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Motoring News

TONALE TAKES ALFA INTO THE FUTURE

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TONALE TAKES ALFA INTO THE FUTURE

By CHRIS RILEY

The front of the Tonale shouts out that this is a sporting Alfa.

The headlights might say Brera but there’s nothing old school about the rest of Alfa’s new Tonale which arrives in February.

Alfa’s first hybrid, the compact five-seat SUV will be priced from $49,900.

Featuring a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine coupled with 7-speed dual clutch transmission and 48-volt battery, the mild hybrid produces 118kW of power at 5750 rpm and 240Nm of torque at 1500 rpm. A variable geometry turbocharger helps to deliver diesel-like fuel-economy of 5.6L/100km.

Tonale sits on the same platform and uses the same drivetrain as the Jeep Renegade, with a front-mounted petrol engine and a rear-mounted electric motor.

The electric motor provides a 15kW/55Nm boost when required, but the car can also operate in full electric mode for short distances. Alfa Romeo has opted for this technical solution to offer an authentic electrified experience.

The transmission enables startup and travel in electric mode at low speeds and when parking and cruising.

Alfa says Tonale marks the brand’s metamorphosis to a new era of connectivity and electrification, while remaining true to its DNA of Italian sportiness.

The ‘3+3’ triple headlights, which echo they style of the 2010 Brera coupe, were developed in conjunction with Marelli.

A new full-LED adaptive matrix simultaneously provides daylight, dynamic turn signals and a ‘welcome and goodbye’ feature (activated when the driver turns the car on or off).

New lighting technology includes:

Adaptive Driving Beam which constantly adjusts the dipped headlights according to speed and specific driving conditions

Glare-Free High Beam Segmented Technology which automatically detects traffic in front and traveling in the opposite direction to avoid glare from other cars

A third module which is automatically activated when turning corners to ensure the best lateral lighting

The interior is inspired by Alfa’s racing history and promotes passion and driveability, courtesy of its dynamic and powerful forms.

Alfa claims the Tonale Hybrid redefines the segment with class-leading steering feel and engagement with its 13.6 steering ratio.

Unique Brake-by-Wire technology, guarantees a strong pedal feel, immediate response and added safety benefits.

Frequency Selective Dampers (FSD), developed by Koni, improve handling while retaining a comfortable ride.

Level 2 Autonomous Driving uses the front radar and camera as well as the Hands-Off Detection (HOD) sensor on the steering wheel.

Tonale also introduces Connectivity Services, through the My Alfa Connect mobile app, permitting users to remotely access their vehicle using their mobile.

Tonale Hybrid will be available in two trims – Ti and Veloce – priced from $49,900 and $56,400 respectively.

Joining the line-up will be the Tonale Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV), launching late 2023.

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2024 Lotus Emeya Debuts with 675kW

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2024 Lotus Emeya

2024 Lotus Emeya Debuts with 675kW

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Lotus has introduced the all-new 2024 Lotus Emeya, a four-door electric ‘coupe’ poised to challenge high-end Porsche Taycan EVs and stake a claim in the burgeoning hyper-GT segment. Boasting an impressive powertrain and striking design, the Emeya is set to redefine electric luxury performance.

The flagship 2024 Lotus Emeya features a dual-motor powertrain delivering an astonishing 675kW and 985Nm of torque. This setup enables the Emeya to accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 2.8 seconds, rivaling the performance of the Porsche Taycan Turbo S. It achieves a top speed of 256km/h, facilitated by a sophisticated two-speed transmission.

Powered by a 102kWh lithium-ion battery, the Emeya supports ultra-fast DC charging up to 350kW, allowing the battery to recharge from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes. While Lotus has not yet disclosed the exact range, the fast-charging capability ensures minimal downtime.

The Emeya’s exterior combines bold lines and sharp angles, drawing inspiration from designs by Lamborghini and Fisker. It features a wedge-shaped silhouette, slimline exterior lighting, and a striking yellow and black colour scheme. Aerodynamic efficiency is enhanced by an active front grille, air-dam combination, and an active rear spoiler capable of generating over 215kg of downforce, supported by an active diffuser.

Inside, the Emeya continues its aggressive styling with deeply sculpted bucket seats, chunky door trims, a multi-layered dashboard, and a thick steering wheel. The minimalist digital instrument cluster is complemented by a massive 55-inch augmented reality head-up display (AR HUD) that projects crucial driving information onto the windshield.

During spirited driving, the AR HUD can be switched off in favor of a slim display on the dash, showing essential information only. The interior also features adaptive air suspension as standard and a ‘race-grade’ braking system, ensuring the vehicle can stop almost as quickly as it accelerates.

Lotus has incorporated sustainably sourced and recycled materials throughout the Emeya. The cabin includes repurposed fibres from the fashion industry, PVD aluminium, Alcantara, Nappa leather, and Ultrafabrics PU, reflecting a commitment to eco-friendly luxury.

Ben Payne, Vice President of Design at Lotus Group, commented on the Emeya’s debut: “This is a Lotus like you have never seen before. We’ve built on everything Lotus has achieved so far to create a luxury performance car for the drivers, designed to inspire confidence, exhilarate with raw emotion and pure joy – connecting them to the road.”

