Tag Archive: Cars

Cherry on the top

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New limited edition Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport on sale from March 2018

Mazda will bring a burst of colour to the MX-5 range next spring with the launch of the new Z-Sport special edition.

On sale from the 1st March, this exclusive model will stand-out thanks to its deep cherry red fabric hood, 17-inch black BBS wheels, and free-of-charge Machine Grey Metallic paint.

Inside, the stand-out feel continues with Sand Leather seats, plus Z-Sport floor mats and scuff plates. While to further highlight its uniqueness, each car comes with an individually numbered Z-Sport plaque on the dash. Exclusive to the UK and limited to just 300 cars, thanks to being based on the 2.0-litre 160ps Sport Nav, the £25,595 Z-Sport features a limited slip differential, Bilstein dampers and a strut brace to ensure it has the dynamic excellence to match its sporty exterior looks.

With the distinctive look you’d expect of an MX-5 special model, the Z-Sport continues the trend of offering sports car customers a striking and exclusive car at an affordable price. The second MX-5 to wear the Z-Sport badge, the latest car revisits a name last used on the third-generation MX-5 in 2007.

A 2.0-litre model with 17-inch BBS wheels, Stone Leather seats and Radiant Ebony Mica paint, the last Z-Sport’s cabin featured brushed aluminium dash inserts, alloy pedals and coordinated stitching on the steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake. With just 400 examples sold, the 2007 Z-Sport shared the exclusivity of next year’s new Z-Sport MX-5.

Representing the first chance to buy a current-generation MX-5 convertible with an alternatively coloured fabric roof, the Z-Sport provides customers with exterior differentiation through its unique colour hood.


The QX50 is the first production vehicle ever to feature an engine with variable compression

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Infiniti’s new VC-Turbo petrol engine features technology seen as the next major step in optimising efficiency and emissions of the internal combustion engine, literally transforming between power and efficiency on demand.

The all-new platform has a front engine/front wheel drive configuration with an all-wheel drive option. Designed to set a new level of refinement, rigidity and interior space in the compact premium SUV segment.

In terms of design, the QX50’s SUV aerodynamic exterior reinterprets Infiniti’s distinctive design language of powerful elegance whilst continuing with its now familiar signature design cues. The artistic application of high quality materials, and advanced craftsmanship make the cabin as welcoming and comfortable as it is flexible.

The vehicle also incorporates Infiniti’s pioneering ProPilot autonomous drive support technologies to assist the driver when accelerating, braking and steering during single-lane carriageway driving, whilst still allowing them to retain ultimate control over the car.

Record-breaking season for Smart cars

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A record turnout of as many as 166 colourful Smart cars made Beaulieu’s Simply Smart the biggest and best yet, rounding off a record-breaking 2017 Simply rally season.

More than 300 rally participants included a group of keen enthusiasts who had travelled from as far as Belgium to take part. They were joined by scores of Beaulieu visitors for the celebration of fun, wacky city cars.

Zany colour schemes and personalised bodywork provided a vibrant line-up of ForTwo, practical ForFour and sporty Roadster which filled the National Motor Museum’s Events Arena. With an even greater variety of Smart cars on show than ever before, this triumphant end to the Beaulieu events calendar saw old friends and new owners meet up to talk all-things Smart.

Wrapping up the hugely successful 2017 season of Simply rallies at Beaulieu, Simply Smart’s bumper turnout follows in the footsteps of Simply Porsche, Simply Japanese and Simply Ford, which all achieved record numbers. Also scoring highly for the variety and volume of vehicles on display were this year’s Simply Aston Martin, Simply VW, Simply Jaguar and Simply Land Rover, which saw Beaulieu come alive with hundreds of awesome cars.

Building on that success, the recently released 2018 Beaulieu events calendar includes two new additions with a brand new Simply Audi on April 29th and new feature Simply Rummage at Simply Land Rover on June 24th. Simply Smart will return again on November 11 next year. For more calendar details see

Sharp and powerful

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The new BMW M3 CS will go on sale from January 2018, prices start from £86,380 OTR

The new BMW M3 CS will go on sale from January 2018, prices start from £86,380 OTR


M TwinPower Turbo technology for the new BMW M3 CS

The new special edition M3 CS emphasises its incredible performance with its purposeful visual appearance. No matter from which perspective you look at the M3 CS, it looks dynamic, muscular and every inch a high-performance sports car.

Building on a fine heritage of lightweight, high performance sports saloons, the new special edition BMW M3 CS is the perfect combination of high performance, dynamic performance and everyday usability.

Thanks to the generous use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) and a subsequent low kerb weight, a more sporting suspension set-up, increased power and torque and a unique interior style the BMW CS is a car worthy of the ‘CS’ moniker.

Power for the latest special vehicle to come out of BMW M GmbH is from a six-cylinder in-line engine – a configuration of which has a long tradition at BMW – and one that ensures the absolute best performance in the new BMW M3 CS. Compared to the M3 with Competition Package, the maximum power has been increased by 10hp.

The maximum torque of 600Nm is about 10 per cent higher (M3 with Competition Package: 550Nm) and is available from 4,000rpm to 5,380rpm. The outstanding power output gives the BMW M3 CS performance on a par with supercars, with the sprint from zero to 62mph taking just 3.9 seconds.

The 3.0-litre unit uses M TwinPower Turbo technology, with two spontaneously responsive mono-scroll turbochargers. Together with the High Precision Injection (HPI) petrol injection system.

Boost is built up continuously from just above idle, while the fully variable valve and camshaft adjustment ensures efficiency. As a result, the engine not only delivers its power continuously over a very wide engine speed range, but also works economically, keeping fuel consumption low at 34mpg and thus exhaust emissions low at 194g/km.

Of course, an M engine must also have the appropriate soundtrack.

The new M3 CS has a twin sports exhaust system with four tailpipes, elegantly integrated into the CRFP rear diffuser. It offers the lowest possible exhaust gas backpressure for power delivery and is controlled by a damper system. The dampers are electrically controlled and not only provide optimal feedback on the load condition of the engine over the entire speed range, but also give a typically aggressive ‘M’ sound.

Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a seven-speed M dual-clutch gearbox with Drivelogic. It delivers very fast gear changes without interruption of traction. The standard DCT gearbox can also be manually operated via paddles on the steering wheel. To meet even the hardest driving conditions, the 7-speed box has its own oil cooler.

A standard unique feature for the CS are forged light-alloy wheels, finished in Matt Orbit Grey. The ten-spoke design is based on the wheels of the successful M4 racing cars from the German Touring Car Masters (DTM). They are extremely light - for example, the rear, 10 J x 20-inch wheels only weigh around 10kg, and the front 9 J x 19-inch wheels weigh just over 9kg.

As standard, the CS is equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, 265/35 R19 at the front and 285/30 R 20 at the rear. The Cup tyres ensure particularly precise steering characteristics, while providing the greatest possible feedback to the driver.

Like the M3, the new CS comes as standard with the BMW M compound brake, It works with four-piston calipers at the front and a two-piston system at the rear, with outstanding deceleration, high fade stability and excellent pedal feel.

The exterior styling benefits from double LED headlights and a flat double kidney grille. The three-part front splitter not only emphasises the dynamics of the M3 CS, but also fulfils technical tasks: The large air intakes serve to provide efficient cooling to the six-cylinder twin-turbo engine and also the braking system.

Also made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic is the new boot spoiler. This is an aerodynamic spoiler lip that not only visually sets a sporty accent, but also reduces lift on the rear axle. The rear diffuser, also made of CFRP, is taken from the BMW M4 GTS. It ensures a sporty and distinctive finish to the rear end and also integrates the four stainless steel tailpipes of the M Sport exhaust system. In addition, the diffuser, together with the front splitter, optimises the airflow underneath the car’s floor.

Despite the consistently sporty design and weight savings, the new BMW M3 CS does not have to do without amenities such as climate control, while the Harman Kardon Surround Sound System ensures maximum listening pleasure. The BMW Icon Adaptive LED Headlights and BMW Navigation System Professional complete the extensive standard equipment package.

The BMW M3 CS is on sale from January 2018 with first orders arriving in March 2018. Prices start from £86,380 OTR.

Kia’s first entry into the B-segment SUV market

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Kia, this month, entered Europe's fastest-growing market sector, that for small (B-segment) SUVs, with Stonic, an exciting, sporty, confident and smart new model priced from £16,295.

Stonic is based on the latest Rio supermini and is powered by high-efficiency, high-technology petrol and diesel powertrains from Rio and the cee'd family.

In the UK there is a five-model line-up based on grade 2 and First Edition trim levels.

All versions offer an extensive package of connectivity features, including links to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via pre-downloaded smartphone apps, while advanced electronic driver assistance systems such as autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic switching between high and low headlight beams are available.

Three modern and efficient engines are available, headed by Kia's little jewel, the 1.0-litre T-GDi (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct-injection) unit delivering 118bhp. It lines up alongside a 1.4-litre multi-point injection (MPi) naturally aspirated 98bhp petrol engine and the 108bhp 1.6-litre CRDi turbodiesel from the cee'd range.

The 1.0-litre T-GDi engine develops an impressive 171Nm of torque across a wide rev band starting at only 1,500rpm, ensuring effortless driveability which allows it to accelerate from standstill to 60mph in less than 10 seconds, yet it is also capable of up to 56.5mpg, while CO2 emissions of 115g/km are not much more than those of a diesel.

The fuel economy champion of the Stonic range is the diesel, which has a combined economy figure of 67.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 109g/km. Yet with 260Nm of torque stretching from 1,500 to 2,750rpm it is certainly not lacking in pace, delivering not only impressive in-gear acceleration but also distinctly brisk 10.9-second acceleration from 0 to 60mph.

Meanwhile the 1.4-litre petrol engine, available exclusively in the grade 2 model, has economy and emissions figures of 51.4mpg and 125g/km. Despite its relatively small cubic capacity it delivers admirable performance, with 133Nm of torque. The result is easy, fluid driving characteristics.

Stonic is slightly longer than Rio, at 4,140mm. It is also 70mm taller and rides 42mm higher from the ground to give it a clear SUV stance. While the two cars share some mechanical components, Stonic has a bespoke body and interior.

All models are front-wheel drive as the take-up for all-wheel drive in this sector of the market is only eight per cent.

The First Edition version stands out even more thanks to its two-tone paintwork.

The roof, wing mirror casings and rear spoiler are picked out in either black, lime green, red or orange, depending on the choice of main body colour, and there are colour accents in the interior on the seats and around the lower centre console and display screen areas.

All versions are generously equipped, with an extensive range of active safety features and up-to-the-minute connectivity in First Edition versions.

All models have 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, all-round electric windows with an automatic function on the driver's side, roof rails, rear parking sensors, remote locking, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, a 3.5-inch supervision cluster, Bluetooth with music streaming, automatic headlight control, bi-function projection headlamps and cornering lights and LED daytime running lights. There are body-coloured bumpers, door mirror casings and door handles, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, 60:40 split rear seats and a six-speaker audio system.

The First Edition adds a smart key entry system and engine start/stop button, stainless steel pedals, black cloth and grey faux leather upholstery with colour accents, automatic air conditioning, LED rear lights, privacy glass on the rear side windows and tailgate, heated front seats and D-shaped steering wheel, chrome window trim and interior door handles and a dual-height luggage floor.

In common with all Kias, the Stonic has the best warranty in the business – a seven-year/100,000-mile declaration of faith in the reliability and quality of the car, covering all labour and parts except those subject to normal wear and tear. The warranty is transferable if the car is sold before the time/mileage limit expires.

World premiere of piloted driving

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The future arrives with the new Audi A8 ready for UK debut

The luxury class car of the future is no longer just a dot on the horizon - the new Audi A8 becomes available in the UK later this month, breaking new ground for the brand with its design language, innovative touchscreen operating concept and electrified MHEV drivetrain. It opens a world of possibilities for fully automated mobility.

The Audi A8 is the first production car in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving, and from 2018 will be progressively introducing piloted driving functions such as the Audi AI parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot into production.

Priced from £69,100 OTR, and due with its first customers in early 2018, the fourth generation luxury saloon built at the Neckarsulm plant in Germany draws inspiration for its design from the Audi prologue study, and makes a suitably emphatic statement whether in 5.17-metre ‘standard’ form or as the A8 L, which has a 13 centimetre longer wheelbase.

