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2021 Citroen C4 Dual 2021 Citroen C4 introduces EV tech and returns the quirkiness

Citroen is coming back – keeping up with and even innovating ahead of the curve with the all-new C4. The new car’s design references the delicate GS in its overall silhouette and will offer an all-electric powertrain.

While the original C4 was quirky in its own way – the detached rim steering wheel and in-built incense – it lacked powertrain substance to back up its exciting features.

That’s where Citroen is coming back to its innovative ways playing on the brand’s historic ingenuity to create a genuinely different option in what is a crowded segment and focusing on something they know well – comfort.

2021 Citroen C4 Front
The all-new C4 should stand out.

Buyers will have to make a left-field swing away from the competent Volkswagen Golf, Hyundai i30 and Ford Focus. Still, Citroen is promising that choice will reward with incredible comfort and funky technology the French are famous for.

Until the Volkswagen ID.3 arrives, it will be one of the only full EVs in its class, too. The charge comes from a 50kWh battery which equates to a 350km WLTP certified range and power output of 100kW/260Nm.

Fast-charging will see the battery charge to 80% in 30 minutes, while a home wall box will give the e-C4 a full complement of electrons in 7 hours and 30 minutes.

2021 Citroen C4 Rear 3/4
And now you can opt for an electric drive C4.

It’s the same power plant found in its Peugeot e-208 cousin, though the Citroen adds an extra 10km of range, that’s all down to this cars aerodynamic efficiency.

Sometimes the back-catalogue really does get it right, and Citroen has a pretty solid one of those. Head designer Pierre Leclerq revealed the similarities in the silhouette of the new C4 and old CX and GS models with their smooth Kamm tail profiles.

Naturally, the shape also hosts all the contemporary trends. A full width LED light signature sits behind a chrome grille and illuminates the central chevrons for a distinctive look. The C4 has also been raised for “more stance, more status” according to Mr Leclerq.

2021 Citroen C4 Side
Raised to somewhere between a sedan and SUV.

We aren’t quite sure if the C4 is really a coupe, sedan, hatchback, or SUV yet. But maybe that’s a good thing in a world where there are simply too many categories.

Citroen was quick to point out that there is “comfort in choice”, the C4 offers a total of 31 different exterior colour combinations. Initial impressions indicate an unmissable car, but we’ll hold off comment until we see the new C4 in the flesh.

“The very best of comfort” is what will set the C4 apart from its peers, says Citroen. That starts with driving comfort, there are no hydro-spheres to be found, but the brand has employed progressive hydraulic bump stops from its smooth-riding C5 Aircross.

2021 Citroen C4 Interior
The interior design is pleasing on first glance.

Inside this emphasis on comfort continues in the design with short, wide features accentuating the width of the interior to grant a feeling of space within. The design itself is simple and restrained, though it looks more upmarket than previous Citroen products.

The 10-inch tablet-style touchscreen looks to be running a very crisp, android-like infotainment software, inside there will be a head-up display and digital dashboard, though probably not across all C4 variants.

Citroen designers have not ignored seat comfort, they’re said to blend iconic design with specific padding and shaping for maximum comfort. Furthering the comfort in creation there is a smartly integrated tablet holder for “the co-driver” which will be a handy feature for motoring journalists furiously typing away on new-car launches.

2021 Citroen C4 Tablet
A stow-away tablet holder for the “co-driver”. Cool.

It sounds like the back seat hasn’t been forgotten either Ms Amar claimed “the best knee clearance for the second row on the market”. There’s also a 380-litre boot under that funky tailgate.

Project manager for the new C4, Audrey Amar, confidently stated that Citroen “think it will become the new reference for comfort in the car industry”.

Back to the “comfort in choice” – Citroen will sell the C4 in near any configuration, offering three-cylinder Puretech petrol engines in three states of tune and a choice of two BlueHDI diesel engines in Europe. Australian engine choice will be locked in later, though expect a smaller offering.

2021 Citroen C4 Light
And there’s a choice of nearly any powertrain.

Citroen promises the new C4 will be loaded with active safety and driver-assist technologies including Highway Driving Assist suite with adaptive cruise control, and high-speed AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection.