While customer deliveries have already begun in China, more details about the Emeya lineup, market availability, and pricing will be revealed in the next quarter. The launch in right-hand drive markets, including Australia, is expected in the second half of this year.

The 2024 Lotus Emeya marks a significant leap forward for Lotus, combining blistering performance, cutting-edge technology, and sustainable luxury. As it prepares to enter the market, the Emeya is set to challenge established players like the Porsche Taycan, offering a compelling new option for enthusiasts of high-performance electric vehicles.

 

For more motoring news, click here.

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Finally, the Toyota 86 We’ve Always Wanted

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2025 Toyota GR86

Finally, the Toyota 86 We’ve Always Wanted

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Toyota could be preparing a radical new version of its GR86 sports car, according to a report from the popular Japanese magazine Best Car, which is known for its well-placed sources in the Japanese auto industry. The new GR86 is expected to debut next year with significant updates that will bring it into direct competition with the Mazda MX-5.

Key Highlights:

  • Potent Powertrain: The new GR86 will reportedly feature the 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine from the Yaris GR, paired with Toyota’s hybrid technology. This hybrid setup is claimed to produce more than 220kW.
  • Design Overhaul: The GR86 is expected to grow in size to accommodate the new engine and electric motor. Best Car’s digital render showcases a drastically redesigned front end with a three-tier lighting structure and a prominent bar running the length of the bonnet. The rear end features LED lighting running the length of the back, a prominent rear spoiler, and dual exhausts.
  • Upcoming Sports Car Revolution: Rumours suggest a new sports car revolution in Japan, with Toyota potentially preparing a new Celica and a micro S-FR. The new Toyota Celica is expected to debut at next year’s Tokyo Auto Salon in January. The mini S-FR sports car, believed to be developed in partnership with Daihatsu and Suzuki, will spawn new versions of the Daihatsu Copen and Suzuki Cappuccino.

Toyota GR President Tomoya Takahashi emphasised the importance of collaboration between companies for the future of sports cars. “The sports car market is shrinking. We cannot maintain sports cars as one brand, Toyota,” said Takahashi. “Collaboration between brands will increase in the future. We don’t know with whom we’re going to collaborate.”

The 2025 Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ are set to redefine the sports car segment with their potent hybrid powertrains and innovative designs. As the market gears up for a new wave of high-performance vehicles, Toyota’s strategic collaborations and cutting-edge technology ensure that enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to.

 

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2024 Lotus Emeya Sets EV Recharge Record

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2024 Lotus Emeya

2024 Lotus Emeya Sets EV Recharge Record

 

By Jeff Gibbs

The all-new 2024 Lotus Emeya, an upcoming electric super-sedan, has set a new benchmark in DC fast-charging technology. With its advanced 402kW peak charging speed, the Emeya can recharge its 102kWh battery from 10% to 80% in just 14 minutes.

Key Highlights:

  • Record-Setting Recharge Speed: The Emeya achieves a 10-80% top-up in just 14 minutes using a 400kW DC charger, maintaining an average charge speed of 331kW.
  • Rapid Range Addition: This translates to approximately 310km of added range in just 10 minutes.
  • Advanced Battery Technology: The Emeya’s cell-to-back battery structure incorporates a cutting-edge cooling system that significantly enhances thermal performance, surpassing many competitors.

Performance and Competition

The Lotus Emeya was tested against several high-profile electric vehicles, including the Mercedes-Benz EQS, BMW i7, Tesla Model Y, Genesis G80, XPeng G9, Hyundai IONIQ 6, Nio ET5, and BYD Atto 3. This testing highlights the Emeya’s superior charging capabilities, narrowing the gap between the time required to recharge an electric vehicle and refuel a conventional combustion-engine vehicle. However, it’s worth noting that recharging the Emeya for a 310km range still takes five times longer than refueling a combustion engine car like the Porsche Panamera, which takes about two minutes.

Among its competitors, the XPeng G9 was the closest, achieving a peak charge rate of 320kW but averaging around 233kW as it approached 80% capacity.

2024 Lotus Emeya Interior

2024 Lotus Emeya Interior

Power and Speed

Designed to compete with the fastest electric vehicles on the market, particularly the Porsche Taycan, the flagship Lotus Emeya boasts impressive performance specs:

  • Acceleration: 0-100km/h in a claimed 2.8 seconds, matching the Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
  • Top Speed: 256km/h.
  • Powertrain: Dual-motor setup delivering 675kW and 985Nm.
  • Transmission: Two-speed system for optimised performance.

Official Statements

Lotus Group CEO Qingfeng Feng emphasised the breakthrough in charging technology, stating, “With our industry-leading charging technology available today, Emeya pushes the boundaries for how an EV performs, providing drivers with the confidence to travel anywhere. We’re bringing an unrivalled driving experience in the ultimate grand tourer package, so drivers want to go electric.”

Launch and Availability

Customer deliveries have already begun in China, with the Lotus Emeya set to launch in right-hand drive markets, including Australia, in the second half of this year.

The 2024 Lotus Emeya not only sets a new standard for fast-charging electric vehicles but also promises exceptional performance and driving experience, making it a strong contender in the luxury EV market.

 

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