I’m always amazed by some of the so-called experts who get called upon to give their views on automotive stories, not least this past week on one of the most important Government announcements in recent years. So when Boris Johnson revealed his plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 – or at least those without ‘significant’ hybridisation – we turned to someone who could give us an intelligent view on the subject. SEE MORE Exclusive: Andy Palmer on the 2030 petrol and diesel ban Dr Andy Palmer helped to introduce the world to mainstream electric vehicles when he was at Nissan and played a significant part in the launch of the Leaf. Then, at Aston Martin he planned a range of luxury Lagondas powered by batteries. Now he’s working on an electric revolution in the bus world, sitting on the board of an up-and-coming battery firm and writing for Auto Express. What he has to say on the announcement – and particularly how the car industry will react – makes fascinating reading. Click here to take a look. Our view is that 2030 is an entirely achievable date to phase out the sale of cars with internal combustion engines. We’re pleased that the Government has chosen to allow the stepping stone of plug-in hybrids a bit of leeway, too. But we need some clarity (how many times have we said that about Government plans?) on what that ‘substantial distance’ is when it comes to how far the allowed hybrids can drive on electric power alone. However, do we have enough power and is the national charging infrastructure big enough to cope? If we all went electric today, then the answer would be no. But many people seem to be missing one crucial fact: 2030 is nine years away. And with the right Government support in the right place, plus the clever thinking the car business is famous for, an awful lot can be done in that time. We’ve come a long way in the past nine years. Who knows how our lives will be transformed – and ready for electric cars – in the next nine? Switching to an electric car? These are the best on sale now...
When it comes to conservative designs, Audi is right at the top. Each time it introduces a new generation of an existing model its design is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but the company has moments when it isn’t completely risk-averse. When it unveiled its TT concept in 1995 it looked like nothing else, from Audi or any of its rivals. The company was inundated with requests for it to go into production and, when the TT arrived, it looked much the same as the concept car. When an all-new TT arrived in 2006 some bemoaned the styling updates, but the Mk2 was better in almost every way, while the Mk3 of 2014 built on the foundations laid by the earlier models, and was the best iteration yet. Models covered Audi TT Mk3 (2014-date) - the Mk3 TT is one of the best all-rounders – stunning to look at, good to drive and beautifully built.Audi TT Mk2 (2006-2014) - with prices tumbling, the cool Mk2 coupe and Roadster look tempting. Audi TT Mk3 History The third-generation TT coupé reached UK roads in December 2014, priced from £29,770 for the 227bhp 2.0 TFSI petrol edition. This came with either front or quattro four-wheel drive, or there was a 181bhp 2.0 TDI diesel that initially came only in front-wheel drive form – although a quattro drivetrain was offered with this powerplant from spring 2017. The TT roadster that arrived in March 2015 featured the same options as the coupé; both bodystyles got a 395bhp TT RS option from September 2016. This had a 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine. Also launched in March 2015 were the 306bhp TTS coupé and roadster; six months later a new entry-level front-wheel-drive 178bhp 1.8 TFSI edition was added. A facelift in October 2018 brought minor styling updates along with extra standard equipment. Which one should I buy? Any TT is fun to drive and easy to live with, whether it’s got a petrol or diesel engine, manual or automatic transmission, or is in the coupé or roadster format. They’re all loaded with equipment, too, with the entry-level Sport featuring 18-inch alloy wheels, selectable driving modes, xenon headlights, leather and Alcantara trim, air-conditioning, a multi-function steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, an eight-speaker hi-fi with a DAB radio and Bluetooth, plus a retractable rear spoiler. image image image image image image image image image image S line cars come with 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, electric lumbar adjustment for the front seats, and the option of sports suspension lowered by 10mm, while the TTS features adaptive dampers, Nappa leather trim, heated front seats and LED interior lighting. The TT RS gets lashings of leather throughout the cabin and climate control, plus much sportier styling inside and out. Alternatives to the Audi TT Coupes may be going out of fashion, but the TT still has plenty of rivals. One of the most alluring is the Ford Mustang; this is plentiful, top value and comes with a V8 option or a more frugal turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine. The Porsche Boxster and Cayman, along with the Alpine A110, are class leaders when it comes to dynamics, but they’re all more costly. The previous-generation BMW Z4 is unique in the segment with its folding hard-top, while the Toyota GT86 is fun to drive, affordable and reliable but it’s more basic, and is a coupé only. The Nissan 370Z is getting on and it lacks refinement, but you get plenty of grunt for your money. The VW Scirocco is practical, affordable and comes with efficient engines, while the Peugeot RCZ looks great and offers excellent value. What to look for Codenames The first Audi TT was codenamed the 8N by its manufacturer. The Mk2 was the 8J, whereas the Mk3 was the 8S. Windows The side windows can freeze shut in sub-zero conditions. Dealers