The balanced proportions emphasise all four wheels in equal measure, and the muscular definition above the wheel arches gives visual expression to the standard quattro all-wheel drive. Viewed side-on, the upright front end combined with the gently inclined rear create visual tension which is intensified, particularly at night, by the optional HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser lighting, and the LED light strip combined with OLED technology at the rear. These produce unique light animations as the driver approaches and leaves the car.

Space is often considered to be the ultimate luxury, and compared with its predecessor the new A8 has grown substantially in length in both body styles. Occupants can relax in suitably exceptional surroundings that radiate quality - from the perforation in the seat upholstery to the electrically opening and closing shutters on the air vents - and subtly integrate the most advanced technology.

The interior design is deliberately reductive, and this has been made possible thanks in large part to a radically different operating concept that dispenses with the familiar rotary pushbutton and touchpad of the previous generation car, and also renders many of the familiar instrument panel buttons and switches unnecessary. At its centre is a 10.1-inch touchscreen display which, when off, blends almost invisibly into the high-gloss black surround thanks to its black-panel look.

The user interface appears as soon as the car is opened. The Infotainment system is controllable via the large display, and a second touchscreen on the centre tunnel console gives access to the air conditioning and comfort functions and enables text inputs. Function activations are acknowledged in the upper and lower displays by a click which can be heard and felt, and the glass-look operating buttons respond in the same way. Activations can also be made via a new, natural form of voice control.

Information on destinations and media is either available on board or is delivered from the cloud at ultra-fast LTE speed. The navigation system has also evolved in line with the car which houses it – it is able to learn from the route just driven, providing the driver with intelligent search suggestions, and also incorporates highly detailed 3D models of major European cities.

Drivers of UK specification versions of the A8 and A8 L will be left in no doubt as to their status as the technology standard bearers of the Audi range. The fittingly extensive UK standard equipment list includes everything from the fully digital Audi Virtual Cockpit, the high definition colour head-up display and internet-based Audi Connect services to MMI Navigation Plus and Audi Phonebox wireless smartphone charging.

Standard LED headlights with high beam assist provide suitably precisely defined and far-reaching illumination and are paired with a rear LED light strip. The list of onboard driver aids also includes adaptive cruise assist with Stop&Go, front and rear parking sensors supplemented by a rear camera, lane departure warning with emergency assist and the Audi Pre-sense collision avoidance and mitigation system giving robust occupant protection.

Naturally, supple Valcona leather covers the electrically adjustable climate comfort seats, which offer both a heating function for colder days and an internal ventilation option for warmer weather. In the long-wheelbase A8 L the most sought-after seat could quite possibly be the rear left (in UK specification versions) – the optional relaxation seat which features four different adjustment options and a footrest. In this seat, the passenger can warm and massage the soles of their feet on a unit with multiple settings incorporated into the back of the front-passenger seat.

Rear passengers can also control an array of functions such as ambient lighting, the optional HD Matrix reading lights and seat massage, and can make private phone calls via a separate operating unit. The rear seat remote control, with its smartphone-size OLED display, is a removable unit housed in the centre armrest and is optional for the A8 and standard for the A8 L.

The new A8 is the first production car to have been developed specially for highly automated driving. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot, which forms part of the package of piloted features that will begin to be rolled out from 2018, takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 37mph on major roads where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways. The system will be accessible via the AI button that will be positioned on the centre console.

Using images of the car’s surroundings computed by the central driver assistance controller (zFAS) based on feedback from the radar and ultrasonic sensors, from the front camera and – in a first for Audi – from an advanced laser scanner, the traffic jam pilot will manage starting, accelerating, steering and braking. The driver will no longer need to monitor the car permanently, and will be able to take their hands off the steering wheel for prolonged periods and, depending on the national laws, focus on a different activity that is supported by the car, such as watching the on-board TV. As soon as the system reaches its limits, it will call on the driver to take back control of the task of driving.

The introduction of the Audi AI traffic jam pilot is wholly dependent on the clarification of the statutory framework in each individual market, along with the country-specific definition of the application and testing of the system. In addition, a range of approval procedures and their corresponding timescales will need to be observed worldwide. Audi will therefore be adopting a step-by-step approach to the introduction of the traffic jam pilot in production models.

The Audi AI parking pilot and the Audi AI garage pilot will autonomously steer the A8 into and out of a parking space or a garage, while the manoeuvre is monitored by the driver. The driver does not need to be sitting in the car – he or she can start the appropriate system from a smartphone using the new myAudi app. It broadcasts a live feed of the parking manoeuvre taken from the car’s 360-degree cameras on their handheld device for easy monitoring.

The new A8 makes its debut with two extensively reengineered V6 turbo engines: a 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI. The diesel develops 286PS, and the petrol version 340PS. An eight-cylinder TDI – a 4.0-litre with 435PS – will follow slightly later, as will the exclusive top engine version, the W12 with a displacement of 6.0 litres.

All four engines operate in conjunction with a belt alternator starter (BAS), which is the nerve centre of the 48-volt electrical system. This mild hybrid technology (MHEV, mild hybrid electric vehicle) enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. It also has an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW. The combined effect of these measures is to bring down the fuel consumption of the already efficient engines even further – by as much as 0.7 litres for every 100 kilometres (62.1 miles) covered in real world driving conditions.

The A8 L e-tron quattro with its powerful plug-in hybrid drivetrain will follow at a later date: Its 3.0 TFSI engine and powerful electric motor achieve 449PS of system power and 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of system torque. The lithium-ion battery stores enough power for about 31 miles of electric driving. Fast charging will be possible via public or domestic charge points and wall boxes, or in the latter case via induction-based Audi Wireless Charging, which uses a pad in the garage floor to transfer power inductively to a receiver coil in the car with a power output of 3.6 kW.

The platform underpinning the new Audi A8 combines the surface-suppressing comfort of standard adaptive air suspension with the all-weather control of quattro all-wheel-drive throughout the range. It also epitomises Vorsprung durch Technik through additionally available features including predictive active suspension, dynamic all-wheel steering and the sport differential.

The optional predictive active suspension is a fully active suspension system which is capable of raising or lowering each wheel separately using electric actuators depending on the driver’s wishes and the driving situation. This newfound latitude enables it to deliver an even more finely differentiated balance between the ride comfort of a classic luxury saloon and the agility more commonly associated with a more driver-oriented performance car. In combination with pre sense 360°, the car is rapidly raised if there is an impending lateral collision, reducing the potential consequences of the accident for all occupants.

This highly innovative suspension system obtains the energy it requires from a 48-volt electrical circuit. The A8 is the first Audi model to use this more powerful network as its primary electrical system, and all versions reap its benefit. In conjunction with the advanced air suspension for the A8, the innovative fully active suspension concept delivers an utterly new driving experience.

The dynamic all-wheel-steering system combines quick and direct response with unshakable stability. The steering ratio for the front wheels varies as a function of speed, and the rear wheels are turned in or against the direction of steering depending on the speed range. Reactivity to inputs can be enhanced even further by adding the sport differential, which actively distributes torque between the rear wheels.

Ensure you’re tyres are safe

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A road safety and breakdown recovery provider is encouraging drivers to ensure they carry out regular checks on their tyres.

GEM Motoring Assist is supporting Tyre Safety Month, which takes place in October, by reminding motorists that correct tyre pressure is not only vital for safety, but is also the best way to maximise fuel economy.

The company’s road safety officer Neil Worth comments: “Under-inflated tyres will reduce your vehicle’s ability to grip the road, and will also compromise handling. This can result in unpredictable vehicle behaviour, and increases the risk of a tyre blowout, where sudden rapid deflation occurs.

“Over-inflated tyres are dangerous, too, as they have a smaller contact area with the road, leading to increased stopping distance and reduced grip. There’s likely to be a lot more wear across the central part of the tyre, leading to a shorter lifespan.

Neil Worth encourages drivers to check their vehicle owner’s manual, and find out what the correct pressures for front and rear tyres should be. “Make a regular check to ensure you keep your tyres at those pressures,” he says. “You can also enter your vehicle details on the Tyresafe website to find your correct tyre pressures.”

“We suggest a check at least every month, as well as before any long journey. By doing so, you’ll be giving all the safety systems on your vehicle the best chance of working to their maximum potential, you’ll help ensure your tyres last longer and you’ll be ensuring your running costs don’t increase unnecessarily.

“After all, properly inflated tyres require less energy than under-inflated tyres to make them turn, so your vehicle will use less fuel.”

The turning of a new Leaf

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Inspired by airplane wings Nissan’s newest addition is the next aerodynamical chapter

The new Nissan Leaf will feature an improved aerodynamic design that makes it even more efficient, allowing drivers to travel farther on a single charge.

Aerodynamics is key to how efficiently an electric car moves. Less drag and better stability enable the vehicle to drive longer distances before having to recharge.

The redesigned next-generation Nissan Leaf is lower to the ground, helping it realize zero lift for better stability at high speeds. Other new design features significantly stabilize the car when hit by strong crosswinds.

Inspired by airplane wings, Nissan engineers recreated the ideal shape for the new Leaf, enabling a symmetric air-flow that helps it slice through the air for a smoother, more efficient journey.

Nissan established itself as a pioneer in the EV movement by launching the Leaf, the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle.

Coolest cars for dads

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ICONIC: It’s be easy to fantasise about doing the school run in the Back To The Future DeLorean Time Machine

ICONIC: It’s be easy to fantasise about doing the school run in the Back To The Future DeLorean Time Machine


Automotive experts have revealed the top five list of cars guaranteed to boost the ‘school gate cred’ of UK dads following a poll amongst its team of motoring editors.

The poll comes ahead of Father’s Day (on Sunday 18th June).

James Dower, senior Black Book editor at hpi, said: “With Father’s Day this month we thought it would be fun to look at some of the makes and models of cars that can give the ultimate feeling of school gate cred.

“Our team of editors considered everything from top of the range supercars to one-off fantasy cars as seen in the movies such as the classic DeLorean from Back to the Future or Vin Diesel’s 1968 Dodge Charger featured in the latest Fast and the Furious movie. They eventually decided to keep it real by settling for more realistic vehicles that would really appeal to dads.”

See below for the Top 5 list of cars offering the greatest school gate cred.

1) Jaguar F-Pace


2) Range Rover Evoque


3) VW Tiguan


4) Audi TT


5) BMW X1

REVIEW: BMW 530e iPerformance

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Okay, so it’s not the plushest executive car, nor the sportiest and BMW has ditched 50/50 weight distribution for its 530e iPerformance, which raises an eyebrow or two.

The new 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid comes with a 182bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine up front and an 111bhp electric motor sitting where you’d normally find a torque converter for the eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s got a 9.2kWh battery pack under the rear seats that can be charged in less than three hours, and a 46-litre fuel tank over the rear axle. The weight distribution has ended up at 47% front, 53% rear instead.

Still, with the standard G30 5 Series being such a beautifully balanced machine, what difference will a slightly weightier bottom make? Performance, both the green and the grunt kind, appear solid.

Claimed CO2 emissions are as little as 46g/km, while combined fuel economy is 141.2mpg. Yet, as anyone with a cursory knowledge of hybrids will tell you, you’ll be catching fairies before you achieve those figures in the real world.

Perhaps more representative, then, are the claimed 0-62mph sprint time of 6.2sec and 146mph top speed – or 87mph on electric power alone. Incidentally, due to system losses, that’s from a combined power output of 249bhp.

Is the 530e the ultimate combination of performance and parsimony, then?

Start off in all-electric Max eDrive mode and it’s a magnificently quiet car, but its modest performance is best suited for crossing town rather than country. The claimed 31-mile range disappears alarmingly quickly at motorway speeds, too.

Switch to Auto eDrive mode and the petrol engine kicks in when required. At gentler speeds the transition is smooth, but bury your foot hard to the accelerator stop and it’s less sublime, with a consistent two-second delay as the gearbox sorts itself out, before the colourless but largely unobtrusive background buzz from the engine kicks in.

Pace is good, mind. There’s enough of it to breeze you past bumbling trucks on a B-road, or carry you easily into three-figure speeds on an autobahn.

On turn-in, there’s more body lean than you'd get in the lighter, conventionally powered models, but despite the uneven axle mass, there’s still a decent balance.

The steering is the biggest disappointment. There’s not enough weight build-up as you crank on lock, so you’re always making little corrections to keep the trajectory correct; it’s a far cry from the intuitive helms of the other G30 models we’ve driven.

