As the month of May came and went, members of the Southern Group were kept busy with the usual influx of new car reveals and first drives, all while enjoying the bank holidays and warmer or possibly stormy weather conditions. 

Last month, it seemed that motoring PRs were busier than ever, revealing an array of new cars. This started with the unveiling of the new Ferrari 12Cilindri, a name that translates to 12-cylinder in English and also points out it has a V12 engine. Continuing the ‘deep pockets’ theme were Rolls-Royce, with the reveal of the Cullinan Series II, a mildly updated version of the old car. In the world of new cars that are actually affordable, Kia revealed the EV3, a mid-sized electric SUV with over 370 miles of range. Elsewhere, pricing was revealed for the new facelifted Skoda Octavia, which costs £27k upwards when it goes on sale, making it a bit of a bargain if you ask us. 

Southern Group News: 2023 SGMW Heritage Drive Day

For SGMW members, though, the month of May is usually when the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) annual test day takes place at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. This is a chance for members to catch up with PRs in person, all while testing an array of the newest cars from manufacturers, as well as sampling the free food and cakes available (but not all at the same time). 

Here, we present a couple of the social media highlights from the day:

These are the highlights of what SGMW members got up to in May 2024:

SGMW digital round up: 

First Drive: This All-Electric Land Rover Defender Restomod Makes Off-Roading Surprisingly Easy – Tim Pitt

Ever wanted a Land Rover Defender 110 without the diesel clatter? Well, now there’s the Bedeo Defender 110 restomod EV. It swaps the old TD5 diesel for a 75 kWh battery and four compact hub motors. Unlike most modern EVs, it only produces a mere 82 horsepower along with a substantial 479 lb-ft of torque, but is this enough to tempt fans of the original Defender to make the swap? Tim Pitt puts it to the test for the Robb Report. 

Read the Robb Report review here

This Classic BMW 2002 tii packs a 343BHP E46 M3 motor – Trinity Francis

Is it right to swap the heart of a classic car for a more modern and powerful engine? Swedish native Magnus Granberg certainly thinks so, as he’s responsible for squeezing a six-cylinder S54 engine from a BMW M3 into the nose of his vintage 2002 tii. Trinity Francis delivers the full low down for Top Gear.

Read the Top Gear article here

First Drive: Ineos Grenadier Quartermaster Pickup Review – Ben Hodges

In a short space of time, Ineos managed to get its Grenadier model from concept to showrooms – all while making a considerable impact along the way. Now, the third member of the Grenadier family is here, the Quartermaster pickup. But how does it stack up against long-established names like the Ranger and Amarok? Ben Hodges flew to Italy to put it to the test for Professional Pickup. 

Read the Professional Pickup review here

2024 KGM Torres EVX review – Maxine Ashford

After the demise of the SsangYong name, the brand has been reborn as KGM Motors. The Torres SUV is the first new model to emerge since the rebranding, and it’s available with both ICE and EV powertrains with a starting price of just under £45k. But can this new brand make an impact in an already packed market sector? Maxine Ashford drives the new Torres EVX to find out. 

Read the review on Regit Cars here

SGMW magazine watch:

Diesel & Eco Car issue 451: June 2024

The latest edition of Diesel & Eco Car magazine features contributions from a number of SGMW members including Ian Robertson, Tyler Heatley, and Martin Gurdon. Here’s the full preview:

The electric MINI Aceman takes pride of place on the front cover of the June 2024 issue of Diesel&EcoCar magazine and is amongst good company, as it’s a bumper month for new model debuts. The new Citroën C3 Aircross and Vauxhall Grandland are revealed, alongside the Mazda CX-80, facelifted Nissan Qashqai, mildly revised Mercedes-Benz EQS and hybrid-powered Renault Symbioz. We also feature the reprofiled Cupra Leon and Formentor, the smart #5 concept car, Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ power and Tesla Model 3 Performance.

All of your favourite columns and features are present and correct, including The Doctor, Motor Grump, Bright Spark, Tech Zone, Road Watch and Current Affairs. 

The June 2024 issue of Diesel & Eco Car is on sale here

SGMW social watch:

In German car styling news, Tim Pitt celebrates the reveal of a BMW he actually likes the look of for the first time in history. 

Last month, the SGMW’s leading Volkswagen correspondent, Stu Bird, played a starring role in ‘Herbie Douglas completes an 80-mile journey without charming me.’ Not coming to a cinema near you soon.

Chris Rees discovers that for some secret agents, the driveway is not enough, as they prefer to park on the street. 

In touchscreen news, Phil Huff voices his frustrations with the controls of the Volvo EX30 before celebrating the vastly improved setup in the new EX90. 

In bicycle related news, which is an unusual thing to see on these hallowed pages, Phill Tromans rightly points out the positive impact of the car number plate.