Lifestyle: Motoring – Porsche Cayman; Impreza returns; Lagonda auction

WITH models from the likes of Jaguar, Mercedes and BMW there’s certainly a lot of options out there for two-seater sports coupes.

However, it is the mid-engined maestros at Porsche who hold the ascendancy and the latest offering from the Stuttgart supremos will do little to undermine their status.

The new Porsche Cayman GTS is billed as the most powerful and fastest edition of the mid-engined coupe from the German sports car manufacturer to date. With an uprated engine and sharpened chassis responses, the car is said to be the new benchmark for sporting performance in its market.

The Cayman was launched in 2005 and Porsche drivers favour its handling and sporty performance. At the heart of the car beats a flat-six engine, positioned deep in the middle of the chassis to offer a low centre of gravity for a more balanced and precise feel.

The six-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine in the Cayman GTS is based on the 3.4-litre unit used in the Cayman S. Specific fine tuning has delivered an additional 15 hp, with the result that the Cayman GTS offers 340 hp (250 kW).

Distinctive to the GTS is the Sport Chrono package and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), both fitted as standard. The car accelerates from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds, 0.3 seconds quicker than a standard Cayman S.

With the standard manual six-speed transmission, a top speed of 177 mph is possible. The new GTS is also the first mid-engined Porsche coupe to be certified according to the Euro 6 emissions standard, and achieves an overall fuel consumption of 34.4 mpg in the automatic version and 31.4 mpg with manual transmission.

The GTS is available to order now priced from £55,397, and will be arriving in Porsche Centres in the UK and Ireland in May.

In addition to the standard equipment, customers will also be able to explore the potential of their new car, and develop their own skills behind the wheel, by taking part in a complimentary course at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone.

Give those men a Scooby snack… the Impreza’s back

IT is the news the Max Power generation has been longing for – the Subaru Impreza is set to return to the UK.

The company has announced the iconic car, popularised by its rallying pedigree and notorious as the favourite of getaway drivers everywhere, will go on sale from May 1.

The new range will be limited to one, non-turbo engine and one trim level with a choice of transmissions. The new 1.6-litre Impreza RC will be priced from £17,495 (on-the-road) for five-speed manual models and from £18,995 for models fitted with Subaru’s Lineartronic transmission. The Impreza will be the only car in the C-segment to offer All-Wheel Drive (AWD) as standard on every model.

A combination of a more favourable exchange rate and persistent customer demand has led Subaru to reverse its decision to withdraw from the UK market. Although limited to small volumes, Subaru said it believed the car would make an interesting and price competitive alternative to the more established competition in the highly competitive C-segment.

To whet the appetite, Subaru says the latest Impreza has been enjoying significant sales success in both its home market of Japan and in the US since its launch in 2012.

Since its introduction to the global market in 1992, the Impreza has become the most famous of Subaru model names, with the brand’s high-tech Symmetrical AWD system and four-cylinder horizontally-opposed Boxer engines core to the car’s road-going abilities and appeal.

The new Impreza retains these attributes but with a new-generation 1.6-litre Boxer petrol engine, the latest version of Subaru’s hallmark All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment, together with new safety improvements and fuel efficiency aids.

The new Boxer petrol engine is capable of producing 114ps and 150Nm of torque for faster throttle response. The engine features separate cooling circuits for the cylinder block and cylinder head, allowing it to warm-up more quickly to reduce friction and improve fuel economy.

An Active Valve Control System helps keep engine friction even lower by reducing the oil pump relief pressure. A maintenance-free chain-type camshaft drive belt further improves efficiency. The engine also complies with Euro 5 emissions standards.

Fitted with the 1.6-litre Boxer engine and manual transmission, the new Impreza will accelerate from 0-60mph in 12.3 seconds, and on to a top speed of 114mph. It will return fuel economy of 44.1mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 147g/km, improving to 46.3mpg and 140g/km when fitted with the Lineartronic gearbox.

The UK model will come in RC specification with standard equipment including automatic on/off headlamps and rain-sensing windscreen wipers, front fog lamps, power-folding heated door mirrors with LED turn signals, windscreen wiper de-icer system, 16-inch alloy wheels, tyre repair kit and daytime running lights.

Every Impreza is also equipped with dual-zone air-conditioning, rear passenger heating and ventilation ducts, six-way manually-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, 60/40 split-fold rear seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, two 12V power outlets, USB and aux-in jacks, and a reversing camera.

Classic British Lagonda set to be star lot at restoration auction

AN extremely rare 1939 Lagonda V12 Hooper two-door saloon stored for the pastThe 1939 Lagonda V12 Hooper 13 years is set to be one of the star lots at a new restoration auction later this month.

The car, which has an impressive heritage, has covered just 40,000 miles from new and will headline Silverstone Auctions’ very first Restoration Show Sale, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham on April 12.

The unique car is estimated at between £75,000 and £100,000. It was built for the wife of the owner of Hooper Bodies, the most famous coach builder of the era, and was first registered in August 1939. With the onset of war just weeks later the car was placed into storage before being sold to a Harry Ellard in 1952.

A highly successful Midlands engineer, Ellard built up a stunning collection of around 40 cars of which this was the centre-piece. Reportedly the largest collection of Lagondas, Ellard owned another five models. Following his death, his famous collection was sold at auction in 1984 with this car taking pride of place on the front cover of the catalogue.

The next owner enjoyed the car until 2001 when it changed hands once again. Now offered for auction having been in storage for 13 years, the car requires a complete restoration.

Nick Whale, managing director of Silverstone Auctions, said: “We’re very proud to play a part in the car’s unique history. Lagonda was one of Britain’s finest luxury marques and this model’s fascinating history is sure to raise the interest of potential owners.”

The model was a Lagonda created under the guidance of W.O Bentley, who owner Alan P. Good had persuaded to join the company following Rolls Royce’s acquisition of Bentley.

“For those looking for a one-off restoration project or rare pre-war model, this car will certainly be of interest,” added Whale.

Good luck to those with deep pockets and ambition to match.

Drive safely.