Porsche Panamera hybrid brings Le Mans-winning technology to Hong Kong, as new Audi RS3 is given a once-over by Liverpool’s Ian Rush

Lotus launches its fastest Evora, Nissan gives mainlanders Kicks, and Jaguar unleashes top XJ

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 July, 2017, 7:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 July, 2017, 10:14pm

Porsche fans were thrilled that the marque’s 919 Hybrid won Le Mans last month – and then triumphed at July 16’s Six Hours on the Nurburgring.

However, the marque’s endurance-winning technology is also on Gloucester Road, according to Porsche Centre Hong Kong and Macau spokeswoman Jess Lam.

“The 919 Hybrid racing technology and electrifying performance were derived from the track and brought to the road,” she says.

“Both the flagship Panamera E Hybrid [from about HK$1.8 million, US$230,000] and Cayenne SE-Hybrid [from HK$1.47 million] models are available in Hong Kong for Porsche lovers.”

The latest Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid , main picture, (from HK$3.36 million) has a new hybrid system that combines a four-litre V8 engine from the Panamera Turbo with an electric motor, “resulting in 680hp”, Lam says.

Its combined fuel consumption is 2.9 l/100km; electric energy consumption is 16.2 kWh/100km; and carbon dioxide emissions are 66 g/km, the dealer explains, but “even when just above idle speed, the combined combustion and electric hybrid system offers 850Nm of torque.

The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid underlines the high importance of e-mobility to e-performance”. Porsche has won “more than 30,000 victories in over 60 years of motorsport racing”, Lam says, and the 919 Hybrid’s win proves “Porsche’s heart beats firmly in motorsports” and “all future technology is tested on the race track before coming to your Porsche. And there is no better test bed for new technology than the 24 Hours of Le Mans”.

Porsche’s heart beats firmly in motorsports ...and future technology is tested on the race track before coming to your Porsche. And there is no better test bed for new technology than the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Endurance rivals Audi last week invited Liverpool football legend Ian Rush to line up with a couple of fasties in Hong Kong. The five-door, five-cylinder, 400hp RS 3 Sedan (from HK$791,800) is the marque’s first compact with 480Nm of torque and 100km in 4.1 seconds.

The similarly powered, two-seater TT RS Coupé (from HK$898,000) tonnes in 3.7 seconds and is also “the first production-series model in Hong Kong where Matrix OLED technology is available in the rear lights as an option”, the marque says.

Marketers might keep an eye too on the mainland progress of the new Nissan Kicks. Aimed at the young, the crossover is receiving showroom traffic and orders “beyond expectation” in China, according to Airton Cousseau, managing director of Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle in Chengdu. Launched at the Shanghai Auto Show in April and stickered from 99,800 yuan (US12,779) this month, the Kicks promises a “new, fashionable and technologically advanced option in the fast-growing compact crossover segment”, the marque says.

Nissan has worked hard on the Kicks’ looks, with a two-tone body, lots of chrome and sporty aluminium alloy wheels that would also look good in Hong Kong. The small crossover also has a D-shaped steering wheel and an HR15 engine offering about 100 horsepower via an Xtronic continuously variable transmission.

The model’s safety electronics include ride and braking controls; lane and cross-traffic alerts, and real-time monitoring of road conditions. Such extras seem a good deal, especially as Nissan unveiled the model as “a new benchmark for entry-level [sport utility vehicles]” over the border this spring.

The Kicks was first introduced in Brazil as a concept; became an official car at the Rio Olympics, and has since won awards in South America, according to Nissan.

Offering a “fresh, youthful design and spacious, comfortable interior”, the Kicks “features characteristics important to the ‘Dare to Dream’ generation born in China after 1990” and appeals to “their focus on modernism and a passion for well-designed products”, says the marque, which also presented the Navara pickup, Vmotion 2.0 concept, and the X-Trail SUV in Shanghai. Nissan sold more than 1.3 million vehicles in China in 2016, having been on the mainland since 1973.

Jaguar has introduced the new XJR575 and a range of enhancements to its 2018 XJs. The XJR575 tops the XJ model range with a 575ps, five-litre V8 supercharged engine, which can deliver 700Nm of torque and sprint to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds and then top at 300km/h.

Available in the standard wheelbase body style and also a bespoke blue or grey, the XJR575 has special details such as a rear spoiler, side sills, front bumper and lower air intakes with black gloss surrounds.

The cars also get a larger 10-inch touchscreen on the central console, and with pinch-and-zoom for navigation. Users can also create custom homepages for shortcuts to favourite features. The models’ safety upgrades include forward traffic detection “for example when pulling out of blind junctions”, the marque says.

Lotus has just launched its most powerful road car, the Evora GT430, and it could be a good investment in Hong Kong as only 60 are offered worldwide. Available in Britain for £112,500 (US$157,000) and Japan at 20.85 million yen (US$187,000), the 430hp two-seater also reveals the variance of the car’s prices after local taxes in Europe.

In Germany, the 3.5-litre supercharged V6 coupe costs 151,000 (US$176,000), with value-added tax at 19 per cent. In France, it is 152,300, with VAT at 20 per cent, and in Italy it is 154,900, with VAT at 22 per cent.

The 1,258kg two-seater promises 100km/h in about 3.8 seconds and is the marque’s third – and lightest Evora after the 400hp Evora 400 and the 410hp Evora Sport 410, both with similar-sized engines. The marque says the GT430 has new body panels, lots of carbon fibre and upgraded aerodynamics to produce up to 250kg of downforce on wider Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, with 245/35 R19 at the front and 295/30 R20 at the rear. The model produces 440Nm of torque from 4,500 rpm and tops at about 305km/h, thanks to an air-to-liquid gearbox cooler, and via a six-speed manual transmission, and a louder, 10kg lighter titanium exhaust.