The Johnny English star talks up the Rolls-Royce brand and the specially equipped Phantom model which makes an appearance in the second installment of the Bond-spook film series. The car plays a crucial role in Johnny English Reborn and comes with an experimental 9.0 liter V16 – in the fictional world of the movie that is. The film Johnny English Reborn will debut on October 7 in the U.K. and in the United States on October 28.
Like the Peugeot 5 Concept, the 508 is guaranteed to polarise opinions. The styling definitely falls into the like it or loath it category with a Bangle-esque arse, 7th generation Honda Accord headlights, trapezoidal grille and reverse rake C-pillar. Somehow, though, it all works – especially in the flesh.
There’s a sense of style and occasion to the 508, and the GT spec’s 18 inch alloys really set the car off. The clustered daytime running lights, front fogs and the subtle use of chrome on the boot lid, grille and around the window line are also effective.
It compares favourably when placed alongside its competitors: the Ford Mondeo, Honda Accord Euro, Hyundai i45 / Sonata and Volkswagen Passat. The 508 sedan measures 4,792 mm (188.66 in.) in length with a 2,817 mm (110.90 in.) wheelbase – roughly 100 mm (3.93 in.) less than the current gen Holden Commodore sedan.
The front and rear overhangs are well proportioned at 985 mm (38.77 in.) and 990 mm (38.98 in.) respectively. It’s also 1,456 mm (57.32 in.) tall and 2,068 mm (81.42 in.) wide with the wing mirrors (1,853 mm / 72.95 in. without). It’s very individual and very French, which I think is just what the designers were going for.
Inside is where the 508 really shines. The seats are Nappa leather and the cabin abounds with piano black and carbon-lookalike trim pieces. What surprises most is just how functional everything is: from the intuitive quad-zone climate control to the meaty multi-function steering wheel.
The instrument cluster is neatly designed and easy to read, as is the switchable trip computer display. The colour HUD is less useful, being all but unreadable in direct sunlight and with no option to turn it off.
On the upside, the satellite navigation and radio controls are some of the best on the market and a pleasure to use. The front pews are also comfortable and there’s more than enough leg room, even for a tall bloke like me.
On The Road
Our Egyptian Blue 508 GT was fitted with Peugeot’s 2.2-liter HDi four-cylinder common rail turbo diesel engine producing an output of 204HP / 150 kW at 3,500 rpm and a peak torque of 450 Nm / 331.9 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm.
The turbocharcged diesel is a torquey little unit and well-paired to the 6-speed automatic transmission that powers the front-wheels, allowing for both comfortable freeway cruising and brisk overtaking manoeuvres.
Peugeot’s published figures suggest a 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62mph) time of 8.2 seconds; I think most drivers (myself included) would manage 9 without pushing the engine too hard. We were unable to test the claimed 230 km/h (145 mph) top speed, though at 100 km/h (62 mph) the HDi was suitably quiet and refined.
It’s easy to forget just how large a car it really is, except when parking it – at which point the front and rear parking sensors become a real godsend.
I wasn’t impressed with the GT’s unique double wishbone and drop link hub carrier front suspension, which let me feel and hear every bump and pothole on the road. I understand that there’s an expectation for all car’s today to have some sporting character but in this category I’d rather have a little less sport and a little more comfort.
The weighted steering is also good in a variety of conditions, thanks mostly to the speed sensitive power steering. I’ve yet to find a large car that’s as much a pleasure to park as the 508. The steering wheel mounted cruise control and speed limiter functions are also very intuitive and make driving the 508 a real treat.
As for fuel economy, I think the manufacturer’s combined cycle rating of 5.7 lt/100 (41.2 mpg US, 49.6 mpg UK ) is a little optimistic; according to the trip computer I averaged around 8.0lt/ 100 (29.4 mpg US / 35.3 mpg) through a combination of city and highway driving.
I found the brakes to be more than adequate for a car of the 508’s size.
My first thought on stepping into the 508 was, “It feels German.” This is no bad thing, and Peugeot’s build quality and dedication to design have certainly improved over the outgoing 407. On the upside, however, the 508 is a car that I think is uniquely French.
It’s a satisfying drive and quite live-able for a car of its size. The 2.2 L HDi is an unusual choice for a range-topper but I think that just gives it all the more character.
