
You’d consider it somewhat odd to order a Vindaloo curry at your favourite Indian restaurant and then be asked if you wanted it hot or not, or buy a set of Kitchen Knives with the option of sharp blades, so I’m always slightly suspicious when a sports car maker announces a new ‘sport’ pack for what should already be a performance-oriented car.
Another day, another Porsche “special edition”, but haven’t we been here before? Earlier this year Porsche introduced the 911 Black Edition – a base 911 wearing a party frock, then the Boxster S Black Edition with a 10 bhp upgrade over the regular Boxster S and now the Porsche Cayman S Black Edition – which true to form is a slightly more powerful – up to 326 bhp – and much cooler than the regular Cayman S.
Subaru are now offering the characterful STI with an upgraded engine and a satellite navigation system as standard, with no increase in its on-the-road price of £32,995. So what’s the catch? Well, as with all good offers this one’s only available until June 31 2011.