2017 WORLD RALLY CARS UNCOVERED

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THE WRC IS EVOLVING. AND FROM 2017, NEW TECHNICAL REGULATIONS WILL USHER IN A FRESH AND EXCITING BREED OF WORLD RALLY CARS THAT ARE MORE POWERFUL, DISTINCTIVE AND DRAMATIC.

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New 2017 Volkswagen Touareg prototype spotted testing

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VW’s next Touareg large SUV hits the road in disguise, heavily previewed by T-Prime concept

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New 2017 VW Tiguan XL spotted with no disguise

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New spyshots of seven-seat Tiguan LWB snapped on the road in Europe undisguised

We knew Volkswagen was up to something, but this is our first physical confirmation that a larger Tiguan XL is on the way. New spyshots reveal the extended wheelbase SUV testing with absolutely no disguise.

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‘Millions’ of Volkswagen cars can be unlocked via hack

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A sizeable proportion of 100 million Volkswagen Group cars sold since 1995 can be unlocked remotely by hackers, a team of researchers has said.

The problem affects a range of vehicles manufactured between 1995 and 2016 – including VWs and models from the company’s Audi, Seat and Skoda brands.

A homemade radio costing about £30 is the only hardware an attacker requires.

Volkswagen said it was working with the researchers and added that several new vehicles were unaffected by the issue.

Two separate attacks affecting different models are described in a paper by researchers from the University of Birmingham and German security firm Kasper & Oswald.

With the second method, an older cryptographic scheme in some other brands was found to have a similar, albeit more complex vulnerability.

The team showed it was possible for a malicious hacker to spy on key fob signals to target cars via a cheap, homemade radio.

‘Cryptographic catastrophe’

By cloning the digital keys, the researchers found they could then unlock a variety of VW Group vehicles.

This was possible because they were able to reverse-engineer the keyless entry system in the affected models – a process which yielded some master cryptographic keys.

Prior to publishing their research, the team behind the paper agreed with Volkswagen that some key pieces of information – including the value of the master cryptographic keys – would not be made public.

“We were kind of shocked,” Timo Kasper at Kasper & Oswald told the BBC. “Millions of keys using the same secrets – from a cryptography point of view, that’s a catastrophe.”

Mr Kasper said that after the researchers alerted Volkswagen to the problem in November 2015, they set up some meetings to help the car maker understand the vulnerability.

“We had very fruitful discussions – there was a very good atmosphere,” he said.

However, there are “at least ten more, very widespread” hacking schemes affecting various other car brands that Kasper & Oswald is still waiting to publish, following appropriate disclosure to the companies involved, Mr Kasper added.

‘Constructive exchange’

A spokesman for Volkswagen said several current-generation vehicles, including the Golf, Tiguan, Touran and Passat were not affected by the problem.

“The responsible department at Volkswagen Group is in contact with the academics mentioned and a constructive exchange is taking place,” he told the BBC.

The spokesman added that starting the car’s engine with this attack was “not possible”.

Security expert Ken Munro at Pen Test Partners said critical components of the attack had been omitted from the published paper.

“You’d need some academic-level knowledge of cryptography to be able to do this,” he added.

VW V-6 Diesels Accused of Having More Emissions-Cheating Software


It seems U.S. authorities aren’t done investigating diesel-powered Volkswagens for emissions-cheating software: Reuters reports that another—and previously undiscovered—piece of emissions-thwarting software has been discovered in the 3.0-liter TDI V-6 engine used in the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, and Porsche Cayenne SUVs.

The news originates from German newsweekly Bild am Sonntag, which does not reveal its source for the information. According to the report, three unapproved pieces of software allowed the affected vehicles to shut down their emissions control systems after 22 minutes of driving. Theoretically, this would allow the vehicles to pass government emissions tests, which usually last for around 20 minutes, but emit unrestricted pollutants in real-world driving. This is in addition to previously disclosed software used on the 3.0-liter TDI engine which VW admitted was used to make affected vehicles pass government emissions tests, but shut down the emissions controls in real-world driving.

It’s a cheat tactic that is relatively common across numerous automakers, and one that may not technically be illegal in the European Union. As Bertel Schmitt has written at Forbes, EU law allows automakers to define nearly any type of emissions shutdown software as being “necessary to protect the engine.” In Europe, diesel-powered Fiat Chrysler products have been found to use a nearly identical piece of software; both Opel and Daimler have been found using similar software that shuts off emissions controls based on ambient temperatures.

Such lenient “engine protection” loopholes are not included in U.S. vehicle emissions laws. Roughly 85,000 Audi, Porsche and VW SUVs have been sold in the U.S. market with the affected 3.0-liter TDI engine. While VW Group has offered a program to fix or buy back cheating diesel vehicles powered by the 2.0-liter four-cylinder TDI engine in the U.S., such a deal has not been reached for vehicles powered by the 3.0-liter TDI V6.

Limited-run Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S sold out

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All 150 UK examples of range-topping VW Golf GTI hot hatch have sold out on release

Volkswagen has confirmed that all 150 UK examples of its range-topping Golf GTI Clubsport S hot hatch have sold out on release. It costs £33,995 and first customer deliveries of the hardcore two-seater will begin in October.

Only 400 models will be built, with British buyers getting the lion’s share. The GTI’s popularity in the UK is allegedly “unmatched anywhere else in the world”. The special VW Golf GTI Clubsport S was designed to celebrate 40 years of the iconic hot hatchback, and builds on the already potent 261bhp Clubsport.

The Clubsport S has a retuned 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which boosts power to 306bhp and torque to 380Nm. It drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox, propelling the car from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds, and on to a top speed of 165mph. Removing the rear seats helps the Clubsport S to lose a further 30kg over the already-extreme Clubsport, taking its weight down to 1360kg.

Beyond the raw performance figures, though, the Clubsport S has been engineered for lap times at the Nurburgring – where it has posted a time of 7m 49.21sec. That’s a record for a front-wheel-drive production car, around a second and a half under the previous benchmark set by the Honda Civic Type R.

VW’s engineers have fitted a bespoke ‘Nurburgring setting’ in the Clubsport S’s Dynamic Chassis Control system, which adjusts the suspension and steering profiles.

The Clubsport S is available in three colours that hark back to the original Mk1 GTI: red, white and black. The cabin gets bucket seats, bespoke ‘Honeycomb 40’ decals and an Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel. Exterior tweaks include different front bumpers, a roof spoiler and a rear diffuser.

Top-10 oldest new cars you can buy

Although most models are treated to a thorough refresh every few years, there are cars that haven’t been treated to a substantial update since they first went on sale.

Just because they aren’t the latest and greatest though, doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. There are some advantages to buying something that’s been around a while. For one, the car maker would have worked out all of the model’s foibles, but also with a long production cycle there should be a good supply of parts. With this in mind we scoured the new car price lists to find the ten best oldest models you can buy now.

1.Land Rover Defender

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With production ceasing in the UK this year, the Defender just makes our cut. Although it has changed substantially over the decades, it’s visually, conceptually and philosophically close to the 90 and 110 it replaced in 1984. The pick-up version even shares a component with the 1948 version.

It’s crude and noisy by modern standards, but it’s the epitome of ruggedness, strength and capability. To acknowledge the car’s passing, Land Rover launched three special editions priced from £27,800 which will be available to buy from August – the last chance you’ll get to buy a current Defender in England. Although rumours are, there is an all-new Defender coming next year.

Launched in 1984.

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