Weekly round-up: New petrol and diesels banned by 2040, a flaming Ferrari, and BMW 4 Series reviewed on film

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Author: | Updated: 28 Jul 2017 13:22

On the face of it, it appears to have been a bit of a slow news week, but actually the last seven days included one of the most momentous automotive announcements, possibly since the combustion engine was actually invented…

Yes, the government has confirmed it plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by the year 2040.

Top left clockwise: petrol and diesel ban by 2040, new electric mini, Jaguar XJR, new Suzuki Swift.

The ban (which doesn’t include hybrids as far as we know) follows similar plans announced by French president Emmanuel Macron earlier this month, which would see diesel and petrol cars phased out in France by 2040.

There’s no doubt many will lament (ourselves included) the passing a technology that has defined our mobility for over a century, and rightly so.

But we shouldn’t get too hung up with fossil fuels. EVs are here to stay, a point proven every week as more and more manufacturers confirm an EV is in the works.

BMW has confirmed an all-electric Mini will be produced in the UK.

This week is was Mini’s turn, that announced it will put together the first of its EV models at its Oxford-based plants.

Being owned by BMW means the electric drivetrains will be built across the channel, but it has confirmed the cars will still be put together in the UK, something that the government will be hoping continues after Brexit.

Talking of leaving the EU, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has spoken out this week, once again urging the government to clarify its Brexit strategy. The request comes following a drop in UK manufacturing levels compared to 2016.

UK car manufacturing by year

SMMT's figures show a drop in UK car production since the Brexit vote.

Also this week: Is pay-per-mile ‘road tax’ plan a winner?

The SMMT is concerned that a hard Brexit – which would see the UK leaving the single market and customs union in 2019 – could seriously harm UK output, and that a 10% decline in production could be on the cards.

A total of 136,901 units rolled off production lines in June, marking a third consecutive month of decline and means UK car manufacturing has dipped by –2.9% so far in 2017.

So with petrol and diesel engines given a finite sales life expectancy, this week we’ve been checking out what that will mean for fleets.

Case study: what's it like to run an electric fleet?

Obviously larger vehicles are still likely to be fossil-fuel powered after 2040 but, for smaller fleets at least, is it a sensible prospect to go electric right now? We caught up with Alexander Windows, a company in the north west that has done just that.

There’s no getting away from the government’s bombshell of an announcement, but for now petrol and diesel power will remain the power of choice, and an extremely powerful choice in Jaguar’s case…

It revealed an updated XJ this week, which can now be had with the cacophonic 567bhp V12. Believe it or not, the current XJ has remained largely unchanged since it was introduced back in 2009.

Updated 2018 Jaguar XJR gets a 567bhp V12.

The update addresses this too: a new infotainment system features, as well as a host of safety updates which should keep it competitive in the face of new competition from Germany.

Less suave but just as sporty is the new Suzuki Swift Sport, which has been revealed ahead of its official launch at Geneva. We’ve already been treated to the standard variant, but this range-topping variant features a beefier body kit, while a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine is likely to feature.

We’ve also got two reviews for you this week, first of which is an on-screen BMW affair. It’s fair to say we have been going a little bit crazy for the brand lately, which is why we couldn’t resist getting into the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe when it was offered to us.

 

So what did our resident video reviewer Howard Ritchie think? Is it as good as it looks? Is it a dad car? Does it compare at all to the excellent 7 Series we recently reviewed?

If you’re considering something a bit more SUV-like, how about the excellent new Volvo XC60? It’s arguably this car that kicked off the premium crossover craze when the first one came out back in 2008.

With this all-new model featuring autonomous technology, potent diesel engines and an opulent interior, it puts it straight back into contention for class leader.

We drove the latest Volvo – the XC60.

Also this week: Clocking on cars becoming an increasing cause for concern

Volvo’s autonomous driving system is one of the most advanced currently available, but it’s going to be a good few years before a car will be capable of completely driving itself.

As such, it’s necessary to keep your driving skills up to scratch, but it seems a little weird to us that after passing your basic driving test, no further examination is needed.

Is taking an advanced driving course worth it?

There are however, a range of advanced driving courses available to the general public, and to see if it’s worth taking one, we took part in one of IAM Roadsmart’s taster sessions. Here’s what we learnt

If you managed to not have an accident last Saturday, congratulations! 2pm on 22 July was statistically the most likely time to have a collision on the UK’s roads. We’ll leave you with an image of a guy who wasn’t so lucky this week.

Flame-grilled Ferrari Scuderia anyone?

In spite of the carnage and flaming fireball, he managed to escape with just minor cuts and bruises. His £250k Ferrari 430 Scuderia however, was not so blessed

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