Citroen Australia has not confirmed the arrival of the new C4 for our shores yet, though we hope the electric-powered e-C4 vehicle will arrive.

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2021 Jaguar I-Pace - 1 2021 Jaguar I-Pace – faster charging and smarter navigation

Jaguar has updated the electric I-Pace for 2021 with faster charging, more intuitive tech, the same 470km of WLTP range and an increased price of entry – the S now starts at $128,860 (driveaway pricing TBA).

The I-Pace is one of the best-looking EVs out there. In fact, it’s one of the best looking cars in our eyes. However, the British competitor does command a premium over Teslas that boast greater range.

But it’s best to look at how the more established competitor will line up against the coming German onslaught, the likes of the Audi e-tron and Mercedes-Benz EQC will make the electric big cat’s life tough in the coming months.

2021 Jaguar I-Pace - 3
Unmistakably Jaguar design.

A new 11kW homebox sees decreased charging times for owners with three-phase power in their homes, allowing the I-Pace to charge fully in 8.6 hours. That’s down from the 12.75 hours taken for single-phase homes using a 7kW wallbox.

Fast-charging is naturally available for I-Pace owners – at 50kW 80% charge will take around 1 hour and 20 minutes, at 100kW that’s dropped to 40 minutes. Though there is no potential for 150kW fast-charging, some competition is adopting.

Powering the I-Pace is the same 90kWh battery hooked up to dual electric motors, combined outputs equate to 294kW and 696Nm. That’s good for a 4.8 seconds 0-100km/h sprint, and a claimed WLTP range of 470km for the big Jag.

2021 Jaguar I-Pace - 5
The new Infotainment system makes the most of the Jag’s interior.

What has changed is the infotainment system, it’s JLR’s Pivi pro system first debuted in the new Defender – not necessarily a vehicle associated with the cutting edge.

But Land Rover promises ease of use by touting that the new “navigation system reduces the number of steps required to set a destination by half”. The interface is modelled on smartphones, allowing users to pinch to zoom and scroll around the map more instinctively than before.

On top of that, the navigation has been programmed to give information about nearest charging stations, the ideal route to take between destinations, and the predicted amount of charge at set waypoints.

2021 Jaguar I-Pace - 6
Dual touchscreens and smart navigation features.

Naturally, the system will take full advantage of the I-Pace’s dual touchscreen set-up with their haptic feedback. The new system will even be ready to go before stepping into the car thanks to integration with Jaguar’s smartphone app.

Additionally, the I-Pace moves to a fully digital rear-view mirror – quite the opposite to Audi’s approach – which Jaguar says improves safety, as a driver will always have “an unobstructed view of the road behind”. It makes sense for a family vehicle.

Helping further with manoeuvring the I-Pace, Jaguar has implemented a 360-degree camera system into the infotainment system across the range. An improved cabin filtration system has been added to aid occupancy comfort even further.

2021 Jaguar I-Pace - 2
It’s one of the coolest looking vehicles out there.

From the outside, the 2021 I-Pace will benefit from a fetching new set of 19-inch alloy wheels (replacing 18s as standard) and a more comprehensive colour palette consisting of Portofino Blue, Eiger Grey (pictured) and Caldera Red. A move we welcome here at Chasing Cars.

Jaguar offers a battery warranty for eight years, though the mileage is limited to 60,000km, where the competition has moved to 180,000km.

However, the I-Pace still carries the candle for coolest looking EV – in our book at least – and the updated infotainment system will be welcome for the British EV. Detailed Australian pricing and specification will become available soon.

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Audi etron 2020 plugged in charging Audi Australia blows starting whistle on electric vehicle offensive

The arrival of Audi’s e-tron SUV lineup – the German marque’s first full-electric vehicles – blows the starting whistle on Audi Australia’s managing director Paul Sansom’s claim that 45% of the Audi global sales will be electric by 2025.

With the e-tron and e-tron Sportback, which arrive in Australia in September, Mr Sansom suggested that this style of vehicle will “reset the benchmark for premium mobility”. To us, that sounds like the SUV form factor will remain prevalent, which makes pragmatic sense for EVs: the high ride height creates space for a ‘skateboard’ packaging of batteries while realising greater passenger comfort.