So is the mild thudding over ruts in the road and the fidget at high speeds, even with adaptive dampers fitted. Again, this may have been down to the tyres, but equally, it could be the stiffer springs used to counter the heavy battery. Meanwhile, the regenerative braking delivers a less progressive middle pedal, making it trickier to come to a smooth stop.

There’s more to dent the 530e's credibility next to a 530d as well. The boot, which is a good-sized 530 litres in the diesel (or the petrols, for that matter), is smaller, because the repositioned fuel tank eats into the space. Now 410 litres overall in the 530e, it’s the restricted height that will make it less capable when it comes to fitting bulkier items, such as a large suitcase.

Should you go for a 530e over a 530d, then? If you’re a company car driver or the majority of your journeys are short and through town, maybe; you’ll be able to utilise the electric motor effectively, so fuelling it will cost next to nothing.



Price £43,985 (less £2500 government grant)

Engine 4-cylinders 1998cc, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor

Power 249bhp (combined)

Torque 310lb ft (combined)

Gearbox 8-spd automatic

Kerb weight 1845kg

Top speed 146mph and 0-62mph 6.2sec

Economy 141.2mpg (combined)

CO2/tax band 46g/km,



Car clocking on the increase

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The number of cars on UK roads showing mileage discrepancies has risen to one in 16, a jump of 25 per cent according to new figures from automotive data experts hpi.

The practice of clocking takes place when drivers look to deliberately defraud second-hand car buyers when the vehicle is sold on.

The figures emerge as what is believed to be the biggest clocking case in British legal history saw convictions for operators of a Runcorn-based chauffeur services company.

The UK’s leading authority on vehicle checking services, estimates that used car buyers now have a one in 16 chance of purchasing a vehicle with a mileage discrepancy, with the practice costing motorists over £800 million every year.

Commenting on the apparent increase in the practice, Barry Shorto, head of industry relations at cap hpi, said: “There are numerous reasons why clocking is on the up. The continued development of technologies to alter digital odometers, increasingly easy access to this technology via the internet and similarly, the ease of access to mileage adjustment services online, some of whom will behave legitimately, others less so. The increase in mileage-related finance arrangements such as PCP and PCH may also be a contributing factor.”

Mr Shorto added: “The message to clockers is clear – it’s only a matter of time before they are caught and brought to justice.  hpi remains committed against clocking as well as raising awareness of the value of its National Mileage Register.”

The HPI Check includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register as standard, now with over 200 million mileage readings. hpi also confirms whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen with the police, has outstanding finance or safety recalls against it or has been written-off, making it the best way for consumers to protect themselves from fraudsters looking to make a fast profit.

Mr Shorto added: “Our valuation data conclusively shows the potential cost to dealers and motorists of the clocking problem. With clockers able to add thousands of pounds onto the value of a car, unsuspecting buyers stand to lose out, as do dealers. That’s why we advise retailers and consumers alike to conduct a vehicle history check to spot a mileage discrepancy before they buy.

“It can be almost impossible to tell a clocked vehicle just by looking at it, which makes a vehicle history check an even more vital form of protection for buyers. A clocked vehicle could be hiding serious levels of wear and tear, especially if it has been previously used as a high mileage private hire vehicle for a couple of years, meaning the additional cost of unexpected repairs or even a potentially serious safety threat to driver, passengers and other road users. An HPI Check can help protect consumers from buying a vehicle with something to hide, saving them cash and keeping them safe.”

Register (NMR) checks and investigations have grown by over a third in the last five years.

Barry Shorto concluded: “Not only should dealers make conducting mileage investigations an integral part of their business process, to protect their reputation and their customers, they need actively to promote the fact to their customers that these checks have been done.

“Our data confirms that consumers are seeking peace of mind against clocking, yet some dealers are choosing to overlook this. Proof of a mileage check should be a key part of a dealer’s sales strategy, promoting the quality of their stock, as well as highlighting the dangers of clocking for their customers.”

Deceptive beast

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FIESTY: The BMW M760Li can hit 60mph in just 3.6 seconds, but has a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality

FIESTY: The BMW M760Li can hit 60mph in just 3.6 seconds, but has a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality

Fastest bimmer loaded with monstrous V12 engine designed for “split personalities”

Those of you hoping this was BMW’s M7 need to look away now. Although this may be the fastest BMW the carmaker has ever made, if you’re after a fire-breathing, full-blooded M car, the M760Li is not quite what you may think.

Though it’s still got that fabled tri-colour badge on the bonnet, The M7 it isn’t cut from the same cloth as an M2, M3 or M4.

BMW says this is a car for buyers with a somewhat “split personality” - one moment they may be keen on a country road assault so they can enjoy the glorious V12, the next they might want to kick back and relax in the massaging seats and just cruise along.

The 7 Series has long been a luxury choice for the type of buyer who still enjoys driving, though – and the M760Li is the epitome of that.

Headlined by its exceptional refinement and supreme power delivery at all times, the 12-cylinder petrol engine with M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology under the bonnet reinforces the new car’s range-topping status.

The boldly dynamic driving characteristics of the BMW M760Li xDrive combine with superior ride comfort to make a compelling statement and set a new benchmark in the luxury sedan segment.

Inside, though, it’s a wonderful place to spend time.

Buyers in the UK will predominantly drive themselves, but for those that do get chauffeured around, the back seats are arguably more comfortable than up front. There’s multimedia screens to enjoy, cushioned headrests and massaging, reclining backs.

BMW made a lot of noise about it being 30 years since it installed a V12 engine in its 7 Series at the launch. And since that first unit arrived in 1987 in the 7 Series, the 12-cylinder lump has doubled in power.

The 2017 6.6-litre unit now boasts a whopping 601bhp, a staggering 800Nm of torque and is capable of propelling it to 60mph in just 3.6 seconds.

That gives it the impressive title of the fastest-accelerating BMW ever made – not bad for a model that’s not even a ‘proper’ M car. All that grunt does mean you’ll pay at the pumps; the M760Li will return 22.1mpg and emits 294g/km.

The BMW is a true Jekyll and Hyde car with distinct personalities behind the wheel.

It’s all helped by four-wheel drive that has a rear-wheel-drive bias when it’s needed. The steering is a little light in the comfort setting, though, especially for track work, but flick it into sport and it’s far better.

At £132,310, you’d expect to get some goodies thrown in, and fortunately you do. Lightweight 20-inch alloys, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system and Car Play are included, as is an Advanced Parking system, adaptive LED headlights, a head-up display, and massaging seats.

There’s even rear-seat entertainment and a panoramic glass sunroof thrown in too. How very generous. Naturally, there’s an extensive options list. Executive lounge seating to make rear passengers even more comfortable, night vision and BMW laser headlights are just a few of those you can tick.

With a mighty price tag, and plenty of very capable engine options to choose from in the 7 Series already, BMW estimates that just 100 a year will find homes in the UK.

MB Motor Group: Top notch cars at discount prices

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Over three decades of success for MB Motor Group

For over 30 years, MB Motor Group have been ‘driving’ the used car industry forward, providing only the highest quality vehicles to customers across Yorkshire.

Today, with two stunning showrooms running in Leeds and Bradford, the Mitsubishi-affiliated business continues to live up to its title as the county’s top dealership.

Initially set up by brothers, Kirit and Naresh Mehta, MB Motors has grown in both size and reputation over the past three decades.

“We started this business in a small lot in Cross Green and over the years have moved site to keep up with our growth,” Naresh said.

“For the past 12 years, we have run our showroom in Bradford on Killinghall Road and are now also happily settled here in Leeds.”

Whether it is a two or four-door city car that you need or a 4x4 luxury motor, the dealership caters for all drivers of all experience.

Tailored finance packages guarantee you the best price in town, whilst guarantees and warranties bring the added peace of mind to all who walk through the MB Motors doors.

“We take pride in being the dealership who go the extra mile to match up the right driver with the right car,” Naresh added.

“There are full finance facilities available including: leasing, personal contract plan, contract hire motability and hire purchase. Pretty much every option you could ask for, we have here.”

In Leeds, the 30,000sqft unit, on Wellington Road, boasts over 100 cars for the public to view alongside a recently launched motorbike showroom with a similar number of two-wheeled motors.

Repairs and MOTs are available at the Bradford branch, where brand new Mitsubishi motors’ can be purchased for unparalleled prices with minimal deposits.

With so much on offer from the dealership, it is easy to get lost in the deals.

Thankfully for Yorkshire’s aspiring car owners, the MB Motors team are always on hand to guide you through the car purchasing process.

“Since we first opened our doors over 30 years ago, most of our family have now been involved in one way or another, whether that is in the showroom or behind the scenes,” Naresh added.

“The team we have here are like family to us. We have built up a great rapport with all our customers and look forward to meeting even more people at our showrooms in the future.”

To make sure you pick up the perfect winter motor this year, head down to MB Motors for a present you can enjoy all year round.

Contact details:

360 Killinghall Road,


West Yorkshire,


Tel: 01274 627788


127-129 Wellington Road,


West Yorkshire,

LS12 1DX

Tel: 0113 2638855

Scorching new body kits for VW Golf

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German Volkswagen tuning company Oettinger has released a series of body kits for VW’s Performance Golf line-up.

The new kits are available on the Golf GTI, GTD and R models, and add an extra dash of sporting prowess to the hot hatchbacks’ appearances.

The new body kits also include a revised silencer. The stainless steel exhaust system features a quad layout, meaning the GTD gains exhaust tailpipes on the right-hand side of the car, while the GTI doubles its number of tailpipes from two to four. The Golf R, on the other hand, receives new honed quad tailpipes.

The new Oettinger muffler also means the Golfs will produce a sportier-sounding exhaust note, while the R gains valve control.

A staunch-looking rear diffuser, which is flush with the Oettinger side skirts, complements the new exhausts and improves the Golfs’ aerodynamics.

All of the Golfs gain a new spoiler on the roof, as well as a new front splitter and spoiler. The Oettinger body kit was perfected in wind tunnels to “make sure it reached the highest quality levels demanded by Volkswagen”.

The Oettinger body kit is now available from Volkswagen retailers around the UK. It costs £3,995 for the GTD and GTI versions, and £5,225 for the Golf R, including VAT, painting and fitting.

Brighten winter with new Mazda MX-5 Arctic

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Mazda is hoping for things to turn a little Arctic this winter with the launch of the latest special edition version of the award-winning MX-5 convertible. On sale from February, the new Mazda MX-5 Arctic aims to brighten winter days with its free-of-charge Blue Reflex Metallic paint and contrasting bright silver design cues.

Based on the 1.5-litre 131ps SE-L Nav, the MX-5 Arctic’s striking silver details contrast attractively against the icy blue paint. With 16-inch Silver alloy wheels, a silver windscreen surround, silver wing mirrors and silver headrest hoops the Arctic has the distinctive look you’d expect of an MX-5 special edition and continues the trend of offering sports car customers a striking car at an affordable price.

Inside, the stand-out feel continues with silver cup holder rings and chrome scuff plates, while the upgraded equipment tally includes heated leather seats, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and rear parking sensors. Limited to just 400 cars this UK exclusive special edition features a numbered limited edition badge on the dashboard.

The second MX-5 to wear the Arctic badge, the latest car revisits a name last used on the second-generation MX-5 in 2005. Available with 1.6i and 1.8i engines the original MX-5 Arctic was offered in a choice of Sunlight silver, Titanium grey or Razor Blue paint and the standard equipment tally included air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, heated dark blue leather seats, blue door inserts and chrome detailing on the window mountings.

Commenting on the launch of the new MX-5 Arctic, Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director of Mazda Motors UK said “We are delighted to offer another special version of the award-winning MX-5 convertible.

“We’ve had a long history of producing distinctive limited edition MX-5s that allow customers to drive a sports car with stand-out looks and enhanced standard equipment. The new MX-5 Arctic’s exclusive looks and great value mean it’s sure to be a popular choice when it arrives in dealerships early next year”.

A bumpy issue: Drive smoothly to reduce harmful effects of air pollution

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ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE: Health experts have said that local authorities should consider lower speed limits, clean air zones and even redesign speed bumps to improve air quality

ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE: Health experts have said that local authorities should consider lower speed limits, clean air zones and even redesign speed bumps to improve air quality

Accelerating or decelerating too rapidly leads to inefficient driving and fuel consumption with harmful emissions being released into the environment unnecessarily, a recent report has revealed.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is calling on businesses and transport services to educate their transport staff in more efficient ‘smooth’ driving skills, such as avoiding hard accelerations or decelerations and turning their engine off when at a standstill.

