BMW M4 – Is it the true M car you expect?

A few years ago BMW decided they wanted to remove the 3 series Coupe and instead rename it a 4 series. Roll on a year or two and the M4 is announced. Fast forward a few more years and you get to 2017 where there are now 4 variations of M4 available, the M4, M4 Competition Pack, M4 CS and M4 GTS.

Last week I was lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a MY17 BMW M4 fitted with the DCT gearbox.

Initial impressions after a quick 10 minutes behind the wheel and that is that the M4 is a fast, engaging, hugely desirable, good looking car that even offers some practicality for those who occasionally need to carry luggage or rear-seat passengers.

The biggest change from the e92 M3 is the power plant. BMW have moved away from a high-revving 4.0 V8 and instead opted for a straight six twin-turbocharged unit. For many purist, this new turbocharged engine just can’t live up to the e92’s naturally aspirated V8 for both drama and character. But if you look past it’s lack of a good soundtrack, the new M4 can deliver on the road pace that will keep supercar owners on their toes, all while offering luggage and passenger space.

What’s even better is, that like all BMW M cars, the M4 is really engaging to drive. The rear-wheel drive handling demands respect in any kind of adverse conditions, which I happened to find out, but the upside to that is that when you are on it, the car is very rewarding to drive.

For 2017 BMW has announced another series of small upgrades to the ‘regular’ M4 including standard fit LED headlamps and rear lights, upgrades to the infotainment system interface and some minor interior trim detail changes.

So after a good blast around South Wales these are my first thoughts on a MY17 F82  BMW M4.

Engine

As I mentioned above the new M4 features BMW’s twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six-cylinder engine that improved both performance and economy compared to the previous generation M3’s V8.

In its latest form the M4 pushes out 425bhp and 550Nm of torque as standard, or 444bhp if you opt for the Competition Package. But if you wanted a little more the GTS edition offers 493bhp and 600Nm of torque or alternatively the recently announced M4 CS offers 454bhp and 600Nm of torque.

Having only driven a standard M4, so far, the 425bhp is more than enough for every day driving on the road in my opinion and easily becomes a handful in wet conditions in any other mode than comfort.

Performance

Power delivery from the new engine is a different question entirely. BMW has fitted two relatively small turbos, each working on three cylinders, to ensure they spool up quickly and try to reduce as much turbo lag as possible.

Even though the turbos are small, they still have an effect on the way the car responds. No matter how minimal the lag is, there’s no question that this is a less responsive engine than a naturally aspirated one and therefore comes with less urgency to a throttle prod than previous generations that I have experienced.

However on the road, generally, it doesn’t matter. Yes, sometimes there is small delay between asking for a lot of the available performance and getting it. But I found that if you were paying attention and had full control of the gearbox (manual mode on the DCT) then you can much more easily work around any lag.

I think what impressed me the most with the engine was that it is very smooth, revs very high for a turbocharged engine and actually surges towards the red line rather than running out of puff at about 5500-6000rpm. Also at higher revs, the engine definitely responds more closely to that of it’s natural aspirated counterpart. So as I said, keep control of the gearbox and you really can workaround any lag.

Noise

So engine noise is something I’m still undecided on. Inside the cabin it is definitely more noisy than our M140i but I do feel a lot of that noise is amplified through the speakers in to the cabin.

I’d say the engine noise is loud, or atleast the exhaust system is with the valves open is loud, but I don’t think it sounds the best now I’ve come away and driven the M140i again. I do think the new B58 engine has a nicer tone to it than the S55 unit used in the current M3/4.

As I only had a short time in the car, naturally I left it in it’s noisiest mode which is called Sport+. So it made as much noise as possible, which adds to the experience of the car.

Handling

I actually thought the BMW M4 was pleasantly well balanced, making it predictable on the road and pretty easy to place in to a corner.

When you jump in to the car you have a choice of three modes for the electrically assisted power steering and a firmness on the adaptive dampers. The mode options are Comfort, Sport and Sport+. I personally didn’t have any problems with any of the modes on UK roads.

