Autocar confidential: Ian Callum’s new favourite car, Jeep goes green and more

Jag designer XE-dingly pleased with new saloon 

Former Jaguar design boss Ian Callum had the pick of the company’s range when it came to choosing his next car, but prioritised a facelifted XE HSE R Dynamic in red as his next choice. “I love this car,” he said. “It might be the smallest model in [the] range, but I’m particularly proud of its design, and on those wheels with that pack and in that bold colour, it’s a real head-turner.”

Audi EV has a ‘greenhouse’ with a difference

Because Audi’s AI:ME autonomous concept car is designed for use in large cities, the firm’s design team has put a focus on ensuring the interior functions as a “relaxation and detox” space. That includes an air filtration system, designed as the car’s USP. To showcase the system, live plants are embedded in the dashboard and wrapped around the roof.

Maserati thinks big for future models

Maserati will not launch any models smaller than its current line-up, which has the Ghibli and Levante as the entry-level saloon and SUV models. “You don’t want to go down. You want to go up,” said boss Harald Wester, in reference to the fact that bigger cars produce bigger profit margins and draw the brand away from any sort of mass-market image. 

Jeep wrangles with electrified powertrains

Plug-in hybrid tech allows Jeeps to become “more than the sum of their parts”, said FCA boss Mike Manley. The improved performance, emissions and economy are the obvious benefits, but the technology also boosts off-road prowess with its instant torque delivery and greater control.