Being exposed to short-term and long-term air pollution caused by human activities can have a significant health impact, with harmful emissions and the environmental risks associated with pollution linked to around 25,000 deaths a year in England.

Road traffic causes more than 64 per cent of air pollution in urban areas. Air pollution and its health impact also costs the UK up to £18.6 billion a year.

Professor Paul Lincoln, chief executive of UK health forum and NICE guideline committee chair said: “Traffic-related air pollution is a major risk to the publics’ health and contributes to health inequalities.

“The NICE guidance sets out a strategic range of evidence based practical measures to encourage low or zero emissions transport. This is very timely given the imperative to meet EU and national air quality standards.”

The NICE draft guidance recommends local councils place buildings away from busy roads when drafting town or city plans. NICE also says cyclists should be screened from motorised traffic by shrubs or plants in situations where they are found to reduce air pollution.

Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE said: “The battle against air pollution has to be one we are all fully committed to.

“This draft guidance seeks to redesign how we work and live in cities. When finalised, its recommendations will ensure that everyone who has the power to make the changes required can be confident in the action they are taking.”

NICE’s draft recommendations on tackling air pollution are out for public consultation until 25th January 2017.

The Ferrari SUV that Ferrari will never build

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UNVEILED: Alfa Romeo reveals dramatic new Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV at the LA Motor Show

UNVEILED: Alfa Romeo reveals dramatic new Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV at the LA Motor Show

Alfa Romeo has pulled the covers off its first sedan-based SUV named the Stelvio, which was revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Available with either a mere 280hp (208kW) from the 2.0-liter Ti version, or a raucous, flame-throwing 505hp (377kW) from the Quadrifoglio top edition, the Stelvio takes many of its styling cues from the new Giulia saloon.

Equipped with a Ferrari-derived 2.9-litre, bi-turbo petrol V6, and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission the new Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s engine is constructed entirely of aluminium to reduce weight.

The performance SUV is also equipped with Alfa Romeo’s Q4 all-wheel-drive system, which sends 100 per cent of the power to the rear wheels in most cases, and can shift as much as 50 per cent to the front axle should it be needed.

The Italian manufacturer says this lends the Stelvio Quadrifoglio all the advantages of four-wheel drive, good fuel economy, responsive performance and the driving experience of a rear-wheel-drive car.

Alfa Romeo’s torque vectoring technology has also been paired with the Q4 system for the first time. This enables power to be transferred to the ground more effectively, providing better grip, as well as a safer and more entertaining drive.

The Stelvio Quadrifoglio also gains the new Alfa DNA Pro selector, which lets the driver switch between Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficiency and Race driving modes.

First appearing on the Giulia saloon, Alfa Romeo’s Integrated Brake System is also installed on the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. This combines stability control with a traditional servo brake to ensure instant response from the brakes, as well as shorter stopping distances and optimised weight.

Inside, the Stelvio features a new Connect 3D Navigation unit, which was developed in partnership with Magneti Marelli and features an 8.8-inch display.

Alfa Romeo has also confirmed that the Stelvio will be available with a less powerful, 276bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. This is also fashioned out of aluminium, and will be paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The super Subaru: ‘Holy grail’ of motorcars finds its home in Yorkshire

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RARE: Car fans consider the 22B to be the best Subaru ever made

RARE: Car fans consider the 22B to be the best Subaru ever made

Most cars in the world cannot command the respect of all self-confessed petrol-heads, but then again, the Subaru Impreza STI 22B is not ‘most cars’.

With only 424 ever made, the car has been called the ‘holy grail’ of the Subaru production line, made famous by the iconic rally driver, Colin McRae.

Constructed in 1998, the car was intended to celebrate the success of Subaru’s three back-to-back World Rally Championship constructors’ titles alongside their brand’s 40th year anniversary.

Four-hundred Japanese models were commissioned alongside 16 UK versions, five Australian models, and three prototypes.

Despite their rarity, one of the cars has now made its way from Japan to the UK’s shores, as Leeds-based JDM transported over their latest purchase this past month.

Having bought the car from an independent client back in February, the impressive vehicle was shipped out from the Port of Yokohama to Southampton.


Its new owners, brothers Atif Nawabi and Saakib Rauf, then had the rather enjoyable task of driving the powerful unit up North to their home county of West Yorkshire.

“It’s always been more of a hobby with the cars really, so to be able to earn a living in this line of work is really cool,” Atif said. “We have always dreamt of owning a 22B, ever since we were just kids.”

“I even have a model 22B at home which my dad bought me when I was just a teenager,” Saakib added.

Explaining how the duo came into the ownership of such a highly-sought after car, Saakib said it was just all about being ‘in the right place at the right time’.

“Atif was in Japan in February on a work mission and I said to him as a joke, ‘imagine if we could get a 22B’, we always wanted one ever since we were kids,” he said.

“A couple of days later, we got a phonecall from an uncle who was also in Japan and he said one of his friends actually had a 22B and may be willing to sell it.

“We managed to speak to the owner and explained through a translator that we are a big fan of this car and would love to buy it off her.

“Luckily she agreed, and we got it shipped over from Japan then drove it up. We had people taking photos on the motorway. It was an amazing feeling.”

DREAM CAR: Atif Nawabi and Saakib Rauf were delighted to purchase a rare 22B model Subaru

DREAM CAR: Atif Nawabi and Saakib Rauf were delighted to purchase a rare 22B model Subaru

With many 22B replica kits out there, the brothers say their vehicle is 100 per cent the real deal and have the chassis number and documentation to prove it.

Despite selling cars for a living, this latest model may stay in their possession for a little longer than their other motors.

“This will be parked in its protective bubble most of its life but for the time being we are going to enjoy it a little bit,” Atif said. “The first ever 22B is still in the Subaru museum over in Japan - that’s how much it means to the company.

“You get a lot of respect given to you with this car. It’s not about the price or how fast it is, it’s the history behind it. It means a lot to be able to say we own this one.”

IMPRESSIVE MOTOR: Only 424 22Bs were ever made, and the brother’s car has the chassis number under the hood to prove its originality

IMPRESSIVE MOTOR: Only 424 22Bs were ever made, and the brother’s car has the chassis number under the hood to prove its originality


0mph-60mph: 4.5 seconds

Model number: 73 of 400 (Japanese Model)

Top speed: 144mph

Engine size: 2.2ltr

Horsepower: 280hp

Year of production: 1998

Mileage: Less than 30,000 miles

Racism on the roads

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HIGH PRICES: If you live in an area with a majority of ethnic minority residents, you may hefty prices for your car insurance

HIGH PRICES: If you live in an area with a majority of ethnic minority residents, you may hefty prices for your car insurance

Motorists receive ‘ethnic penalty’

A recent study has suggested that motorists living in areas with a high proportion of ethnic minority residents face higher prices for their car insurance.

According to research from Thomson Solicitors, if you own a car and live in an area with a high proportion of ethnic minority households, the chances are you're being charged higher insurance premium prices - regardless of any other factor.

The report suggests that the impact can push premiums as much as £450 higher than the national average, regardless of the driver's own ethnicity.

The study said there was a strong statistical link between the proportion of minority ethnic households in an area and the cost of car insurance, and added that the phenomenon existed in well-off and poorer areas.

It concluded that the way insurers calculated their premiums ‘has definitely produced an inequality of outcome to the detriment of BME [black and minority ethnic] groups’.

The report prompted an angry reaction from the insurance industry, with the main trade body, the Association of British Insurers (ABI), saying it ‘makes serious accusations using a flawed analysis’ and was compiled ‘by people with no understanding of how car insurers price their policies’.

Trevor Phillips, one of the authors of the report and the founding chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said there was 'no hesitation' linking regions with higher proportions of ethnic minority households with higher premium prices based on the figures provided to the analysis team.

He said: “It is clear from our research that the ethnic penalty exists in all regions and in areas of affluence as well as poorer areas.”

Thompson Solicitors said the study was carried out by analysing data sourced from the AA website for all 125 postcodes areas in the UK.

Data analysts Webber Phillips said there is a ‘strong statistical relationship’ – accounting for 60 per cent of the variation - between ethnic minority prevalence and higher insurance premiums in a postcode.

The study found that the additional cost affects an estimated 12 million people – more than one in five UK residents - regardless of the driver’s own ethnic origin and concluded that the variations cannot be accounted for by prevalence of crime, or fear of crime, available claims data or relative affluence.

In the report, Webber Phillips stated: 'What we can say with confidence is that the process of premium setting has definitely produced an inequality of outcome to the detriment of black and ethnic minority groups.'

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, which commissioned the research, said: 'We decided to look into this issue because of the huge variations in premiums across the country and concerns raised with us that there might be a link with ethnicity.”

He added: “This report confirms our fears that the process by which car insurers calculate premiums produces a wholly skewed result.

“It is outrageous that insurers – whether deliberately or through a lack of concern - should allow an outcome that is to the detriment not only of people from ethnic minority backgrounds but anyone else who lives in those areas.”

Last week, the ABI confirmed that the average car insurance premium paid in the second quarter of 2016 was £434, up £5, or one per cent, on the previous quarter and £39, 10 per cent higher - more than the same quarter last year.

Thompsons Solicitors seconded Phillips' calls for more transparency with a response of its own, adding: “Thompsons commissioned this report as we feared – following an initial review of the available data – that direct or indirect discrimination may be taking place.

“The ABI’s response is to be expected but they do not publish data on the factors they cite as influencing ‘claims experience’.

“Our simple reply to the insurance industry is: disprove our research. Publish your data and be transparent in how you calculate claims.'

However, James Dalton, the director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said the findings were not correct.

He said: “Car insurers have never and will never set prices based on ethnicity, as it is ethically wrong and prohibited by the 2010 Equality Act. Premiums are higher in certain parts of the country because claims costs are higher in certain parts of the country,” he said.

“This report was compiled without any consultation with the insurance industry, by people with no understanding of how car insurers price their policies, and was paid for by a firm of solicitors with a vested interest in fuelling the compensation culture.”

The authors of the report, commissioned by Thompsons Solicitors, said that without access to data held by insurers, they could not rule out the possibility of other factors having a role to play, such as taste in vehicles, the age of the driver and immigration status.

Motorists to have say on laws surrounding driverless cars

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DRIVERLESS: Automated and driverless cars are expected to arrive from the mid-2020s

DRIVERLESS: Automated and driverless cars are expected to arrive from the mid-2020s

British drivers can have their say on rules surrounding driverless vehicles as part of a consultation process launched by the Department for Transport.

Under proposed measures, it will soon be possible to insure autonomous vehicles for use on UK roads.

The Highway Code will also be altered to ensure advanced driver assistance systems that park vehicles by remote control and change lane on the motorway can be safely used.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Driverless car technology will revolutionise the way we travel and deliver better journeys. Britain is leading the way but I want everyone to have the chance to have a say on how we embrace and use these technologies.

“Our roads are already some of the safest in the world and increasingly advanced driver assist and driverless technologies have the potential to help cut the number of accidents further.”

The proposed changes to insurance regulations will be brought forward in the Modern Transport Bill. Vehicle insurance will stay compulsory, but will be extended to cover product liability for autonomous cars.

In the event of an accident, the insurer will still pay out but will then be able to claim money back from the car manufacturer if the vehicle is found to be at fault.

Cars featuring advanced driver assistance features such as motorway assist and remote control parking are expected to go on sale in the UK in two to four years’ time. Automated and driverless cars are expected to arrive from the mid-2020s.
To take part in the consultation, visit The consultation runs for nine weeks from July 11th.

Unfiltered fury of 600PS V12 soundtrack

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Q by Aston Martin build the ultimate open-top Vantage for hardcore visceral thrill

Aston Martin has just unveiled its most-extreme two-seater ever in the unique form of the one-off Vantage GT12 Roadster.

The tailor made customer commission undertaken by Q by Aston Martin of the Vantage GT12 Roadster takes the original Vantage GT12 Coupe’s hardcore ethos and adds the visceral thrill of open-top driving, offering the driver an intensified sensation of exhilaration and the unfiltered fury of a 600PS V12 soundtrack.

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Conceived and delivered within a nine-month period, the Vantage GT12 Roadster draws its origins from the Vantage GT12 Coupe, with a special 600PS version of the brand’s 6.0-litre normally aspirated V12 engine mated to a seven-speed Sportshift IIItm paddle-shift transmission.