The steering is much weightier in its latter setting but feel remains similar in all modes, the only difference being that the signals reach you at a different amplitude.

Actually controlling the body movements of the M4 is easy and the cars feels compliant, even over some terrible road surfaces and bumps, which is somewhere the M140i falls down. The suspension set up on the car really helps the car turn in with a real willingness, considering it is quite a heavy car, tipping the scales at around 1600kg. Once you have turned in you can really manage the power with the throttle pedal and lean on the rear diff to get you out of the corner at speed.

Being completely honest the M4’s road manners were delightfully surprising, but don’t think I’m saying that the M4 is just another sensible, soulless 4 series.

Gearbox

The car I drove was fitted with the new 7 speed Dual Clutch gearbox. Noticeably quicker shifts than the ZF 8 Speed auto in the M140i, it was more responsive and I actually found when in auto it was better at working out what you were trying to do.

I’m not sure if I was buying if I would go manual or DCT. Maybe I need to get behind the wheel of a manual.

Interior

Throughout the interior fit and finish quality are predictably high, the ergonomics are still superb and the cabin is a very nice place to sit. With trimmings of carbon fibre everywhere and seat logo’s that light up, you don’t just feel like you’re in a standard M4.

The test car I drove had the HUD fitted to it, which not having had one before I would have said its not worth it. Now having used it, it is a great option and allows you to keep an eye on your speed and road speed limits without taking your eyes off the road.

Really though, the most important thing on the interior is two little buttons that sit on the left hand side of the steering wheel and are labelled M1 and M2 .This allows you set up the car however you want it, by assigning specific settings from the car’s menu of adaptive options. I would highly recommend this as it means you spend less time faffing trying to set it up and more time enjoying the car and driving it.

Overall

The new M4 feels like a generational step forward. Not only is the new M4 more powerful, lighter and cleaner than the old M3.

All of the key ingredients for a very enjoyable car to drive are still there: a front-mounted engine and rear wheel drive. Yes things have gone electric and turbocharged, but given that Porsche dropped a 4 pot in their new Boxster and Cayman, you have to thank BMW for sticking with a straight six designed engine and if you can look past the fact it’s turbocharged and pumps sound into the cabin I would recommend you do so, just because of how much more usable the available power and torque now is on the road.

The new BMW M4 is a real weapon on the road.

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BMW M140i – Collection and first impressions after 1200 miles

Last time I was here I discussed why I thought the BMW M140i was the best car for our needs. It offers something which no other car in it’s class can and as I’ve mentioned once or twice, that’s its ability to form an emotional connection.

So I left it last time with the start of the 3 month wait until collection. Anyone who has ordered a new car, knows just how hard this wait is. I spent my life scouring YouTube looking for videos to watch, which at the time were few and far between.

After exhausting every possible video on YouTube the collection date started to loom, we finally had out collection date confirmed a week before. As soon as we knew this we started to look at travel arrangements to get down to Berry Heathrow.

The day came and the 4:30am alarm went off. I normally wouldn’t see this time in the morning but this, I knew, was going to be worth it. After several trains and a nice walk, we arrived at Berry Heathrow.

The actual collection process of the car was pain free and getting to see the car in the delivery bay, with the sun shining through, added to the experience.

Paperwork signed, thanks said and hands shook. We were finally on our way in our brand new M140i.

The plan for the collection weekend was to drive back as scenically as possible, meaning driving through the Brecon Beacons, making our way up to North Wales, then on to Snowdonia and finally driving home through North Wales.

We managed to cover about 500 or so miles in this first weekend. Which gave more than enough time to get to know the car. As we continued to run the car and the miles built, it was slowly possible to start using more and more of the performance on offer (yes I followed the run in process!).

Having now covered 1200 miles and able to now explore all of the performance, I wanted to share my first impressions of the car:

Steering

I initially found the steering in comfort to be incredibly light and offering little to no feedback. Sport mode adds some weight to the steering and ‘tightens’ it up meaning you require less steering input than comfort. The weight is clearly ‘fake weight’, but  it is adequate and up to the job, it is direct and in sport is easier to precisely place the car into the corner.

