RUMOUR HAS IT...

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

the fi­nal cor­ner en route to se­ries pro­duc­tion. BMW is putting an early pro­to­type of its up­com­ing flag­ship through its paces at the Es­to­ril grand prix rac­ing cir­cuit in Por­tu­gal.

The high-per­for­mance ver­sion of the re­cent­ly­launched 8 se­ries will do jus­tice to the M badge with its min­imised weight, low cen­tre of grav­ity, even weight dis­tri­bu­tion and wide track, while the high-revving TwinPower Turbo 4.4l V8 en­gine will fire 441kW and 750Nm to the wheels via an M xDrive all-wheel drive sys­tem. Like the lat­est M5, the driv­e­train will have a rear-wheel bias and a two-wheel drive mode, en­sur­ing a mode for all lev­els of driv­ing skill.

The mar­ket launch of the BMW M8 Coupe will be in 2019, to be later fol­lowed by the M8 Con­vert­ible and M8 Gran Coupe.

The new 8 Se­ries is ex­pected to ar­rive in SA in the first quar­ter of 2019 in an M850i xDrive model priced at R1,887,827.

VW SPEEDS UP ELEC­TRIC PRO­GRAMME

Volk­swa­gen is ac­cel­er­at­ing its elec­tric-car pro­gramme with a pos­si­ble tie-up with ri­val Ford.

VW plans to launch its MEB en­try elec­tric car for a price of about €20,000 (R320,000) in Eu­rope, and is ex­pected to dis­cuss far-reach­ing al­liances with Ford, ac­cord­ing to Au­to­mo­tive News Eu­rope.

A Novem­ber 16 strat­egy meet­ing will dis­cuss VW’s trans­for­ma­tion plan to shift from be­ing Eu­rope’s largest maker of com­bus­tion en­gine ve­hi­cles into a mass pro­ducer of elec­tric cars, a source fa­mil­iar with de­lib­er­a­tions said.

VW’s strat­egy shift comes as cities start to ban diesel en­gine ve­hi­cles, forc­ing car mak­ers to think of new ways to safe­guard 600,000 Ger­man in­dus­trial jobs. An elec­tric van, the ID Buzz, is also to be built.

VW and other car mak­ers are strug­gling to adapt quickly enough to strin­gent rules in­tro­duced af­ter the com­pany was found to have cheated diesel-emis­sions tests, with its CEO Herbert Diess warn­ing last month that Ger­many’s auto in­dus­try faces ex­tinc­tion.

VW and Ford are in ex­ploratory talks about an al­liance to de­velop self-driv­ing and elec­tric ve­hi­cles and to com­ple­ment each other’s global pro­duc­tion and sales foot­prints, Reuters re­ported last month.

The com­pa­nies are con­sid­er­ing co-op­er­a­tion deals in the ar­eas of com­mer­cial, elec­tric and au­tonomous ve­hi­cles, al­though a fi­nal agree­ment will un­likely be an­nounced at the Novem­ber 16 strat­egy meet­ing, the sec­ond source said.

The de­tails of a co­op­er­a­tion deal with Ford may take un­til the end of the year to be fi­nalised.

The jury is out on whether the next-gen Nis­san GT-R will look like this Italde­sign GT-R50 con­cept.

The BMW M8 will have all-wheel drive and 441kW.

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