can fix things by fitting new seals to them, which prevents this. Sat-nav A lot of TTs come without sat-nav. It can be retro-fitted by dealers, but this is a pricey job, usually costing around £1,500. Tyres The factory-fit Hankook tyres aren’t generally all that highly regarded; Michelin Pilot Sports 4s are the favoured swap for a better drive. Interior One of the many TT high spots, its cabin is as well made and as easy to use as you’d expect of an Audi. The digital dash is a model of clarity, although it might be a bit much for those who aren’t fond of screens in their cars. The supportive front seats are impressive, although the coupé’s rear seats are generally considered extra storage due to very limited head and legroom; the roadster is strictly a two-seater only, meanwhile. With a 305-litre boot (712 litres with the seats folded down) the coupé is practical for a car of this class; the roadster’s boot offers 280 litres but its opening is narrow, impacting its usability. image image image image image image image image image image Prices Check out the latest used prices for the Audi TT on our sister site Buyacar. Running costs Owners of third-generation Audi TTs can choose fixed or variable service intervals. The former is set at 12 months or 9,000 miles – whichever comes first – whereas the latter allows up to two years and 18,600 miles between services, but it can be less than this. Services alternate between minor and major, priced at £269 and £369 respectively for diesel-engined cars. The equivalent prices are £229 and £309 for TTs with a 1.8 or 2.0-litre petrol engine, but on a TT RS the figures are £220 and £414 instead. All TT engines are chain-driven, so there are no cambelts to replace; there’s no set interval for replacing the coolant, but the brake fluid should be renewed every two years, at a cost of £70. Recalls The third-generation Audi TT has been recalled only once so far, and 11,950 examples were affected by this campaign, which was for cars built up to May 2019.The problem was that in a crash the fuel tank could be ruptured, leading to fuel leaks and then a fire, or even an explosion in the worst-case scenario. The solution Audi came up with was to get dealers to fit a protector shield on the underside of the car’s body. In addition to this, there was also the diesel emissions campaign, which affected some TTs with the 2.0 TDI engine. To find out if a car is affected by this issue, you can put the chassis number into www.audi.co.uk/owners-area/emissions/check-your-car. Overall, though, the TT has a very impressive record in this area, which definitely bolsters its appeal compared with some rivals. Driver Power owner satisfaction Whereas the Audi TT Mk2 has appeared in our Driver Power surveys, the third-generation car has yet to do so in either the new or used polls. Audi did feature in this year’s brands survey, however, finishing in 21st place out of 30 companies. Owners like the cabin quality, performance, infotainment and ergonomics of their Audis, but scores for reliability could be better, while harsh ride quality seems a hallmark of the firm. Verdict The Audi TT isn’t the best driver’s car and the rear seats may be too tight for regular use, but it’s still one of the best all-rounders if you’re looking for something stylish, relatively usable and fun to drive. It comes with some excellent engines, offers decent boot space (at least in coupé form) and it’s as well built as you’d expect any model from Audi to be. The current TT is likely to be the final edition of this classic, with Audi set to focus more on SUVs in the future. That means this third take on the formula is likely to remain in strong demand, so maybe now is the time to snap up the best one you can find.
Pictures of a used Audi TT Mk3
Verdict The reborn Volvo P1800 Cyan manages to right one of automotive history's great wrongs by giving the stunning Swede the performance its looks have always demanded. Now both on road and track it has the pace to match, not only the contemporary Jaguar E-types, but more exotic cars like the Ferrari 250 GTO. Better still it's an absolute riot to drive but it's hard to ignore that at £375,000 the ultra-cool Scando retromod is hideously expensive. However, for those lucky buyers who nab one, every single drive will feel like an occasion to savour. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the iconic P1800, the famous Volvo coupe that was the synonymous support act for the suave, sophisticated Roger Moore in the Sixties TV Series The Saint. Now, to help chime in its sixth decade, Volvo's former motorsport partner, Cyan Racing, has given it a thorough makeover. To the untrained eye, aside from its Cyan Blue and yellow war paint, modern wheels and lower ride height, the celebratory Swedish coupe externally looks identical to the original Saint car – but nothing could be further from the truth. SEE MORE Best supercars 2020 Just two parts carry over from the classic P1800, the bonnet opening mechanism and the handbrake. Everything else is all new, from its full carbon-fibre body, race car suspension to its engine and transmission, nothing is shared with the original. That, perhaps, explains why when deliveries begin in 2021 the Volvo P1800 Cyan will cost a fortune. Commission the three-time WTCC world championship-winning team to build one and prepare to part with an eye-watering £375,000 – and that's before you've stumped up the cash for a donor Volvo P1800. Luckily, the Gothenburg-based outfit says any old P1800 will do, challenging its customers to find the cheapest, rustiest car out there. It doesn't matter how rotten, at its state-of-the-art HQ it can fabricate and create an entire whole car all from scratch, if it wanted, but to register it would require crash testing and passing strict emissions – something its race car-derived engine, even with