Technical highlights include magnesium inlet manifolds with revised geometry, a lightweight magnesium torque tube and a full titanium exhaust system.

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The most visible differences are the significant number of new carbon-fibre body panels, while beneath the skin a unique suspension helps ensure the Vantage GT12 Roadster shares the same exceptional handling characteristics as the Vantage GT12 Coupe. Naturally being a product of Q by Aston Martin, the Roadster also features bespoke paint and trim.

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The Vantage GT12 Roadster is a significant landmark, for it is the first time a customer has been able to call upon the full scope of Aston Martin’s design and engineering capabilities as part of the Q by Aston Martin bespoke commission service.

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Initially offered as a means of providing fully personalised colour and trim combinations, the service has been continually expanded.

With the incorporation of Aston Martin Advanced Operations - the team responsible for the original Vantage GT12 Coupe, along with low volume in-house projects such as the Aston Martin Vulcan, Lagonda Taraf and One-77 - customers can now commission highly ambitious full-scale design and engineering projects.

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Dr Andy Palmer, Aston Martin President and CEO, commented: “The Vantage GT12 Roadster is a hugely exciting project. Not just because it’s sensational to look at, but because it vividly demonstrates the expanded capabilities of Q by Aston Martin.
“By incorporating the exceptional engineering capabilities of Aston Martin Advanced Operations within the Q by Aston Martin bespoke commissioning service we have a truly formidable creative team.”

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Lethal facelift

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Already alluring Maserati Quattroporte gets restyling and state-of-the art tech

After three and a half years of unprecedented success in the international markets, the Maserati Quattroporte has undergone a substantial restyling that accentuates its elegance without altering its signature Maserati personality.

The restyled Maserati Quattroporte, representing the quintessence of Italian sports saloons, is available this month and is destined to continue a success story that started in 2013. Since its initial launch, the iconic Maserati flagship model has been delivered to over 24,000 customers in 72 countries.

The exterior of the restyled Quattroporte is recognisable with a new bumper design with a matte black profile at the front and the matte black extractor at the rear. The front grille is more pointed and imposing, and it introduces new vertical chrome elements that contrast with the deepness of the shark nose effect.

Other distinguishing details of the new beast are the matte black side skirts and the exterior mirrors, which have been slightly restyled to incorporate new technical elements.

An electrically adjustable Air Shutter has been fitted in the front grille between the air vents and the engine's radiator. The Air Shutter provides optimal control of the engine's fluid temperature and, together with the optimisation of the new front and rear bumpers, air conveyor and flat bottom, improves the aerodynamic drag of the car by 10%.

The improvements to the interior were introduced to enhance the purity of the model by underlining only the functional parts. This takes place through the clean integration of the new interface elements with the infotainment area and tunnel console.

Specifically, the redesigned central dashboard now accommodates a capacitive high resolution 8.4" screen with multi-touch function.

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This area is now characterised by a continuous technical element that integrates the screen, new climate control and new drawer in a single seamless design, emphasizing the pure volume composition typical of the Quattroporte.

The central, lower console has also been redesigned and now features a rotary knob for volume and function control, a new lid, and phone storage compartment. The stylistic approach to these functional elements permits a minimalist design approach for the centre of the dashboard.

The new infotainment system is compatible with both the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring functions.

A new package of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems is available as an option in the new Quattroporte. It includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop&Go, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning with Advanced Brake Assist and Automated Emergency Braking. An additional new Surround View Camera is available as an option in combination with the Driver Assistance package.

All Maserati Quattroporte cars are now equipped with an Air Quality Sensor, a feature that substantially improves comfort levels for the occupants on-board. This system combines an intelligent sensor and a signal analysis system that calculates the external pollution levels and prevents polluted air and toxic gases from entering the cabin.

Since its beginnings, Maserati has represented the perfect blend of luxury and sportiness thanks to its race-bred engineering.

With the restyling of the flagship Quattroporte, Maserati launches a new range strategy to offer its highly demanding clientele the additional choice of two unique trim options that emphasise the two key pillars of the brand's DNA: GranLusso and GranSport.

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The two highly distinctive trims are available as an upgrade for all Quattroporte V6 powertrain versions (Quattroporte Diesel, Quattroporte, Quattroporte S, Quattroporte S Q4). Both trims will be priced at the same level across the range.

The top of the range version, the Quattroporte GTS, which features the twin-turbo V8, will be available exclusively with either the GranLusso or GranSport trims as part of the standard equipment.

Each trim level was conceived to meet the needs of customers that seek a distinctive and unique product in the executive saloon segment.

GranLusso and GranSport are immediately recognisable thanks to their distinct exterior design and unique interiors.

The GranLusso trim reinterprets the concept of luxury in a race-bred engineered luxury saloon by enhancing the exterior finish and improving in-cabin comfort for driver and passengers.

It offers a higher level of luxury using exclusive materials and special features in the finest tradition of Italian craftsmanship.

GranLusso is distinctive for a new front lower fascia design with an elegant floating bridge element and a delicate spoiler, detailed by the chrome bumper finish and the body colour bumper profiles. The profile incorporates side skirts, while on the rear the look is even cleaner, characterised by a sculptured retroreflector and a body coloured spoiler; the exterior look is completed by 20" Mercurio rims and black painted brake calipers.

In the cabin, the soul of the GranLusso is epitomised by the Ermenegildo Zegna Edition interior that features a patented silk fabric, unique in the industry, on the seats, doors, headliner and sun visors; the seat tailoring details and the label behind the sun visors make this version unique and exclusive.

The cabin ambience is further refined thanks to the exclusive open pore Radica wood on the dashboard and the leather steering wheel with wooden inserts. The trim integrates comfort-oriented equipment like the power foot pedals, the electric rear sunblind, the four-zone air conditioning, the heated rear seat and the extended keyless entry.

The GranSport trim underscores the sporty character of the Maserati Quattroporte while enhancing the aggressive appearance of the car. Thanks to new exterior design cues and interior content that reflect the legendary racing heritage of the Maserati brand.

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On the front of the Quattroporte GranSport, the dedicated restyling for the centre and side air intakes improves the cooling function while showcasing an aggressive front area. The lower fascia is linked to the grille with aerodynamically-inspired splits. The back is characterised by an evident composition between a centre fuselage and two side pockets that focus the attention on the exhausts. An aggressive black piano spoiler completes the rear view.

The Maserati Quattroporte GranSport is fitted with 21" Titano rims and features a glossy black finish on the bumpers, red brake calipers and blue inserts in the front Trident and side Saetta badge as well as blue Tridents on the wheel centres. As an option, the front grille of the GranSport can be ordered in a glossy black finish.

The interior of the GranSport includes redesigned front and rear seats, with their sculptured profiles, to improve sporty driving performances while a new sports steering wheel, in carbon fibre or full leather, creates a strong identity.

The high gloss Piano Black wood trim on the dashboard, the brand new sports seats, the sport steering wheel fitted with aluminium gearbox paddles and the stainless steel sport pedals, all promise a truly sporty experience.

A further opportunity for customization is available in the form of the optional Exterior Carbon Pack for the GranSport trim, to further enhance the sporty exterior. This pack features external mirrors, door handles and b-pillar cover plus the profile of the front bumper in carbon fibre.

Engine-wise, the Quattroporte remains faithful to its traditions with a very wide range of engines and transmissions starting with the Quattroporte GTS, powered by the immense 530 hp 3.8 litre Ferrari-produced V8 Twin-Turbo with rear wheel drive, capable of a peak torque of 710 Nm and able to propel the car to 310 km/h, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 4.7 seconds.

The Maserati Quattroporte is also available with the 410 hp 3.0 litre Ferrari-produced V6 Twin-Turbo, with rear wheel drive (Quattroporte S) or with Q4, the intelligent all-wheel-drive system available for the Quattroporte S Q4. At the top of the class for both versions are the 550 Nm of torque and the 286 km/h top speed, with the S Q4 variant accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds and the rear-wheel-drive Quattroporte S version in 5.1 seconds.

Based on the same V6 architecture, the Quattroporte is also available in specific markets with 350 hp, 20 hp more than in the previous version, capable of delivering a powerful drive with a torque of 500 Nm, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds and a faster top speed of 270 km/h.

The range is completed by the Quattroporte Diesel; equipped with a 3.0-litre V6 Turbo, it delivers 600 Nm of torque with 275 hp, retaining a top speed of 252 km/h and a quick 0-100 km/h figure of just 6.4 seconds.

All versions of the Quattroporte are fitted with state-of-the-art ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and electronically-controlled Skyhook shock absorbers; with an ideal 50:50 weight distribution and an extensive use of aluminium in the chassis, body and suspension, performance and comfort are again unparalleled.

Red and yellow and purple and green…

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Enticing and exciting exterior finishes for BMW i8 to reflect the owner’s personality

Possibly the carmaker’s most striking creation ever, the BMW i8 is probably one of the most crucial cars of the decade with it’s design, performance and efficiency.

It’s 1.5 litre three cylinder turbo engine outputs a brutal performance, with a 4.4-second 0-62mph sprint and top speed of 155mph, not quite Ferrari territory, but will certainly give most Porsche 911’s a bit of a fright and the runs to the Audi R8!

And now, customers who had a £104,540 burning their pockets to buy the i8, can choose from a multitude of extraordinary paint finishes which not only complements the BMW i8s styling but also reflects their personal style. This comes for those lucky few at an additional £5,495 – “small-change” you might call it.

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The new colours include: Java Green, Speed Yellow, Solar Orange, Twilight Purple Pearl, Frozen Grey, Frozen Black, San Marino Blue and Grigio Telesto Pearl to name just a few.

A variety of finishes are available including non-metallic, metallic or Xirallic, which uses a mixture of synthetic mica or aluminium flakes to produce scintillating effects.

Even more striking is the matt finish of the frozen paintwork, which has a unique shimmer, making the contours of the BMW i8 even more striking and underlining the sculptural character of the vehicle.

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The addition of the new BMW Individual paint programme for the BMW i8 follows the success of the early orders for the Protonic Red limited edition and is bespoke to the UK.

With over 1,400 BMW i8s sold in the UK since the launch in 2014, the BMW i8 has gone from strength to strength, picking up many accolades along the way including Top Gear Car of the year in 2014, 2015 UK Car of the Year and World Green Car Award to name a few.

With its clever hybrid drivetrain, the i8 boasts an output of 362bhp and 570Nm of torque. It can also cover up to 23 miles in electric only mode, and takes BMW’s EfficientDynamics philosophy to a new high, posting emissions of just 49g/km and a combined consumption figure of 134.5mpg in the process.

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JR AUTOBODIES: Leeds customisation team sets the standard in independent automotive bodyshop work

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A family team with over a dozen experienced engineers and mechanics have been setting the standards in adding, modifying and completely face-lifting the look of cars for over 30 years.

From light automobile conversions to installing full-blown sensational body styling kits to cars, all of which is insurance approved, the team at JR Autobodies knows how to enhance curb appeal for any motor.

The team run a tight workshop, which boasts over 11,000sqft of workspace. Armed with the latest technology and customising gear, the garage has worked on everything from write-offs to Ferraris and Lambos that have come through the doors.

Over the last three decades, the Leeds company has been providing MOTs and bodywork repairs for drivers across the region and has fast become one of the country’s most renowned independent garages.

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It was in 1982 that brothers, Ajmare Riyat and Jasmer Riyat, first set up the business with their father after realising a need to provide quality MOT services in Leeds.

Starting life in humble beginnings, the business began operating out of a ‘shack-like’ building, just big enough to fit one car – a complete contrast of operations now.

Today, the business is booming, with JR Autobodies growing into Yorkshire’s largest independent body shop and MOT Centre, undertaking insurance approved repairs to custom and bespoke styling to meet their customer’s desires.

Their onsite MOT point has been classed as green light, a high standard mostly only achieved by leading main dealer workshops.

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Meanwhile, a team of engineers and mechanics can provide any bodywork refinish job needed, with the highest quality re-sprays and vehicle jigging service available at the most competitive prices.

Whether it’s refinishing your paintwork back to the new factory finish or making your car stand out from the crowd, with limitless custom designs and colours it’s possible at JR Autobodies.

All work is guaranteed to bring your car back to the original factory finish- which very few can achieve.