Audi’s future target doesn’t just consist of pure EVs like the teased Q4 e-tron SUV and the forthcoming, lower-slung e-tron GT four-door: instead, this figure will be undoubtedly complemented by PHEV variants of current production vehicles in the vein of the BMW X5 xDrive 45e. Previously, Audi sold mild plug-in hybrid versions of the Q7 SUV and A3 hatchback in Australia, but the present lineup here is combustion-only.

Overseas, Audi sells a broad range of plug-in hybrids to complement its growing range of full-electric vehicles. Badged TFSI e, hybrid versions are offered on the Q5, A7 and A8, among other cars. The Q5 55 TFSI e teams a two-litre turbo petrol engine with a 14.1kWh battery, providing around 40 kilometres of pure-electric range for commuting.

Audi etron 2020 charger cable
The pair of e-tron SUVs will be the first full-electric Audis sold in Australia.

Audi communications manager Shaun Cleary indicated plug-in hybrids were being assessed for the Australian market. “We’re still assessing exactly how those models might form part of our line-up”, Mr Cleary said.

The arrival of the e-tron full-electric SUVs will provide substantially better zero tailpipe emission usability than that. The entry-level, $137k e-tron 50 promises a range of around 300km, with the pricier $146k e-tron 55 boosting the distance to about 400km.

The eventual supplementary target for Audi is thirty models with some form of electric propulsion above and beyond the current 48-volt mild-hybrid tech currently found in many recent Audi vehicles.

With platform sharing we know Audi can lean on the learnings of Volkswagen and Porsche, using underpinnings of vehicles like the coming VW ID.3 at the affordable end, and powerhouse Porsche Taycan at the pointier to bolster the electric range.

The Volkswagen Group is investing heavily in the transition to EV production. Pictured: the Volkswagen ID.3.

Audi isn’t facing the tough climb to a transition to EV motoring alone. Like mainstream player Hyundai, Audi has opted to partner with the Chargefox fast-charging network to offer Australian customers an easy public charging solution. Like Tesla, Audi’s navigation system is smart enough to calculate the ideal route for electric vehicles, including estimated charge-times.

Not every EV is created equal, so what exactly is Audi doing differently, and what have they learnt from their rather public prototyping under the R8 e-tron and the three-time Le Mans winning R18 TDI.

Already the e-tron is capable of fast-charging equalling the 150kW capacity of Tesla’s V2 Supercharger V2. Matthew Dale, product planning manager for the e-tron project, suggested we’ll be seeing cars with four rings capable of 350kW fast-charging very soon. Charging at 150kW replenishes the e-tron 55’s battery to 80% – or 320km of range – in about half an hour. Should future Audis be capable of 350kW charging, this would allow charging to 80% in about ten minutes.

Another intelligent solution from the Germans includes battery technology that allows 100% charge to be achieved in a more timely manner – something that has hindered many other manufacturers.

Audi etron 2020 Australia blue front
Unlike some EVs, the e-tron deliberately looks like a conventional SUV.

Talking figures, the e-tron 55 will take 30 minutes to reach 80% charge for its 95kWh battery when using a 150kW fast-charger, 100% charge only requires an extra 15 minutes. Most EVs take an awful lot longer to attain ‘full’ battery capacity, for example, a Tesla Model S with an 85kWh battery takes around 40 minutes to reach 80%, and 75 minutes for 100% charge.

In all e-trons the lithium-ion batteries are a network of modules connected, instead of a single battery pack. So, in five years when your e-tron starts to discharge faster than expected, you will be able to take their vehicle to the local Audi dealer, plug in a scan tool and – in the case of the 55 Quattro – find out which of the 36 modules is in poor health.

These modules can then be replaced individually at a fraction of the cost of a completely new battery, easing ownership pains and the unknown factor greatly.

Like the Mercedes-Benz EQC that is already in market – also priced at $137,000 – the Audi e-tron range is priced aspirationally, well beyond the normal budget for a family vehicle in Australia. Audi suggests that most buyers for this initial e-tron product will come from households with a combined income of at least $250,000.