Now I could go on and on about the steering not being hydraulic…but I won’t. We all know that EPAS (sadly) is here to stay so I guess I have to accept it and move on.

Power and torque 

It was clear from the off that the available power and torque available is savage. Even in comfort you can ride the torque and be quicker than the majority of cars on the road.

When you start to push on and use all of the power band, you soon realise the car is an absolute animal. Being honest it feels on par to my old remapped 335i and at the time I had that, it felt insanely quick.

Balance, handling and grip

The car feels well balanced but so far I haven’t had the opportunity to properly push it.

Driving up to around 6/10ths I really can’t complain, it turns in relatively well and the front axle appears to have immense grip, although this could be down to the MPSS tyres it is equipped with as standard.

When you do turn in you can feel the car start to rotate around the centre, allowing you to use the accelerator to control your exit.

Grip all round seems to be really good, when you get temperature in to the tyres. I have only experienced one moment in the wet where the back end stepped out, kind of unintentionally, even though I was driving in comfort and auto! The good thing is, that you can easily control it with a little corrective lock and the accelerator, so you never feel like the car is out of control.

Seats, Seating position and interior tech

Finally I thought it worth mentioning the interior as that where we spend all of our time.

I want to start by saying that I find the seats incredibly comfortable for what they are and I have been able to find an excellent position for driving. This is important as there are many long distance trips and european tours planned with this car.

Interior tech isn’t something I find myself using often. We specced ours relatively well in terms of tech, this was more for my partner as she isn’t interested in the drive as much as I am. So I find I rarely take advantage of the HK audio or all the pro nav features but from the times I have, I can’t complain for what it is.

One piece of tech I have actually used and can’t commend enough is the touch pad you get as part of the Professional Media Package. I find myself using this whenever I need the Nav – it’s intuitive and makes entering addresses extremely easy.

Overall

All in all, the M140i is a great all round car. It offers daily driver practically with ballistic performance, all for a very reasonable price.

 

 

 

BMW M140i – Why this car was the standout car

Having picked up our new daily runner, the BMW M140i, which features a 340PS straight six turbocharged engine and rear wheel drive. I wanted to talk about how my partner and I ended up with this car.

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Firstly I would like to preface this by saying the car was bought to be used a ‘daily driver’ and not for its dynamism and skill as a ‘sports car’.

When we were considering swapping cars we looked at two distinct types of cars the 4wd 4pot cars, like the VW Golf R, Mercedes A45 AMG etc. and the sports cars, like the Porsche Boxster, Boxster S, Cayman and Cayman S. We also test-drove the new Audi TTS which felt a more dynamic that the other 4wd 4 pots, so lets put this as an in-between car.

The reason I have split the cars into two groups is because all of the 4wd 4pots felt very similar to drive – they were all dynamically numb as each other. Ok that’s not entirely fair on the Mercedes A45 AMG as that was actually relatively involving to drive, the noises it makes aren’t comparable to any other car on our list, but this comes at a cost. A cost so high, that it meant we had to remove it as a contender.

Dynamically the ‘sports cars’ drove very well indeed, the new 718 chassis is a step forward from the 981, the steering was very well weighted and direct whilst supplying ample feedback, this meant we were both confident behind the wheel. The balance, as with previous Boxster’s and Caymans, was brilliant, as a mid-engine car, it handles like no other. Being honest as a package it is more evolutionary than revolutionary- my opinion but then, I’m no professional.

However, price aside, there was one large sticking point for the 718. In fact there was one large sticking point for all of these cars, their engines.

Part of the appeal of the old Boxster’s and Caymans, was their characterful flat 6 engine that was situated right behind your back. For the 718, Porsche decided they would remove any kind of character from the engine and replace it with a… in fact before I go on about the engine, all I will say to anyone in this position is drive the 718 and 981 and make a decision for yourself. But for me if I’m spending over £50k it needed to at least form some emotional connection, but the new flat 4 turbo left me feeling, well, nothing.

Similarly the 4pot 4wd cars, were amazingly fast and great all weather point-to-point cars, but again left me feeling nothing.