catalysers, is unlikely to do. That's right, perhaps the most astonishing ingredient of the reborn Volvo coupe is lurking beneath its carbon-fibre bonnet – a turbocharged four-cylinder engine lifted from a real WTCC championship-winning Volvo S60 T1 touring car. image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image More amazingly, in its new home the 2.0-litre turbo produces even more power than the race car, churning out an incredible 413bhp and a muscular 450Nm of torque – an enormous increase on the classic's paltry 105hp and 140Nm. Better still, to the purists' delight, the rear-drive Volvo's new engine is combined with a race-bred, five-speed manual transmission and a proper mechanical limited-slip diff. To cope with the huge bump in power and torque, beneath the P1800 Cyan the changes are equally as dramatic. The chassis has been strengthened using high tensile steel and carbon-fibre boosting rigidity while the full carbon-fibre body itself is bonded to the chassis using modern techniques employed on the most recent McLaren road cars. Finally, all of the old car's primitive suspension and brakes have been junked for items lifted straight from motorsport. If that's not a thorough enough job, engineers even shifted the pair of front wheels further ahead in the chassis for a near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution. Incredibly, thanks to its motorsport expertise, engineers have managed to keep the weight of the Volvo coupe down to just 990kg – that's lighter than many tiny city cars. Officially, there's no performance claims, but Cyan expects a 0-62mph time of comfortably less than five seconds and a top speed of over 170mph, making it faster than rivals, like the Ferrari 250 GTO, that were once out of the Volvo P1800's league. Once production has begun, Cyan Racing says it will build just 10 P1800 Cyans a year, with each car taking around 12-18 months to build during the downtime when the Swedish team isn't preparing touring cars for Lynk & Co. image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image Ask anyone who's driven a real race car and they'll tell you they're not easy to drive on track and near impossible on road, so it's a pleasant surprise that Cyan says instead of ultimate track times the P1800 Cyan has been created for pure fun. Sitting on 18-inch alloy wheels that shroud huge brakes, the team resisted aggressive tyres for a regular Pirelli P-Zero that offer plenty of grip both on track and on sodden roads. Once you're settled in the bucket seats, complete with racy four-point harnesses, it's easy to find the perfect driving position and marvel at how light and airy the cabin is. Fire up the thoroughbred touring car engine and it instantly settles to a smooth idle. At odds with its track-focus, the light clutch and smooth gear change make for an easy drive at low speed, fulfilling the race team's brief of making the P1800 Cyan a car you could use every day. If you pack a set of earplugs that is; flatten the throttle and the turbo four-cylinder erupts into a soundtrack diehard WRC fans will relate to. Despite being turbocharged, engineers wanted the 2.0-litre to provide the excitement of a larger naturally-aspirated engine, hence why it thrives on revs, spinning all the way up to 8,000rpm.Up for the challenge is the five-speed manual that's slick, quick and happily keeps the rev-hungry motor on the boil. We switch from road to track to really exploit the performance on offer and the P1800 Cyan is no less impressive. In damp conditions that would be terrifying in a modern supercar, the little Volvo is precise, involving, and most of all fun. If you're brave, it happily indulges in large slides. image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image With large standing puddles, the only thing we're missing is ABS, with the occasional brake lock-up highlighting our lack of skill, other than that we wouldn't change a thing. In fact, overall, it's important to note that the P1800 Cyan might not be quite as quick as similarly-priced modern rivals, like the track-bred McLaren 765LT, but on road and track the Volvo coupe is a hell of a lot more involving at sensible speeds, while on road you can have a ball without ever risking a losing your license. It even has just enough of a supple ride to make you want to use it all the time. Better still, it's modern mechanicals and unburstable race engine seems to lap up the on-track abuse. While in a Ferrari V12 you'll be fearing a £60,000 engine rebuild in the Volvo you'll buzz the 8,000rpm rev limiter for the sheer sake of it. It's only its towering price tag that brings us back to our senses, with the thought of a nasty clash with the scenery in the drop-dead gorgeous P1800 Cyan unbearable and potentially financially ruinous for yours truly. Speaking of accidents, despite the lack of airbags, the P1800 Cyan should offer its wealthy owners plenty of protection should the worst happen, as every version has been built to stringent FIA regulations for classic car racing. It explains why beneath the skin there's a strong passenger safety cell and every car will come with a robust titanium roll-cage and the boot now houses a modern safety cell fuel system. Thanks to FIA certification, it means if you buy a P1800 Cyan you can technically race it in classic car series around the world where, on track, for the first time in 60 years it will monster competition that costs eight times that of the Volvo. Better still, in a world of ugly speed-obsessed supercars, the little Volvo P1800 Cyan is breathtakingly beautiful and finally a joy to drive at any speed. Model:Volvo P1800 Cyan Price: £375,000 + donor car Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive Power/torque: 413bhp/450Nm 0-62mph: 5.0 seconds (est) Top speed: 170+mph (est) Economy/CO2: N/A On sale: Now
Pictures of the new Volvo P1800 Cyan