2020 Audi e-tron Sportback 3
The e-tron will be available in Sportback (pictured) or conventional styles.

During the presentation, it became evident that the e-tron isn’t aimed at the ultra-green crowd. If it were you might hope to find sustainable upholstery, instead, it’s all environmentally expensive cow-hide and plastic.

When pressed, Mr Dale confirmed that “upon customer request, other materials like fake leather or cloth” could make their way onto a special-order e-tron.

Mazda’s incoming MX-30 marks an exception to this rule by employing sustainably sourced interior materials. This first round of EVs is aimed at those who only want to offset personal emissions as much as they want a serene and fast isolation chamber.

There is naturally the question of Australia’s lack of government incentivisation for electric vehicles and the potential to hurt Audi’s increasingly electrified future down under.

Audi etron 2020 chargefox
Audi have partnered with the Chargefox rapid charger network in Australia.

Other brands have shown distaste for the lack of government initiative. Still, Mr Sansom didn’t seem to be overly fussed “from Audi’s point of view we’re interested in bringing such a vehicle to market with the best customer offer we can”. However, he did admit that with the right incentives “EV adoption has been shown to go up elsewhere”.

While electrification itself is relatively new, the e-tron is conservative in styling and concept, to us it feels like the logical conclusion of comfortable, serene transport. We also appreciate the idea that “e-tron customers will be early adopters and have an interest in being at the vanguard of future mobility… but they still want the best of Audi”.

And as much as ICE diehards protest, the death of Australia’s automotive industry means we’re now at the mercy of whatever Europe decides is best.

Tesla Model 3 driving Australia
There’s no disputing that Audi is chasing down Tesla, who lead in EVs in Australia.

It’s a tricky tightrope to walk – advancing a brand’s credentials without alienating those who have become loyalists to a particular style. But the cool factor is sure to play a part.

We’ve undeniably seen it happen with Tesla, the Model S and then the Model 3 was popularised by the rich and famous to much success. Many Australians have lapped them despite local political malaise towards EVs.

As for these unprecedented world conditions – for context the press conference at which Audi detailed their EV strategy took place over Vimeo – Audi Australia showed little concern about the impact of COVID-19. If a buyer wants an e-tron, they’ll make it work. “There was a general downward trend for business, though we’re already seeing signs of recovery,” explained Mr Cleary.  

Audi etron 2020 Australia blue rear
The e-tron blows the starting whisle on Audi’s EV offensive.

Mr Cleary was confident that the e-tron buyer is relatively set on their choice already “values of those who are interested in being early adopters for this type of product would not necessarily change due to COVID”.

We’ll hold off commenting until we drive the new crop of e-trons. Still, it sounds like Audi Australia might be onto something having already pre-sold 100 e-trons, with Mr Dale confident the initial supply “will be soon exhausted after we go online with sales “on June 19.

The future is looking bright for electrification, the target of 45% sales being electrified by 2025 seems reasonable. It’s a shame Audi didn’t reveal plans regarding PHEVs for Australia given they offer a comfortable stone on the way to the other side of the EV stream, but the future looks bright regardless. 

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2020 Mini Electric - 1 2020 Mini Electric Australian price and spec confirmed

Mini has locked in Australian pricing for the first all-electric Hatch, with limited First Edition cars landing first in August this year. The Electric Mini isn’t going to be cheap, but at $59,900 driveaway the brit promises style few others can match. 

It’s an unconventional segment the Mini EV wades into, ‘normal’ looking EVs like the updated Hyundai Ioniq and Nissan Leaf seem the most logical competitors. However, the Mini exudes cool that only a BMW i3 or Tesla Model 3 can rival.

The consistent exterior design is good news we reckon, despite the aerodynamic wheels, closed-off grille and the chartreuse highlights, it just looks like a Mini.

2020 Mini Electric - 6
Chartreuse highlights and aero wheels differentiate the Mini EV

If you happen not to like these small changes, the exterior can be returned to Cooper S spec using that variant’s wheels and grille, though the launch editions arriving first have the more ‘green’ exterior locked in.

The limited First Edition Mini Electrics have a few key specification tweaks. It’s hard to miss the green cues outside, including those funky 17-inch wheels. 