So, that left me still searching and after reading online around the release of the new BMW M140i with its new B58 power plant and having owned a N54 powered 335i and driven the N55 powered M135i. I knew I had to test drive it.

On the surface the car looks identical to the facelift 135i, but underneath is what matters. The first thing I noticed was the increase in torque in the mid-range compared to the N55 and the different tone to the exhaust note. Both give you the indication that there are more changes than meets the eye. I also felt the rear end of the car felt more stable than the pre-facelift 135i I had driven, which got very light at reasonable speeds.

What sealed the deal for me was the engine and rear wheel drive, these two combined with the fact that I’d read online the next 1 series will share the Mini platform so that means front wheel drive, meant this car was looking like a very good proposition.

I just want to take a second to discuss the engine. So every other ‘hot hatch’ available uses a 4-cylinder engine, but BMW stuck to their guns (at least for now anyway) and kept a 6 cylinder engine in the new Mx40i. There wasn’t another car we drove that sounded anywhere near the B58. There is something special about the short wheelbase, rear wheel drive, 6-cylinder car that is the M140i.

So, after a relatively short test drive we knew that was our next car.

We searched out the best deal possible (anyone looking check TRL on http://www.babybmw.net) and placed the order. The 3 month wait then began…[to be continued]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audi’s new V6T – what’s changed and is it better?

After recently driving the B8.5 S4 with its lovely V6 Supercharged engine and with the all new B9 generation of the Audi S4/S5 starting to appear more frequently on the road, I thought it would be a good time to look at the new heart of the beast.

The all new turbocharged V6.

What’s changed?

  1. Reverse flow header (which makes using twin-scroll turbocharger possible)
  2. Integrated exhaust manifold into the header
  3. Cast-in iron cylinder liner (not Alusil, which is an aluminium-silicon alloy, like in the old supercharged V6)
  4. Direct injection system changed to spray-guided type (Audi has been using air-guided type previously)
  5. Single turbocharger with twin-scroll design
  6. Introduced Miller cycle (a.k.a Atkinson cycle) in its operation
  7. Air-to-air intercooler
  8. Modified version to be shared with the 2017 Porsche Panamera in V6 form

Specifications

  • Bore pitch/spacing: 93 mm
  • Displacement: 2,995 cc
  • 354 hp, 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) @ 1,300-4,500 RPM

Now let’s look at the new engine in a little more detail.

Cylinder Block

The below image indicates the new turbo V6 is still using the closed-deck design, same as the previous supercharged V6:

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The turbocharged V6’s cylinder block

One major change is the cylinder sleeve. On the new V6, Audi is using cast iron cylinder sleeve, totally different than the old supercharged V6, which is using the Alusil layer. If you ever drove the B7/8 and experienced excessive oil consumption, this should be eliminated in the new B9 engine.

Due to the lightweight design principle, the new V6 only weights at 172 kg, a significant decrease from the predecessor’s 189 kg.

The new V6’s 90-degree bank angle, means it will naturally require uneven firing, Audi uses offset split crank pins to correct this. The 90-degree geometry also brings in unbalanced vibrations, so that is the reason why you can see in Audi’s design, an extra balance shaft is added on top of the crankshaft, as shown in the below illustration.

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Crankshaft and also the balance shaft

Reverse Flow Header

The new B9 S4/5 will be the first modern turbo V6 that uses the reverse flow design.

Reverse Flow means the exhaust manifold is on top, and the intake is on the side. The reason that Audi has chosen such a design is in order to adopt the single twin-scroll turbocharger for the V6 engine, without complex pipping and routing.

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The single turbocharger sits between the V-bank

A design like this minimises the path length that exhaust gases need to travel to reach the turbocharger, which means better throttle response and less (or no) lag.

Turbocharger: Why No Twin-Turbo Units?

The benefit of using a a single twin-scroll turbochager gives better throttle response in the lower RPM range, whilst the tighter flow volume can limit high RPM and high load driving.

Whereas the use of twin single-scroll turbochargers, is that the boost can still be kept strong for high RPM workload, which helps the engine to reach a very high peak output. But throttle response in the lower RPM range will be impacted.

