Sir, After wearing out the standard equipment C.41 tyres on a Mini, I was advised…
The economy may be heading for a depression, there may be a positive downturn in trade and there may even be the threat of petrol rationing should the Gulf erupt in flames, but that did not stop the world’s manufacturers from putting on a tremendous show in Birmingham in September.
While many of the models displayed are already on the road, it was a chance to examine models that had not until then been available for viewing by the British public. For those unable or unwilling to get to the Show, we herewith bring you up to date with the majority of new cars we can soon expect to see. Many of the manufacturers make great play on the use of catalytic convertors in their models, but it is hardly a big deal since it is now a legal requirement. Take it for granted, therefore, that all the models listed below will be fitted with catalytic convertors of some sort unless powered by a diesel engine.
In the 164 Green Cloverleaf (£26,000), Alfa Romeo have a new top-of-the-range model which now expands this range to four models, the 164 and 164 Lusso having recently been joined by the 2-litre Twin Spark.
Another new model available from October is another top-of-the-range model, the 3-litre V6 75 Cloverleaf costing £17,315. Revised suspension for better grip and an extra 4 bhp, to bring it up to 192 bhp, differentiate it from the rest of the range.
As mentioned in the October issue, Alpina have launched at £85,000 the 350 bhp B12 Coupé, their version of the BMW 850i. The 360 bhp B10 Bi-Turbo has also become available, but don’t expect to see too many on the road as these £57,250 cars are only available in left-hand drive.
Cashing in on as much publicity as possible, Aston Martin launched the new Virage Volante with a fanfare at the Motor Show. It was all hype really as the £150,000 convertible version of the Volante will not be available for at least another year.
While Audi, the marque which has done most to claim the ‘green’ crown, used the Show to announce further developments in anti-pollution and safety measures in their models, they also reminded the enthusiast that they are still capable of producing quick and exciting motor cars which we can soon expect to see on the roads.
In the Coupé S2, we have a throwback to the original magnificent Quattros (in those days with capital Qs). It is a limited edition car using a development of the familiar turbocharged 2.3-litre 220 bhp 24-valve engine and is Audi’s fastest production car to date being able to reach 154 mph. Likely to cost around £30,000, the car goes on sale at the end of the year.
Of more importance to Audi, because of its wider sales appeal, is the new top-of-the-range 80 Sport 16V. Priced at £16,696 this 130 mph saloon, powered by a 1984cc 137 bhp 16-valve engine, falls into the tax-efficient sub 2-litre sector, although just how much longer that is relevant remains to be seen. For another £2499 the same car comes equipped with the quattro four-wheel drive system.
The star of BMW’s stand was the stylish 850i, the car berated by JW in the July issue. Unperturbed by this, the £59,500 5-litre V12 coupe already has a three year waiting list in Britain.
Of less visual interest, but just as important, was the introduction of new 24-valve engines for the 520i and 525i, which are claimed to be more fuel efficient and requiring less service. At £18,915 and £22,490 respectively, the new models are five per cent more expensive than those they replace.
Although only experts will be able to distinguish it from older models, Caterham have unveiled the 1991 Caterham Super 7HPC, which represents a switch to GM’s 2-litre DOHC 16-valve from the 1.6 and 1.7 Ford based units used until now. A prime focus of media attention, but actually a bit of a gimmick, is the ‘Prisoner’s edition’ of the car from the TV programme of the same name.
A 24-valve V6 version of the XM, priced at £26,910, is the new flagship for Citroën’s range of cars, although the arrival of the high-spec AX11 TZX and the sporty looking BX TZD, at £7415 and £13,102 respectively, are probably just as pertinent. We can also expect to see 2- and 3-litre XMs available as automatics very soon.
Yet another top-of-the-range introduction is Daihatsu’s Fourtrak EL Special which costs £15,150, but it is yet another limited edition model and only 200 examples will be brought to Britain. More widely available is the 1.6 Sportrak EFi costing £11,340.
Ferrari’s latest Spyder, the 348ts, made its British debut at the Motor Show, but as the 348tb, the Berlinetta fixed-head coupé model which was revealed at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, is only now being delivered to patient customers, it seems quite likely that it will be a while before the 348ts reaches our shores.
The Tempra is Fiat’s bid for the fleet market and they will be making a big effort to have it considered alongside the Cavalier and Sierra. The range will soon be extended with the addition of the Station Wagon due to go on sale next year with a variety of engine options.