Peugeot has succeeded in bridging the gap between French flair and Germanic toughness, which I think is no mean feat. I enjoyed my time in the 508 and look forward to seeing what the French automaker can do in the coming years.
The new Interceptor GT will revealed at the end of 2012 with deliveries to customers beginning in 2014. The company said it has already began work on the car.
The close-to-production concept previews the new looks of the 2012 CR-V that will receive its world premiere in final form at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November and go on sale in the United States before the end of the year.
The JDM model will follow in December at the Tokyo Motor Show, while European buyers will have to wait until fall of 2012.
We’ve already brought you the official design fillings of the production model, so it’s safe to say that only a few things will change over the concept, namely the smaller alloy wheels and the aero kit, which includes the front and rear bumper trims, and side skirts.
“The 2012 CR-V Concept strongly hints at the more dynamic and refined look of the upcoming model,” commented John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda. “As the best-selling SUV in each of the past four years, the 2012 CR-V promises to build on its highly successful formula with even more style, innovative features and higher fuel economy.”
Honda added that the new CR-V will also feature a more fuel-efficient (four-cylinder) engine and reduced body weight, while it will also receive an all-new interior with “a more accommodating and spacious design”.
The Buggy Up! that pays homage to the original, Beetle-based model of the same name that was born in California in the 1960s.
The concept model features a lightweight construction with extensive body reinforcements and a roll bar behind the two seats to compensate for the loss of the roof and the doors.
The body has been redesigned while the car’s ride height was dropped by 20mm. At 3,584 mm long and 1,672 mm wide, the Buggy Up! is slightly longer and wider than the hatchback model it is based on.
The two-seater rides on 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped around 205/40 tires.
Being a proper beach vehicle, the revamped interior is completely waterproof with specially designed drains in the vehicle floor and the open side sills preventing flooding.
While Volkswagen did not make it clear if the Buggy Up! will make it into production, the German automaker said the concept signifies the beginning of an entire series of cars based on the Up!.
The sportiest member of the i series models combines the modified electric drive system from the i3 Concept, but this time fitted over its front axle instead of the rear, with a high-performance, 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine (in place of the Vision ED’s diesel unit) developing 220HP (164kW) and 300 Nm (221 lb.ft) at the rear.
The gasoline unit drives the rear wheels through a dual clutch transmission, while the electric motor uses a twin-speed transmission to motivate the front wheels.
Working in tandem, the two drive systems produce a combined output of 349-horses and 550Nm (405.6 lb.ft) of peak torque offering coupe model a 0-100km/h (62mph) acceleration time of just 4.6 seconds and an electronically governed top speed of 250km/h (155mph).
At the same time, BMW says the i8 returns an impressive combined fuel economy in the European cycle of 2.7 liters per 100km (approx. 87mpg US or 104mpg UK).
The i8’s electric motor is fed by a large lithium-ion battery, which can be fully charged from a domestic power supply in 1 hour and 45 minutes, offering a pure electric driving range of up to 35 km (approx. 20 miles).
BMW says the positioning of the electric motor and engine over their respective axles result in an optimum 50/50 weight distribution, while the extensive use of lightweight materials including aluminum on the chassis and CFRP (carbonfibre reinforced plastic) on the body, help keep the weight down to 1,480kg or 3,262 pounds.
The i8 2+2 seater and measures 4,632mm long, 1,280 mm tall and 1,955 wide. The concept model will make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
According to the website, the new sports saloon concept is named IBL and it measures 4,670mm long and has a wheelbase of 2,710mm. This means it is the same size as the current Seat Exeo sedan (4,670mm long with a wheelbase of 2,642mm), which is based on the previous generation Audi A4.
The concept most likely previews a new sedan for Seat, though at this point we do not know if it depicts a replacement for the Toledo, the Exeo or a different model altogether.
The production version of the MissionL will be available in Europe, Russia and China, with different specifications for each market. Moreover, a special version will be sold in India.
In 2013, the Yeti compact SUV will be launched in China, where it will also be produced. In addition, Skoda, in cooperation with Shanghai VW, will manufacture a new compact model for the local market, increasing the brand’s Chinese range to five models.