In the S4/S5’s this engine makes 354 hp, not high enough to justify the twin-turbo plan, so this is the reason why Audi engineer select the single twin-scroll chargers as the final solution.

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Illustration of the twin-scroll turbocharger used on the new Audi V6

Generally speaking, for a 6-cylinder engine with around 3.0L displacements, if its application is aiming at output level around 350hp, a single twin-scroll turbocharger brings more benefits than disadvantages. BMW have also gone down the same route in their new 3.0l B58 engine.

Heat Management

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The cylinder head’s cooling loop

Due to the centre of the V bank valley being occupied by the turbocharger, which is a preferable mounting location if it wants to use the air-to-liquid type; on the other hand, relocate an air-to-liquid intercooler to other places of the engine is not beneficial too. Therefore the packaging constraint prompts Audi to use the air-to-air type intercooler, as you can see in the below picture.

There are separate coolant paths in the engine’s crankcase and cylinder head.

Summary

Co-developed with Porsche, this new turbo V6 has the same advance level as BMW’s B58 engine.

Compared to its predecessor (the 3.0L supercharged V6), the new V6 is much lighter, which is critical for Audi vehicles since they are all based on the FWD layout, and puts the engine 100% ahead of the front axle. The new engine is more efficient too, due to the elimination of mechanical air compressor, and also the adoption of spray-guided direct injection.

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Overview of the drivetrain layout on the 2017 Audi S5. It can be clearly seen that the new V6 is placed in front of the front axle.

This turbo V6 will be also used in next-generation of the Porsche Panamera (starting at model year 2017). However, in Porsche’s application (and perhaps the future Audi RS4/RS5) the current cast-in iron cylinder liner will be replaced by plasma spray coating layer, for better performance.

So it looks like Audi have heavily invested in this engine for the future of their performance brand, now I just need to get hold of one to test drive and compare to the old supercharged lump!

Audi S4 B8.5 – an account of one powerful but subdued monster

So it’s been a while since I have had the opportunity to jump in and drive something truly powerful.

But this week just gone I had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an Audi S4 B8.5 and wow that car is a monster. Let let me start by stating I’m writing this based in the north of the UK, where it rains more often than not (particularly in Manchester where I was when driving), so in the winter months a four wheel drive car makes a big difference for point to point driving at pace.

First off, this isn’t going to be a straight up review as the facelift S4 has been around for a while and by now, I’d hope that everyone understands how to use Google.

I thought, however, it might be good to highlight some of the main differences between the B8 and B8.5 S4.

Aside from all of the cosmetic updates inside and out the B8.5 got a completely new MMI, which features BT Audio, ipod video function and increased online services. Electromagnetic steering now replaces the old hydraulic and Audi added the crown centre differential from the RS5, meaning more torque can be transferred to the rear (up to 85%) without slip being detected.

So what’s different about this facelift S4 I drove?

Well, apart from the Stronic gearbox having undergone surgery at a ludicrous cost, this S4 has had an engine and gearbox remap by Rick at Unicorn Motor Developments (for examples Facebook search Unicorn Motor Developments and browse his page and see picture outside the workshop below).

I’ve known and used Rick to tune many cars over the years and even remember when he was first making his name in the world of remapping – oh how times change. Rick is now fully established within the remapping industry and anyone who has used his services, I guarantee, will recommend him. Great guy, extremely knowledgeable and will work with you to get exactly what you want from the map.

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Now having driven quite a few S4’s both pre-facelift and facelift I had an understanding of how they drive stock.

So I hear you ask, what difference has the map and gearbox map made?

First off lets start with the gearbox – what has changed and why bother.

The very two questions I had for my friend, when we were originally discussing whether or not to map the box as well as the engine.

So what do you get for your money:

  • Launch control at 4000rpm
  • Redline in S increased to 7200+rpm and 6800rpm in D
  • Smoother and faster gear changes across all driving
  • Removed factory torque limit
  • The box doesn’t automatically change now when ur in M mode (which was annoying – it should be full manual on M, in my opinion)
  • Nice blip on downshifts.