Two new Tipos, the 110 bhp 1.8ie and the 1.6 Selecta, went on sale at the end of October, while the revised Uno range features a number of new derivations including the 1400cc Uno Turbo ie at £9936, the 1372cc Uno 70 SXie at £8575 and a Uno 60S with a 1108cc version of the FIRE engine at £6295.
Of great importance to Ford is the arrival of the new Escort and Orion range featuring 18 new models, six bodystyles, six trim and equipment levels, three engine families and three transmission systems. The all-new body is more aerodynamically efficient than the one it replaces and is roomier and lighter. Prices start from £7580.
Ginetta have launched two new models which will be of interest to MOTOR SPORT readers. The G32 Convertible is derived from the coupé and is available with either the Fiesta-derived 1.6 engine or the Ginetta-modified 1.9 unit. It is mechanically identical to the 112 mph coupé but costs £900 more at £14,600 for the 1.6 and £16,210 for the 1.9.
The G33 Convertible is a new design and a true performance car. Utilising the latest 3.9 fuel injected Rover engine, which gives a useful 200 bhp, or the less powerful 145 bhp 3.5-litre unit, the car boasts a snappy performance and offers plenty of fun. It is available from £16,775.
As already revealed in September, the latest car from Honda is the sensational new NSX with its 24-valve 3-litre V6 VTEC engine, all-aluminium body and user-friendly driving aspect. The stylish 167 mph two-seater will cost £60,000.
Although rather in the shadow of this new flagship, Honda has some other interesting new models. Its advanced DOHC VTEC engine now finds itself in the Civic CRX, to become the CRX 1.6i VTEC at £13,900, and also in the Civic, which becomes the Civic 1.6i VTEC at £12,700.
The Accord and Prelude have been updated and there is now a saloon version of the 5-door Concerto (£11,525-£13,175) as well as a saloon version of the Civic (£9995 manual, £10,565 automatic).
“X2” is the designation given to the latest models in Hyundai’s Pony range, the first completely new design since the launch of the front-drive Pony in 1985. Both the 1.3 and 1.5 engines have been greatly modified principally allowing a greater torque. Prices range from £6799 for the 1.3 X2 Pony LS 5-door to £9249 for the 1.5 X2 Pony GSi 4-door.
The replacement of the 2.9-litre engine by the £23,750 3.2 is the most significant revision to the XJ6 range for 1991, but there are many other detailed changes as well including the introduction of a sports handling pack option and new wheels and tyres.
The Jaguar V12 (£37,000) and Daimler Double Six Series Ill (£41,000) saloons also benefit from the addition of a fully electronic anti-lock braking system as standard equipment, as it is on all Jaguar’s saloons and sports cars.
A Special Edition XJ-S V12 coupé, badged “Le Mans V12” celebrates this year’s victory at the Sarthe circuit, but only 280 of the £38,700 car will be produced.
In line with the restyled XJ6 range, JaguarSport’s XJR 4.0 has obviously been revised. Its version of the 4-litre Jaguar engine develops 11 per cent more power at 248 bhp at 5150 rpm than the standard version. This gives it a top speed of 145 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds.
The Lada Samara Convertible made its UK debut at the Motor Show, but the decision still has to be made whether it will be available in Britain. Otherwise the six model, front-wheel drive Samara range has been slightly restyled with the addition of spoilers and revised front grilles.
At long last the Diablos destined for the British market should become available in November. Only 45 of the £155,000 cars are expected here in the next 12 months.
The Dedra and Thema Station Wagon are the new models available, although the latter will not be available in Britain until next spring.
The 5-door Discovery was one of the hits of the Motor Show, but it was not the only new product from Land Rover. New for 1991 is the 3.5-litre V8 petrol injection engine which replaces the carburettor version in the Discovery.
Based on the Land Rover 90/110 is the Defender, a derivation which is distinguished by the fact that it uses the 200 Tdi turbocharged intercooled direct injection diesel engine which has only been seen in the Discovery to date.
It was years before Land Rover offered the Range Rover in 4-door form, and then soon after they finally did, they dropped the 2-door. Now its back. Badged as the CSK, the initials of designer Spen King, the vehicle is powered by the 185 bhp 3.9-litre petrol injection engine and comes in manual or automatic form. Another manufacturer’s gimmick, it is a limited edition model and only 200 will be made with the manual costing £28,995 and the automatic £30,319.
With the Elan’s star still in the ascendancy, the rest of the range has tended to be overlooked. Work has been continuing on the Lotus Esprit, though, and the Esprit S now supersedes the Esprit Turbo. It utilises a 228 bhp version of the Lotus 2.2-litre engine and has a maximum speed of 155 mph and takes only 5.2 seconds to reach 60 mph from standstill.