There’s also a limited colour palette; the four options include White Silver (pictured), Midnight Black both of which get the chartreuse detailing, Chilli Red and the classic British Racing Green which with chrome detailing look a little classier.

2020 Mini Electric - 5
A familiar cockpit complete with 8.8-inch touschscreen and leather seats

But for $59,900 Mini includes a digital driver’s display, head-up display, leather upholstery, premium sound system and wireless AppleCarPlay and Android Auto.

Obviously, the driving experience will be different from ICE cars. Although the Mini Electric retains the base car’s front-wheel-drive layout, the centre of gravity will sit lower thanks to the low-mounted 32.6kWh battery. In fact, it should make the Mini even more go-kart-like.

That battery gets an industry-standard eight-year warranty for added peace of mind.

2020 Mini Electric - 3
Right at home

The Electric Mini is built at the Mini Oxford plant and rolls down the same production line as the ICE powered hatches, a great packaging and production solution; as demand fluctuates it will be easy to build more or less electric Minis.

Powering the Mini Electric is a 135kW electric motor, which will see the slightly heavier battery-equipped car complete the standard sprint in 7.3 seconds, barely slower than the first BMW-Mini Cooper S. 

Mini claims a city-friendly WLTP range of 233km for the E, certainly not tesla-troubling at least. It’s also less than its more affordable rivals, the $49,990 ($54,656 driveaway) Nissan Leaf claiming 300km of WLTP range and the $53,010 ($57,686 driveaway) Ioniq premium 260km.

2020 Mini Electric - 4
You wouldn’t know it was an EV from a quick glance.

But the Mini Electric doesn’t have to win numbers games; it’s a stylish bit of kit that will most likely be bought as a second, city car. The range is more than enough for a working-week the average Sydney-sider’s 30km commute.

We can’t comment on the value proposition of the three-door Mini Electric without having tested it. However, the styling inside and out, build and material quality we’ve encountered in recent Mini’s should make an Electrified hatch a pretty tasty proposition.

Mini Australia is taking orders now for August 2020 delivery.

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BMW i4 2021 EV concept grille Full-electric 2021 BMW i4 edges closer to production form

Overnight we’ve been given our best look yet at the 2021 BMW i4 – the first mainstream electric vehicle to be built by the Bavarian manufacturer, with production starting next year.

We’re thinking of the i4 as a full-electric alternative to the 3 Series, though BMW aficionados will see that it’s more akin to an EV variant of the 4 Series Gran Coupe – a niche, coupe-esque iteration of the evergreen 3 Series sedan.

BMW have confirmed that the i4 will make use of an electric motor capable of up to 395kW – though the model structure may include various power outputs, much like the Tesla Model 3 with which the i4 will compete. The battery under the skin of the i4 will be around 80kWh, delivering a maximum range of about 600km.

BMW i4 2021 EV concept rear
The i4’s coupe-like roofline means it’ll earn a Gran Coupe badge

While it’s clear from these photographs that BMW aren’t quite ready to show the i4 in its final form, this late-stage concept build demonstrates many elements that are likely to carry across to next year’s production BMW EV.

That includes that incredibly prominent stretched double-kidney grille, which some industry insiders have dubbed “grillezilla”: that’ll be a feature of BMW’s next generation of sports cars, including the forthcoming combustion-engined 4 Series coupe and convertible.

BMW i4 2021 EV concept interior
Expect to see the production car’s cabin toned down a little

The taillights are much more conventional, echoing the design seen on the new 3 Series, while the slinky profile evokes the Munich maker’s contemporary Gran Coupe silhouette.

Blue highlights around various features is a nod to the distinctive colour scheme applied the BMW’s existing electric options, including the i3.

BMW i4 2021 EV concept front
The i4 will have about 600km of range

You can expect the highly conceptual cabin to be scaled back on the production vehicle to an interior more like that of the new 3 Series – but likely with some futuristic touches to remind you that you’re in an i4. Seating for four is likely to be the maximum in this vehicle.

Expect to see more of the i4 as BMW’s first full electric vehicle since the i3 nears production.

BMW i4 2021 EV concept profile
The i4 is nearing 2021 production
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