So as you can see above, the list actually addresses why you should bother too.

The increases in redline and full control in manual are worth it alone. There were times previously, which also happened in the Stronic S3, where you approach the redline hit upshift and the car beats you to it so you actually end up, upshifting twice. Annoying.

Secondly extending the redline, in combination with the increase in power from the engine remap, means you have a larger power band to use. It also sounds bloody nice too!

From the engine, this particular car, gained a massive 90bhp taking it from 326bhp to 419bhp and torque went from 352lb/ft to 396lb/ft. As you can imagine from those figures this car is no slouch, in fact I would go as far as saying it’s one of the quickest point to point cars in the UK.

B8.5 map

The way the car now put the power down, even with the optional Audi Sports Differential deactivated is something else. When you hit B roads now, you plant your foot and the car just throws you back in to your seat and powers down the road, easily reaching eye-watering speeds without you even realising it. It also no longer really matters what gear you’re in as the car has so much torque that you just go whatever the gear.

With this car the Audi Drive Select and Sport Differential, they definitely make a difference. However my friend who owns the car says its actually easier to drive with the Sports Differential off as it is a much more predictable car. But being honest I think the tyres (P Zeros) in this weather are the weak link.

Noise. Now let’s talk about how it sounds. In a word, fantastic. Audi have managed to not make the supercharger whine obtrusive and really let the sounds from the V6 come through. From the interior the car remains quiet until you push on, where you get the lovely V6 exhaust note coming through. However it is nowhere near as loud as it is from the outside, this is down to the improved cabin refinement making it a quieter place.

Economy for those interested, on a motorway run it will Average 27mpg, yes that’s right a 420bhp will return 27mpg! But will return an average around town of about 22mpg, which considering it is a 420bhp, is rather impressive. The old B7 RS4, in similar conditions would return 24mpg on a run and 15mpg around town. So in reality you can’t be anything but impressed with the B8.5 S4.

For normal day to day driving not much has changed, its quiet, practical with subdued looks. You just know a squeeze of that right foot and you can dispatch most other cars on the road, which is always reassuring.

With the S4 featuring Audi’s quattro system, it sends the power to all 4 wheels at all times. This means, you appear to have endless grip and exploiting the limits of said grip, you will almost definitely be in license losing territory.

The only niggle I really have with the car, is the brakes. Now I know they were never designed for a 400bhp+ car but I’m not even sure they are really up to the task of spirited driving in a stock car for any extended period of time. Easily fixed for a price I know, but just something I wanted to mention.

All in all, as a package, I struggle to see what you can get for the money that is better. This offers all of the practicality of an A4 with the turn of pace of a much, much quicker car. Whilst still instilling the confidence on any road surface in any condition to enjoy the car. The remap to the gearbox and engine, I would say are essential on this car. The way it transforms the car is night and day. If you were considering, I would just get it done and enjoy the car.

Pagani rear

Geneva Motor Show 2017 – my thoughts

So I was lucky enough to attend the Geneva Motor Show last week and wow what a day!

Just wanted to pull out some of my highlights from the show.

McLaren 720S

After all the talk pre-show around this car, I really couldn’t wait to see it in the flesh. I have to admit that I really do think that the car looks better in real life, pictures really don’t do it justice. The new front headlights with integrated aero are a really nice touch as well.

Pagani Huayra Roadster

I’m not the biggest fan of the coupé for the reason that it feels like there is too much going on, the whole car feels very busy. However I have to admit that the Roadster changed my opinion – I really like it!

Lamborghini Huracan Performante

With Lamborghini releasing their ‘ring record breaking lap just before Geneva, it brought a lot of excitement but also speculation around if the lap was genuine. What better way to prove it is than pulling out the VBOX data on stand at Geneva. The car looks amazing and with that level of performance, not many cars will be keeping up on track.

 

The road to Geneva 2017


With the first big expo of the European calendar fast approaching, and the history of the show dictating it will have most of this years big supercar and hypercar launches meaning there is A LOT to be excited about.

In anticipation for the trip this year I thought it would be good to go over what cars I am most looking forward to seeing this year.