The base Esprit itself has also been improved as well and the manufacturers claim a 25 per cent increase in power over the model it has replaced. The Esprit is available at £34,900 and the Esprit S for £4000 more. The top-of-the-range SE, introduced in May last year, remains unaltered.
A 2-litre version of the Rover-engined Marcos was announced at the Motor Show. The new 125 bhp Ford-engined model has been built primarily to meet overseas demand, but it is bound to find a certain clientele in Britain as well, the £19,950 price of the Spyder being a £6550 saving over the 3.9-litre SE30 while the 2-litre coupé is £19,250.
The new Shamal, a 325 bhp twin-turbo 3.2-litre V8 engined car, is due in Britain in the spring of 1991.
Despite the presence of the Gissya MPV concept car on the stand, Mazda’s plans for the future lie in a different direction. Within two years there will be a new range of executive cars which may even be badged differently, similar to the Toyota and Lexus. In the meantime, Mazda will be introducing an authorised turbocharged version of the MX-5 from BBR and a removable Hard Top for the less hardy.
A facelift for the G-wagen, a new 1.8-litre engined 190E and a long wheelbase limousine based on the 200-300 mid-range saloon are the new additions to the Mercedes range.
A little more exciting perhaps is the arrival of the 500E, a hand-built saloon from Stuttgart. Apart from phenomenal performance — 156 mph electronically governed not to be exceeded, 0-62 mph in 5.9 seconds — it also features “intelligent” control functions which “talk” to each other as the car is driven.
Only 12 of the 5-litre V8 cars will be made a day and annual production will be limited to 2400. 125 500Es are due to come to Britain in 1991, but the price has yet to be announced.
Whilst the Colt and Lancer models receive the new 12-valve 1500cc engine, it is the HSX 3000GT which will undoubtedly capture the headlines when it goes on sale in 1991/92. This 24-valve, twin turbocharged V6 machine is capable of 165 mph and can accelerate from to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Most of the other models feature minor styling changes for 1991.
The Primera, a British built Nissan, is aimed directly at the fleet market. Available in 1.6 or 2.0 form, it comes in various levels of trim and in hatchback, saloon and estate versions. Prices range from £9995 for the 1.6L 4- or 5-door up to £16,997 for the 2.0E ZX 4/5-door.
Whilst the 405 range sees a comprehensive specification improvement, the 405 GRDT is an entirely new addition, available as both a saloon and estate car. The main attraction of this turbocharged diesel model, priced at £12,710, is the economical fuel consumption it offers.
The same engine, without intercooler, is also offered in the 205 and in the 309 so that Peugeot can now justifiably claim to offer a high-performance, diesel turbo engine in each model in its range.
To round off the top of the range, Peugeot have introduced the 605, the prices of which vary from £16,600 for the manual 605 SLi to £26,520 for the high-performance 24-valve V6 engined 605 SVE24, the five models in between being the 605 SRi at £18,420, the 605 SVi at £19,150 for the manual and £19,950 for the automatic, the 605 SV3.0 at £22,500, the 605 SVE3.0 at £24,900 and the 2.1-litre diesel turbo, the 605 SRdt, the price of which has yet to be fixed.
In December Porsche will introduce another derivation on the 911 theme, this one being the 320 bhp, 3.3-litre 911 Turbo, replacing the fondly remembered, but demon, 911 Turbo. The new model sees an extensive increase in power endowing the car with a top speed of 168 mph. Priced at £72,993 it is not cheap, but is bound to have a clientele anxious to buy it.
Later next year a new lightweight 911, the 260 bhp 911 Carrera RS will be introduced. Closely based on the 911 Carrera 2 Cup cars (see MOTOR SPORT June 1990), the production is scheduled to start in the summer with a total projected production run of approximately 1800 units.
A new rear spoiler for the 944S2, new optional sport suspension for the 911 Carrera 2 and 4 and additional sound-proofing for the 928 series are the detail changes in the other models.
Renault’s new mid-size hope is the Clio, a hatchback due into Britain next March. It will be available in 3- or 5-door versions and with a choice of four petrol engines ranging from 1.2 to 1.8 litres and a 1.9-litre diesel. Alongside the Clio is the Renault 5 Campus, an entry level 3-door hatchback with a 1.1 or 1.4-litre engine.
Going a little further upmarket, Renault will be expanding its nine car 19 hatchback range with the introduction of the 137 bhp Renault 19 16V which is capable of 134 mph.