For all insurance work booked in, a free courtesy car is also provided by the garage when required, to ensure minimum disruption to their customer’s daily routine. Likewise, if an accident is not the driver’s fault, a like-for-like vehicle is also provided for the duration of the repair.

Big alloys, full resprays, and bringing old models back to life is a passion of JR Autobodies. Make them your first choice when it comes to looking after your motor.


Address: 173 Harehills Lane,


LS8 3QE     

Phone: 0113 235 0460

Surprise for new MX-5

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Mazda has recently unveiled a surprise new MX-5 with an electrically folding hard-top roof, despite claiming the car would always stick to a canvas top.

The Japanese firm had said the fourth-generation would be soft-top only, in the interests of keeping weight down to the incredible target of just one tonne without a driver.

But at the New York International Auto Show Mazda unexpectedly revealed a new variant called the RF, with a type of roof not before seen on a Mazda.

A body panel behind the seats lifts completely out of the way, just like on the Porsche 911 Targa, letting the roof fold neatly away before the panel is lowered again.


The panel incorporates chunky C-pillars that double as classic racing car-style aerodynamic humps behind the two seats, but the system is a significant amount heavier than the manual soft-top. So much so that Mazda is as-yet unwilling to confirm the increase.

Mazda says the boot is no smaller despite the extra cavity that holds the folded lid, but the system is a bit delicate and can only be operated at up to 6mph.

Both current engines will be built for RF models, giving buyers a choice of 129bhp 1.5-litre and 158bhp 2.0-litre units.

There's no word yet on delivery dates or prices, but a modest cost increase is expected over the soft-top car in order to recoup investment on the roof design.

New dimension: Mazda MX-5 RF promises open-top driving fun

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Mazda MX-5 RF - 2 (800x450)

The latest version of the legendary Mazda MX-5 RF sports car offers a new dimension of open-top driving fun, while at the same time staying true to the purpose of Mazda’s previous retractable hardtop MX-5.

Making the roadster experience accessible to a broader range of drivers, the new car features fastback styling with a unique rear roof and retractable back window which delivers a distinctive new convertible feeling.

The power roof opens and closes with the press of a button while moving at speeds of up to 10km/h. The roof itself stows away compactly and efficiently. Despite the sleek design, the MX-5 RF offers the same boot space as the soft-top model.

It will come with a choice of two revvy petrol engines – the SKYACTIV-G 1.5 and SKYACTIV-G 2.0 – mated either to a delightfully crisp shifting six-speed SKYACTIV-MT gearbox or – exclusively for the MX-5 RF – a six-speed automatic.

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Another highlight of the MX-5 RF is the selection of body colours. They include Machine Grey, a new premium colour specially designed to accentuate the subtle yet dynamic surfaces of Mazda’s KODO – Soul of Motion exteriors.

Paint application is crucial here. Mazda progressed its Takuminuri painting technology originally created for Soul Red, Mazda’s first premium colour, to achieve a precise, high-quality finish that looks as if it were hand-painted by a master craftsman. The system uses a three-coat paint structure consisting of colour, reflective and clear coats.

The reflective coat contains extremely thin, high-brightness aluminium flakes, shrinks during the drying process to about one-quarter the thickness of most reflective layers. This causes the flakes to lie flat with regular spacing between each flake for a high-density finish that gives the entire surface a sheen when illuminated and a genuine metallic look.

Brum brum!!! Driverless cars for Brum!

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DRIVERLESS: A prototype of the type of driverless cars that people can expect to see in the near future

DRIVERLESS: A prototype of the type of driverless cars that people can expect to see in the near future

Birmingham will see hi-tech shuttles arrive in the region next year

A £2.3 million funding package which will bring state-of-the-art driverless cars to Birmingham has been given the green light.

The ‘INSIGHT’ project, an industry and academia partnership, will see autonomous vehicles pull into city centre streets after the cash was secured from the government’s £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund - aimed at developing autonomous vehicles in the UK.

For people who are blind, visually impaired or have problems with mobility, the driverless cars will improve access to transport. The cars will also cut congestion and lower emissions.

The project will see two hi-tech shuttles arrive in the region from next year which will be tested over the course of a pilot period.

INSIGHT will focus on improving the accessibility of transport for people who have difficulty traveling independently, as well as on the safety, reliability and integration of autonomous vehicles into an urban environment.

Britain will need to capitalise on new technologies like driverless vehicles, securing high skilled jobs and contribute to a more prosperous future for the whole of the country.
The cars will be built by modifying existing Heathrow Ultra-pod vehicles to incorporate state-of-the-art 3D imaging and innovative sensors for navigation and safety.

The vehicles will feature the world’s first four-dimensional tactile display which will provide continuous sensory feedback for blind users over the course of their journeys.

Advanced indoor and outdoor positioning systems will allow blind users to know their exact locations using a smartphone app and will link to a cloud-based system which will allow nearby vehicles to be virtually requested or ‘hailed’.

Dr Umar Daraz, Director for the Institute of Sustainable Futures at Birmingham City University, said: “We are witnessing the start of the next automotive revolution in the region that will place the city at the forefront of this technological revolution, opening new opportunities for our economy, society and engineers of the future.

“Driverless vehicles for mobility of all of our citizens will become a reality in the very near future and this project represents a major milestone in realising that vision.”

Academics and researchers at Birmingham City University will work alongside Birmingham City Council to compile detailed safety cases for the use of driverless vehicles and run trials with members of the public including blind or visually impaired citizens in 2017.

Julian Turner, CEO Westfield Sportscars, said: “The UK is in an excellent position to become a world leader by reducing congestion on our roads and helping the environment in the process by lowering emissions.

“This will lead to the generation of new opportunities and highly skilled jobs across the country, keeping the UK at the forefront of this technology.

“The INSIGHT project will provide public confidence that proper safeguards are in place for the citizens and road users alike, and the trials will go a long way to understand the needs of the users of this exciting means of mobility.”

Roger Wilson-Hinds, Conigital Group said INSIGHT would strive to create a new paradigm in mobility for all citizens in the streets of a future smart city.

“Autonomous Vehicles will for the first time provide a truly inclusive and tailored transport solution to encompass those that are often overlooked, senior citizens and blind/visually impaired people in our growing communities to become economically and socially active rather than isolated and dependent.”

Visual Drama

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F-Type British Design Edition an embodiment of Jaguar

From the moment it was unveiled, the Jaguar F-TYPE gained global recognition as a great contemporary British design – including the prestigious World Car Design of the Year accolade – and now its appeal has been further enhanced by the creation of the exclusive British Design Edition.

Based on the F-TYPE S Coupé and Convertible, and featuring a range of visual enhancements and additional equipment, the British Design Edition is offered in a specially-selected colour palette inspired by the Union Jack: Caldera Red, Glacier White and – new to the F-TYPE range – Ultra Blue. Ultimate Black is also available.

The Jaguar F-TYPE British Design Edition will be available in Coupé and Convertible body styles.  Power comes exclusively from the 380PS/ 460Nm supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, matched to the eight-speed Quickshift transmission all-wheel drive.

Behind the 20-inch Cyclone wheels with unique Satin Grey finish is an uprated braking system featuring red calipers (black is available as an option).

Winner of more than 140 awards since its launch in 2012, the all-aluminium Jaguar F-TYPE is not only the embodiment of Jaguar DNA - it is the definitive British sports car.

Befitting its status, the F-TYPE British Design Edition model is offered in Caldera Red, Glacier White and – new to the F-TYPE range – Ultra Blue.

Replacing the aluminium of the F-TYPE S, carbon fibre trim is used on the centre console – this is also complete with British Design Edition branding. The texture and satin finish of this material complements the premium Jet leather interior perfectly.

Thanks to repackaging of key components at the rear of the vehicle, all 2017 model year F-TYPE convertibles offer an additional eight litres of luggage space.

The standard specification of the British Design Edition also includes upgraded audio compared to the F-TYPE S, equipping vehicles with the InControl Touch infotainment system benefit from a 380W Meridian system with 10 speakers. There is also the option of the InControl Touch Plus system delivers 770W of Meridian surround sound through 12 speakers.

Both InControl Touch and InControl Touch Plus support the familiar InControl Apps and InControl Remote features, but the InControl Remote App is now available for the Apple Watch. Interacting with the vehicle – from anywhere in the world – has never been easier.

Functionality is similar to the current InControl Remote smartphone app, so drivers will be able to use their Apple Watch to lock and unlock the vehicle, check how much fuel is in the tank and find it on a map. It’s even possible to set the climate control and start the engine to bring the cabin to the desired temperature before the journey begins.

The Jaguar F-Type British Design Edition is priced from £75,225 for Coupé version, and £80,390 for Convertible with customer deliveries begin Spring 2016.

BMW Group achieves 5th consecutive record sales

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BMW X4 mit M Performance Parts

2015 was the most successful year ever for the BMW Group with annual sales setting a new record for the fifth year in a row.

A total of 2,247,485 BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles were delivered to customers around the world last year, an increase of 6.1% on the previous year. December 2015 saw 213,537 BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles sold (-0.8%).

BMW also achieved a fifth consecutive annual sales record, with the brand delivering 1,905,234 vehicles to customers in 2015, an increase of 5.2% on the previous year. The brand’s sales for December were close to the outstanding result of the previous year with a total of 176,681 BMW’s delivered to customers (-0.7%).

Products throughout the BMW range achieved significantly higher sales in 2015, compared with the year before. The BMW 2 Series is proving very popular with customers with a total of 157,144 sold in the year. With a total of over 107,000 units sold, the BMW 2 Series Active and Gran Tourer sold extremely well in their first full year, accounting for over two-thirds of those sales.

Similarly successful was the BMW 4 Series, where sales increased by 27.4% to total 152,390. Deliveries of the BMW X4 more than doubled to a total of 55,050 (+153.8%). Overall, the BMW X family continues to be a significant growth driver for the brand with sales of the BMW X5 up 14.1% to total 168,143 worldwide and deliveries of the BMW X6 increasing by over 50% to 46,305.

BMW i sales increased by 65.9% in 2015 with a total of 29,513 units delivered to customers. The keys to a total of 24,057 BMW i3s were handed over to customers around the world (+49.9%) while sales of the BMW i8 reached a total of 5,456.

Mini achieved a new all-time annual sales record in 2015 with a total of 338,466 vehicles delivered to customers worldwide, an increase of 12.0% compared with the previous year. A total of 127,194 Mini 3 doors were sold around the world in 2015 (+0.2%) while 94,788 customers took delivery of a Mini 5 door. The new Mini Clubman, which went on sale in October, was delivered to 8,003 customers.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announced the second highest sales record in the brand’s 112-year history. The Goodwood-based brand delivered 3,785 units (-6.8%) to customers globally during 2015. Sales were driven by the success of Wraith and Ghost family motor cars in all regions, whilst Phantom remains the company’s pinnacle product, reaffirming its status as the world’s most desirable super-luxury good.

The new Rolls-Royce Dawn drophead was unveiled in September, breaking all previous records for pre-orders. First customer deliveries will take place in Q2 2016.

Almost one million BMWs and Minis were sold in Europe in 2015. The region was a significant growth driver with annual sales totalling 999,669 (+9.4%). Many markets in the region achieved double-digit sales growth in 2015 with deliveries in Great Britain, BMW Group’s fourth largest market, up 12.7% (230,652) whilst sales in France increased 15.0% (77,577). Southern European markets also continued recovering well with sales up 19.2% (45,550) in Spain and up 12.3% (71,173) in Italy.

The Americas achieved a 2.8% increase in sales of BMW and Mini vehicles in 2015, with a total of 494,629 units delivered to customers in the region. In 2015, a total of 404,537 BMWs and Minis were sold to customers in the USA (+2.2%) while sales in Canada climbed 10.1% to total 42,052 and Mexico achieved a sales increase of 17.3% (17,475).

In Asia, sales of BMW and Mini increased by 4.2% in 2015, with a total of 684,121 vehicles sold in the region. In 2015, a total of 463,736 BMW and Minis were sold in Mainland China (+1.7%). In South Korea, 54,575 customers took delivery of a new BMW or MINI, an increase of 17.6%, while sales in Japan rose 8.1% to total 69,199.
Once again, BMW Motorrad also sold considerably more Motorcycles and Maxi-Scooters in 2015 than in the previous year. It was the fifth consecutive year that the BMW Group’s Motorrad segment achieved a new all-time high. With 136,963 (prev. yr. 123,495) vehicles delivered in 2015, BMW Motorrad achieved a growth of 10.9% on the previous year. In December, deliveries also increased to reach a new all-time high of 7,497 units (prev. yr. 7,032) and a growth of 6.6%.