Aston Martin

Although Aston’s DB11 Volante is still a year away, the Vanquish S Volante is as traditional as an Aston drop top will get. With a 600hp V12 giving you power higher up the rev range and suitable upgrades to the drivetrain and suspension. The cosmetic tweaks from the Vanquish S are carried over and is one of the best-looking Aston’s off the assembly line.

Audi

Do you remember the days when 400hp was supercar level power? Well now you can get it in a hot hatch as Audi’s RS3 returns packing a slightly harder punch. It will be the most powerful hot hatch on sale and uses the tweaks made to the engine from the highly acclaimed TT RS. We are also expecting to see the new RS3 Saloon featured. We may also be lucky enough to see a production version of the all new Q8.

Ferrari

Ferrari caught everyone a little off guard this year with their new car that will be debuted at Geneva – the 812 Superfast. The F12 successor features that soulful naturally-aspirated V12 and has 800hp and 529lb ft and will propel you to well over 212mph. It also gets the F12 TdF’s four-wheel steer called Virtual Short Wheelbase 2.0 and an updated version of Side Slip Control. All in all, it should be one very tasty car!

Lamborghini

This year will see another track focused Lamborghini try and steal the show. With Lamborghini’s history of track focused cars we know we are in for a treat. After the Aventador SV smashed a lap of the Nurburgring in 6min 59sec and now the new Huracan Performante is said to have beaten it. The Performante will be available as a coupe or Spyder. The Huracan Performante features the new Active Lamborghini Aerodynamics which automatically open and close flaps to offer the optimum amount of downforce or drag resistance depending on a wealth of inputs. Best of all, it retains the amazing V10 from the standard Huracan with power expected to be up at about the 640bhp mark.

It would be rude not to mention the URUS, Lamborghini’s new SUV which is set to be revealed at Geneva, not too much is known about it yet so keep your eyes peeled to see how that unfolds.

McLaren

We have seen a lot of teasers leading up to the reveal of the ‘P14 or 720’, these have included the P1-inspired Monocage II carbon tub, Variable Drift Control, ProActive Chassis Control II and a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Given the increasing irrelevance of 0-62 times the importance of the 0-125mph time that’s the only performance stat thus released is clear – 7.8 seconds is a tenth quicker than a 675LT but, more importantly, a whole half second faster than a Ferrari 488 GTB. Everyone who has been lucky enough to see the car seems to be very excited.

Mercedes

A 612hp all-wheel drive saloon or estate would have sounded like stuff of dreams 10 years ago but Mercedes-AMG has put its most powerful V8 in the E-Class. And given you the option of disconnecting the all-wheel drive system to put all that power through the rear axle. Sounds good to us, particularly with the debut of the estate version coming to Geneva. In other news Mercedes will be unveiling the Maybach-badged G650 Landaulet, a monstrous combination of jacked-up, portal-axled G500 ‘Squared’ and Maybach-grade opulence. With a V12 pushing and a top speed of 144mph, the G650 is no slouch! We have also heard rumours around the Mercedes hypercar, project one, as we draw closer to the date, personally I’m not optimistic of seeing it at Geneva.

Pagani

Pagani have had huge success with their Huayra but now want to cater for those people who want a more open top, wind in the hair experience. The Pagani Huayra Roadster is here as an ‘unbridled work of art’ but still capable of 1.8G of cornering force, a limited run of 100 and a price of 2.3million euros – plus every one of the 100 build slots is already sold out so if you wanted one, unfortunately you can’t have one.

Porsche

Porsche has a long history of launching show-stealing cars like the 918 and last year the reveal of the 911R, which we all know about! This year, word is that they are going to be launching the new 991.2 911 GT3, which will be available with the awesome PDK dual clutch but also with the addition of a manual (hooray!). Rumours are it is set to feature a naturally-aspirated engine that will increase capacity from 3.8-litres to 4.0-litres with power tipped over 500bhp, which if is the case will make it one of the most desirable GT3’s in recent times.

They are the main big launches I am looking forward to this year, however I’m certain there will be a lot more that catches my eye when I’m there.