Another performance car is the Alpine GTA Le Mans, priced at £37,000, but since the number to be sold in Britain is strictly limited to 35, it is only of academic interest.
Of interest to many will be the arrival of the 3-door 200 range. The four model range is topped by the 216 GTi Twin Cam with its 125 mph capability while the other three models use the Rover K series engines. Prices range from £9335 to £13,530.
The 200 5-door line-up has also been expanded with the introduction of a new base level 214S priced at £9635 and the 800 series receives a minor facelift. Most surprising, and welcome for romantics, is the return of an old chum — the Mini-Cooper which has just become available at £6595.
Saab’s 2.3-litre engine, introduced last year in the 9000 and CD models, has now been turbocharged. Apart from receiving the new 200 bhp engine, the 9000 range has also undergone a slight facelift. A Light Pressure Turbo 2-litre engine has also been specifically developed for the new 900S model.
A new fuel injected 1.2-litre hatchback is a new addition to the Ibiza range.
Whilst Skoda used the Motor Show to unveil the Favorit Convertible, it was only a prototype. The real news from Birmingham was the arrival of the Favorit Estate which is destined for the British market in mid-1991.
Toyota’s range of cars has expanded rapidly in recent months, but it is the eight-seater “multi-purpose vehicle” (MPV) Previa which is sure to be a hit in a limited sphere. It carries a price tag of £18,099.
The fifth generation Celica is also upon us, the Celica GT (£17,301) powered by a new version of the 2-litre 16-valve twin-cam 158 bhp engine and the twin turbocharged Celica GT-Four (22,380).
There are several models which have been modified by this Northampton firm, the Minker 323 being one of the most exciting, but new for 1991 is the TT version of the Mercedes 300 and the Range Rover.
Turbo Technics have managed to boost the power of the 3.9-litre Range Rover engine by 25 per cent with the installation of a single Garrett T3 turbocharger, but more impressive is the TT Mercedes. The 3-litre engine, once it has passed through their hands, sees a power output of 280 bhp, an increase of 50 per cent. Watch out, though, for the 24-valve version which is presently under development.
Alongside the Speed Eight, which was shown at Motorfair last year, was the handsome Griffith, the entry level model in the V8 range of TVRs. A GRP body over a rigid tubular steel spaceframe chassis, the car is light and extremely rapid. It is an attractive alternative to its more angular stablemates, but at £21,950 it is not cheap.
A rather odd-looking four-wheel drive vehicle, the UMM is a product of Portugal. It is primarily designed as a utilitarian vehicle and is not one for the green welly brigade. There are four models in the range, including the imaginatively named Station Wagon, Soft Top, Pick-up and Hard Top, all powered by Peugeot’s 2.5-litre diesel engines. Prices range from £9000+ for the Pick-up to £13,834 for the multi-seat turbo diesel Station Wagon.
Although put in the shade by Ford at this year’s Motor Show, Vauxhall have their own new range of cars for 1991.
The small Novas have been facelifted externally and internally and the range has a new entry level in the new 1.0-litre Nova Trip, available as a 3-door hatchback or 4-door saloon. It replaces the Nova 2-door saloon.
The Carlton and Senator model range are blessed with the arrival of a new 2.6-litre ‘Dual Ram’ engine with low end torque its major characteristic.
The Astra range sees the addition of the 1.6-litre SX and the 1.8 fuel injected SXi while the 2.0i and 2.01 16V Calibra have been joined by a third model, the 2.0i 16V 4×4 for £19,245.
Major attraction for MOTOR SPORT readers is the arrival of the fearsome Lotus-Carlton. The model has a completely new 6-cylinder 3.6-litre twin turbocharged engine capable of developing 377 bhp at 5500 rpm and delivering a whopping 419 lbs ft at 4200 rpm. The top speed is academic, but at 180 mph, it is truly impressive.
The new Polo range was unveiled at the Motor Show comprising booted saloons, hatchbacks and coupés. The body shape is more aerodynamic and the interiors re-designed. A new £9500 75 bhp GT version, capable of a less than staggering 106 mph, is the top-of-the-range car while the £6000 1.05-litre 45 bhp Fox coupé is the entry level car.
The 900 series is Volvo’s new flagship range and comes in saloon or estate versions. A new 2.9-litre 24-valve engine powers the 960 whilst the 940 is powered by a choice of turbocharged or fuel injected 2.3-litre 16-valve engine. A 480 convertible is being considered for production in 1991. WBK
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