Limited edition to mark anniversary

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S63 AMG 4Matic Cabriolet Edition 130 MAIN (800x600)

Mercedes announces S63 AMG 4Matic Cabriolet Edition 130

Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler invented the automobile in 1886. In so doing, they established a tradition of constant further developments and innovative new creations that continue to this day.

Mercedes-Benz's sports car and performance brand are now celebrating this 130th anniversary with the exclusive special edition Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic Cabriolet "Edition 130" – and yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful!

Aside from the long name, the Edition 130 features expressive design of the exterior and interior, and more significantly a 585bhp, 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8- engine with 430 kW (585 HP) output and 900 Nm maximum torque.

The performance-oriented 4MATIC all-wheel drive, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and the high performance composite brake system leave nothing to be desired.

Limited to only 130 set for production, the Edition will celebrate its world premiere at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

With the high-gloss special colour "alubeam silver" paint finish, the Bordeaux red fabric top and the matt black 20-inch 10-spoke wheels with high-sheen rim flanges, the Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic Cabriolet "Edition 130" presents an exclusive version of the open-top four seater.

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The exclusive designo nappa leather upholstery in Bengal red/black or optionally crystal grey/black as well as the trim elements in AMG carbon/piano lacquer black also underscore the special position of this limited edition, of which there are only 130 available. A badge in the middle console and an engraving on the steering wheel bezel also highlight this fact. Brake calipers painted red and floor mats with Bengal red or crystal grey edging round off the visual impression.

Every customer receives a tailor-made AMG Indoor Car Cover with the embroidered lettering "Edition 130 - 1 of 130" to protect this valuable vehicle from dust in the garage. Furthermore, at the handover of the keys the customer receives the Welcome Package with an Edition 130 badge key ring and an aluminium box for the handing over of the vehicle's key.

"The first automobiles from Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler were open vehicles. Mercedes-AMG honours this achievement of the founding fathers with this highly exclusive cabriolet, and demonstrates the developments the automobile has undergone in the last 130 years, developments which would have been inconceivable at that time", according to Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

Radical road rationing for Delhi’s cars

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ODD-EVEN SCHEME: A radical road rationing plan has been implemented by the government in India

ODD-EVEN SCHEME: A radical road rationing plan has been implemented by the government in India

Indian city is now the most polluted in the world

New Delhi, India’s capital city which is home to over 20 million people, has made a bid to tackle its shocking air pollution.

Polluted air in the city has reached a record-breaking high, and now a plan to ban cars from travelling on alternate days over the first two weeks of this year has been implemented.

The radical road rationing plan kicks in from the New Year as the city aims to clean up its filthy air.

The ‘odd-even scheme’ has been introduced to the city, where private cars will be allowed on the roads only on alternate days from 1st  January to the 15th, depending on whether their license plates end in an odd or even number.

This initiative has been taken to help cleanse the capital’s toxic air, which has reached one of the highest levels of pollution, compared to other big cities in the world.

In 2014, the World Health Organisation had released data on air quality levels in 1,600 cities around the world, and New Delhi was found to have the highest concentration of polluted air.

A lungful of air in Delhi means a breathful of a harmful mix of noxious fumes, smoke, dust and ash, with heavy concentrations of chemicals, acids, metals and carcinogens.

The air is particularly deadly because of its size. The particles are small enough to pass through the nose and throat, and even penetrate through tissue.

However, vehicles aren’t completely to blame for the smoggy air.

Road dust, which is a high concentration of metals such as Copper, Manganese, Nickel, Barium and Zinc, is a major cause of pollution in Delhi.

The road dust is the result of poor roads, heavy traffic and incessant construction.

An equally alarming cause of pollution is how the people in Delhi handle their rubbish.

When piles of trash are burnt, harmful chemicals are released into the air.

The harmful air contains a class of chemicals that are associated with heart attacks, cancer and neurological diseases.

Other measures proposed to clear up Delhi’s pollution include the vacuum-cleaning of roads, as well as a plantation drive along its roads to control how much dust gets circulated.

The odd-even plan clearly won’t be enough to stem the smog unless these other, less-publicised plans of the government kick in.

24 carat gold paintwork for bespoke beauty

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McLaren unveils bespoke 650S Al Sahara exclusively for the Middle East

McLaren Automotive debuted an exclusive 650S project bespoke to the Middle East, as the covers have come off the 650S Spider Al Sahara 79 by MSO.

The special edition model lines up alongside the 570S Coupé and a customised example of the McLaren P1™ at the Dubai International Motor Show 2015 as McLaren showcases the recently announced three model tiers – the Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series – in the region together for the first time.

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The 650S Spider Al Sahara 79 has been developed by McLaren Special Operations –the division of the company responsible for bespoke craftsmanship – and is available exclusively for Middle East customers.

The uniquely formulated paint scheme and bespoke specification have been inspired by the styles, cultures and landscape of the region, and contribute to the name of the latest MSO model.

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‘Al Sahara’ translates from the Arabic for desert, and the crisp pearlescent white gold paintwork has a subtle shimmer, inspired by the golden sands, which form such a distinctive part of the Middle Eastern landscape. This unique paint finish is achieved through the addition of 24 carat gold particles. The precious metal, associated with opulence and luxury throughout the region has an atomic number of 79.

Contrasting detailing on the exterior of the 650S Spider Al Sahara 79 includes a retractable hard top and lightweight forged alloy wheels finished in gloss black. Carbon fibre is used for the side intakes, front splitter and rear diffuser, while aggressive, full-length carbon fibre MSO-branded Side Blades provide a more purposeful and sculpted appearance.

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McLaren 650s Sahara-29 (300x450)A fully custom-zoned interior features black and Almond White leather upholstered electrically-adjustable sports seats with contrasting stitching, with the Al Sahara 79 paint scheme carried through to the steering wheel, centre console and door panels around the heating and ventilation controls. A dark golden finish has been applied to all switchgear and heating vents.

Power comes from the multi-award-winning mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine seen in the 650S Coupe and 650S Spider, producing 650S PS (641bhp) at 7,250rpm and 678NM (500lb ft) of torque. Performance and economy figures remain unchanged, with zero to 62mph (100km/h) reached in 3.0 seconds, and a top speed of 204 mph (329km/h), while achieving 24.2mpg (EU combined) cycle and CO2 emissions of 275g/km.

The Middle East boasts one of the highest levels of MSO customisation globally, with more than 25 percent of all models bound for the region containing an element of bespoke content. This ranges from unique colours, stitching, leathers and aerodynamic upgrades. Design consultations with owners in the Middle East highlighted a desire to see special editions unique to the region resulting in the bespoke project design team at MSO researching regional and local trends, cultures and tastes.

McLaren 650s Sahara-36 (300x450)The McLaren 650S Spider Al Sahara 79 by MSO has a retail price of 1,456,308 AED.

Commenting on the 650S Spider Al Sahara 79 by MSO, Ian Gorsuch, Regional Director Middle East & Africa, McLaren Automotive explained: “McLaren Automotive is a true pioneer in its approach to the design and development of high performance sports and supercars, and the 650S Spider Al Sahara 79 by MSO is evidence of that. This truly unique project – our first in the Middle East – is inspired by a region that is home to some of our most loyal customers.

“Since launching the brand back in 2011, McLaren Automotive has built extremely close links with the Middle East region. The Sports Series, as the third and final product tier in the model range is, is an extremely important and exciting addition to the line-up alongside the Super and Ultimate Series.

“We are delighted to show examples of each Series for the first time together in the region here at the Dubai International Motor Show, underlining how far the company has progressed in such a short period of time.”

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In addition to the 650S Spider Al Sahara 79, which represents the McLaren Super Series at the Dubai International Motor Show, examples of both the Sports Series and Ultimate Series will be on display. This marks the first time each of the three tiers has been publicly shown together in the Middle East.

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The 570S Coupé is the first model in the recently launched Sports Series, and introduces McLaren design, engineering and performance to the sports car market. The vehicle on display is finished in Ventura Orange with a focus on sport through carbon fibre exterior upgrades, sports exhaust, by McLaren Sport Design interior and carbon fibre interior pack. Pricing for the Sports Series starts from 650,000 AED, with deliveries set to commence in the region from next month.

Alongside the newest addition to the McLaren Automotive range is a unique example of the most powerful – the 916PS (903bhp) McLaren P1™.

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Commissioned by a Middle Eastern customer, the bespoke model features significant MSO content and is finished in white with subtle McLaren Orange detailing to highlight key design characteristics across the aerodynamically-optimised bodywork. Customisation continues in the cabin through a blend of raw carbon and contrasting black and orange Alcanatara®.  
The McLaren 650S Spider Al Sahara 79 will make its global debut on Stand SS100, Sheikh Saeed Hall 1 at the Dubai International Motor Show, 10-14 November.

McLaren 650s Spider Al Sahara 79 by MSO detail 1 (617x411)

Elegant yet aggressive

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The GS F puts Lexus back in the performance sports car melee

Armed with a potent 467 horsepower 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 and tuned suspension, the GS F puts Lexus back in the performance sports sedan melee.

With excellent handling developed on the most demanding race circuits, including the legendary Nürburgring, its elegant-yet-aggressive styling effectively characterises the essence of Lexus' performance-oriented "F" brand .

The engine carries over from the RC F coupe, along with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. Robust 15-inch front rotors are squeezed by six-piston calipers and lurk behind 19-inch wheels shod by Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. The exterior looks the part of a true executive express, while the interior has grippy seats and lots of carbon-fiber trim.

While it's more than capable of taking on a twisty mountain road, the Lexus GS F is still a car that's ideal for everyday use. It seats five comfortably in a luxuriously appointed cabin filled with high-tech amenities and advanced safety technologies, including standard Lexus Safety System.

Arriving in December as a 2016 model, it aims to compete with the likes of Audi’s RS7, BMW’s M5, and Cadillac’s CTS-V, as well as the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.

The heart of the exciting new Lexus GS F is undoubtedly its naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8, which has been finely tuned to reach a 7,300-rpm redline. Free-breathing 32-valve cylinder heads take full advantage of this engine's reduced internal friction, and aggressive valvetrain.

Add to the mix optimised intake and exhaust manifolds, and the seamless operation of a high-performance-tuned Variable Valve Timing (VVT-iE) that delivers optimal power in all situations, and the result is an engine that delivers 467 horsepower (477 PS / 351 kW) at 7.100 rpm and 530 Nm (389 lb.-ft.) of torque at 4.800-5.600 rpm, allowing for acceleration times of 0-60 mph in 4.5s and 0-100 km/h in 4.6s.

lexus-gsf-1 (800x533)

In addition to producing plenty of power, the GS F's V8 is also remarkably efficient, thanks in part to the tuning of its high-pressure D-4S direct injection system (Direct injection 4-stroke gasoline engine Superior version), which allows the engine to operate with a very high compression ratio of 12.3:1.

Another important factor in maximizing power and efficiency in a high-performance engine is to include a precision-engineered exhaust system.

Additionally, to help enhance the sound quality of the exhaust note, a high-function baffle has been placed near the exhaust tips that utilises stainless steel wool as well as glass wool to help achieve a more baritone exhaust note. The exhaust tip design is aesthetically pleasing thanks to the implementation of a stylish baffle end cap structure integrated into the low-slung bumper section that envelops it, giving the setup a very tidy-yet-aggressive appearance at the rear of the vehicle.

Recognising that sound is a key ingredient of the "F" brand formula, Lexus engineers have taken the auditory experience of the GS F to a new level with the inclusion of Active Sound Control (ASC).

ASC electronically synthesizes and assists the sound to the engine and the exhaust note in response to accelerator and shift lever operations, then disperses a sonic note via the speakers installed at the front and the rear of the cabin. The driver can manually turn the ASC system on or off with a switch located on the driver's side of the instrument panel.

Although based upon the existing Lexus GS platform, the Lexus GS F possesses different exterior dimensions than those of its counterpart. It measures longer and wider, the result of extended front and rear overhangs, while standing lower to the ground.

Available exterior paint colors include Molten Pearl, Ultrasonic Blue, Ultra White, Atomic Silver, Liquid Platinum, Nebula Gray Pearl, Caviar and Matador Red.

Britain’s most expensive car ever?

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Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato (800x600)

One of the rarest and most highly sought after cars – the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato is set to go up for auction at RM Sotheby's in New York later this with a guide price of $16m (£10m).

If the car sells at the auction on 10th December, it will become the most expensive British car ever sold publicly, beating a McLaren F1 sold in August for £8.8m.

The DB4 GT Zagato is one of only 19 ever made in a partnership between Aston Martin and the Italian Zagato factory. The model is the 14th ever made and was the only one shipped new to Australia.

"Nevermind being the greatest Aston of all time, this is one of the greatest GT cars ever produced," said RM Sotheby's chairman and founder Rob Myers, "It is an absolute jewel of a car."

The car was completed in 1961 and raced extensively during the 1962 season. It returned to England from Australia in 1993 and was restored in 2002.

Originally, the factory planned to produce 25 cars but stopped midway due to a lack of demand. Today, the car's popularity has seen a number of owners of other Aston Martin DB4s modify their cars into Zagato replicas to increase the car's value.

For your eyes only…

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Jaguar Land Rover reveals all of the Bond cars ahead of Spectre release

The Bond films are known for showcasing Aston Martin vehicles, but Jaguar vehicles have been featured more recently as well. In 2012’s “Skyfall,” Jaguar Land Rover showcased the Defender 110 Double Cab pickup and Jaguar XJ.

But now all of the cars to be used in the new James Bond film Spectre have been revealed by Jaguar Land Rover and among the select range is Jaguar’s C-X75 supercar concept that will be used in the film by Hinx, who is played by David Bautista.

Jaguar C-X75

In the new film, the Jaguar C-X75 will star in a chase scene with the Aston Martin DB10.

Other Jaguar Land Rover cars set to be on the big screen are the Range Rover Sport SVR and a Land Rover Defender that has been modified with massive 37-inch off-road tyres.

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All of the cars have been built by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations especially for the film.

Naomie Harris, who reprises her role as Moneypenny in the new film said: “I made my Bond debut in the Defender and I have so many fond memories of shooting that sequence in Istanbul. It’s such a special series of films to be part of and I’m thrilled to be driving more Jaguar Land Rover cars in the new movie.”

Land Rover Defender  (800x531)

Jaguar Land Rover started work on the cars almost immediately after its Special Vehicle Operations division was set up in June 2014. Although the C-X75 was only ever built as a concept car, it was always fully functional, so making it ready for the big screen was relatively simple.

Developing the Land Rover Defender was more complicated as it had to be able to cope with driving in challenging snow-covered terrain and mountain roads. It has additional underbody protection that helped keep the car in one piece during the filming.

Range Rover Sport SVR (800x450)

General Motors facing huge fine

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File photo of General Motors logo outside its headquarters at the Renaissance Center in Detroit

General Motors in the USA is facing a penalty of £577 million for fitting faulty ignition switches to cars 13 years ago.

The problem came to light after a huge recall of affected vehicles that showed the ignition switches in many of GM’s cars would ignore or delay important safety messages due to an internal fault.

Although the final sum of the penalty is yet to be decided by the US Attorney, a figure of $900 million (£577 million) has been put forward and the government’s legal department will insist the fine is paid out of the company’s third quarter earnings of 2015.

The penalty comes on top of GM paying out more than $600 million (£385 million) in compensation to those drivers with cars affected by the faulty ignition switches.

As part of the deal to settle the case, General Motors will avoid any further prosecution if it can show an “acceptance and acknowledgement of responsibility for its conduct” for three years. Effectively, GM has been put on probation and the company will have to set up an independent monitor to review its safety and recall policies.

The notoriously litigation-heavy US government has previously fined C$1.2 billion (£770 million) over its poor record of dealing with safety recalls. It remains the largest fine ever handed out to a car company.

VW Scandal: Almost 2 million vehicles affected in the UK

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(FILE) Volkswagen CEO Martin Wintekorn

Volkswagen CEO Professor Dr. Winterkorn resigns following emissions scandal

Volkswagen has announced 1,189,906 of its vehicles in the UK are affected by the diesel emissions scandal.

VW has admitted that 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide were fitted with defeat device software to deceive testers into believing their vehicles met environmental standards.

Once on the road the cars produced nitrogen oxide pollutants at up to 40 times the legal standard.

It includes diesel-powered cars with the VW brand - Audi, Seat and Skoda as well as VW commercial vehicles.

In the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal dubbed 'dieselgate', it’s CEO Professor Dr. Winterkorn has resigned issuing a statement denying any personal wrongdoing.

The UK Are To Re-run Emissions Tests On Volkswagen Cars After German Scandal

Prof. Dr. Winterkorn's move comes after it was admitted that millions of diesel vehicles built by the Volkswagen Group since 2009 have been fitted with the technology and sophisticated software, which switches engines to a cleaner mode when they are being tested.

In a statement Professor Dr. Winterkorn said: “I am shocked by the events of the past few days. Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.

“As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin commented: "I understand VW are contacting all UK customers affected. I have made clear to the managing director this needs to happen as soon as possible.

"The Government expects VW to set out quickly the next steps it will take to correct the problem and support owners of these vehicles already purchased in the UK."

UK: Cars affected per brand

Volkswagen Passenger Cars - 508,276
Audi - 393,450
SEAT - 76,773
Skoda - 131,569
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles - 79,838

Smoke ‘em

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Ferrari’s 488GTB CONT INSIDE PIC 1 (800x534)

Ferrari’s turbocharged 488GTB is a generational shift of much-loved 458 Italia

Forty years on from the unveiling of its first ever mid-rear-engined V8 model, the 308 GTB, the Prancing Horse opens a new chapter in its 8-cylinder history.

The turbocharged Ferrari 488 GTB -  successor to the much-loved 458 Italia,  provides track-level performance that can be enjoyed to the full even by non-professional drivers in everyday use.

Giving us a generational shift, its new eight-cylinder, mid-engine sports-car standard-bearer is an insane-revving, naturally aspirated V-8 retired in favor of a turbocharged unit. This follows Ferrari’s recent promise that all of its future engines will be turbocharged or hybridized.

The new engine is smaller than its predecessor, and its displacement of 488 cubic centimeters per cylinder gives the car its name: 488GTB. Multiplied by eight, that works out    to 3902 cc for the new 90-degree        V-8, which is mated to, as was the 458’s V-8, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Despite the 0.6-liter reduction in displacement, the new engine makes more power: 661 horsepower at 8000 rpm, versus 597 horsepower at 9000 rpm for the 458 Speciale. Torque, predictably, is greater as well, reaching 561 lb-ft at a low 3000 rpm, far eclipsing the 458 Speciale’s 398 lb-ft.

Like the screaming, naturally aspirated 458, the 488 uses an engine with a flat-plane crankshaft that should help it retain the “seductive soundtrack” that Ferrari promises.

Ferrari’s 488GTB (800x591)

Variable Torque Management helps get the power all the way to the rear wheels posthaste. Ferrari claims that the superquick seven-speed transmission will enable the engine to hit the rev limiter in fourth gear just six seconds after the car leaves from a stop.

The extra oomph shaves only fractions of a second from the official Fiorano lap time compared with the latest and greatest iteration of the 458, the Speciale A (which just debuted last fall). The 488GTB gets around Fiorano in 1:23.0, a half-second quicker than the Speciale A. The two cars both claim a 3.0-second zero-to-62-mph time. As speeds increase, however, the 488GTB shows its advantage, reaching 124 mph in 8.3 seconds, compared to its forebear’s 9.5.

Aside from the revolutionary change affecting the redheaded beauty under the plexiglass cover, the specs indicate that the 488GTB otherwise hews closely to the formula that has been so successful in the 458.

The shapely new body is 1.6 inches longer than the 458 Italia’s, 0.6 inch wider, and identical in height. Ferrari says the new car has less aerodynamic drag but creates 50 percent greater downforce (stated as 717 pounds at 155 mph). Large, body-side air intakes are split into two sections and are supposed to reference the original mid-engine, eight-cylinder Ferrari, the 308. Among the 488’s airflow-managing elements are an “Aero Pillar” on the front end, “vortex generators” underneath, and active flaps in the rear diffuser. A “blown spoiler” (trickle-down Formula 1 technology) funnels air in through a wide channel at the base of the rear window and out the back of the car, just above the license plate.

Ferrari’s quoted “dry weight” (at 3020 pounds) is 22 pounds lighter than it cites for the standard 458 Italia, with 53.5 percent pressing down on the rear wheels. (The forged 20-inch wheels themselves save 18 pounds.) For reference, the lightest 458 Italia we’ve weighed tipped our scales at 3325 pounds in road-ready trim.

Ferrari’s 488GTB CONT INSIDE INSET (800x591)

Inside, there’s much that looks familiar, with the photos showing aggressively bolstered, Daytona-style seats, conventional knobs and switches (no touch screen here), and a complete absence of column stalks. The multifunction steering wheel includes buttons even for lights, wipers, and turn signals, in addition to the damper setting, engine start, and Ferrari’s manettino chassis-control switch. Viewed through the steering wheel is the large, central tachometer with digital gear indicator, and it’s flanked by configurable screens.

New seats and door panels are designed to make the interior more humane. A fresh key design mimics the shape of the engine’s intake plenums and permits passive entry and starting. Optional carbon-fiber trim can cover various parts of the interior (and the exterior aero fillips); also optional are a telemetry system like that in the LaFerrari and a 12-speaker, 1280-watt stereo.

One of the more intriguing bits of technology is Ferrari’s Side Slip Angle Control. It debuted on the 458 Speciale but this time around is “more precise yet less invasive” - which is how we generally like things. It harnesses the electronically controlled rear differential, the traction control system, and now the electronically controlled dampers to enable greater tail-out antics.

First, though, you’ve got to get your hands on one. There’s no word yet on pricing, but for reference, Ferrari currently asks around £160,000 for a 458, so figure something north of there. For those special customers deemed worthy, deliveries of the 488GTB start in Europe in July.

Hot hatch

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Honda Civic Type R 2015 (800x533)

Honda Civic Type R billed as the race car for the road

After a five year wait, 2015 sees the arrival of the world’s most keenly anticipated hot hatch, the Honda Civic Type R. Billed as a ‘race car for the road’, the all-new Honda Civic Type R is powered by the most extreme and high-performing Type R engine ever built, and will set new standards in the high-performance front-wheel drive hatchback segment.

A world-first application of Honda’s new Vtec Turbo engine, a sensuous sporting sound, aggressive function-led styling, and pioneering new chassis technologies combine to deliver one of the most immersive and rewarding driving experiences available in any sector. Civic Type R is equally at home delivering this experience on the road as it is on the track, at the push of a button.

The new 2015 Civic Type R signals the start of a new performance era for Honda, drawing on the brand’s racing DNA to deliver the peak of the Civic line-up.

Red-lining at 7,000 rpm, the engine features an advanced new turbocharging system which incorporates Honda’s legendary Variable Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) technology to boost low-end torque while delivering sustained acceleration.

The new Civic Type R’s performance is unmatched in the front-wheel drive hot hatch segment: the 0-to-62 mph sprint takes just 5.7 seconds and top speed, where permitted, is a class-leading 167 mph. Despite this, the Civic Type R achieves low CO2 emissions of just 170 g/km, high-speed fuel consumption and compliance with Euro 6 emissions regulations.

The new engine has a high compression ratio of 9.8 and is turbocharged, both of which make thermal management particularly important. As a result, the engineering team incorporated numerous cooling technologies, such as cylinder head and piston cooling, sodium-filled exhaust valves and a high-capacity air-to-air intercooler.

The cylinder head has a two-piece water jacket, lowering exhaust gas temperature and effectively lowering the combustion chamber temperature, while each piston individually features a cooling channel to provide increased oil flow. Together, these technologies ensure the engine always delivers a high output even under high load, high speed driving conditions.

A slick-shifting, six-speed manual transmission was chosen to safeguard an intimate, rewarding connection with the driver while making the most of the engine’s high output, strong torque and high revs. Each of the six gear ratios has been optimised for performance and matches the engine’s output and torque curve. For example, the maximum speed of 167mph is achieved in sixth gear when peak power is reached at 6,500 rpm.

Final drive is through an exceptionally responsive helical limited slip differential. This type of differential aids strong cornering traction, even during hard cornering. This technology, when compared to a traditional differential, reduces the new Civic Type R’s lap time by three seconds per lap around the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

The styling changes uniquely applied give the car an aggressive, purposeful stance, yet almost all have a functional purpose. The size of the holes in the front bumper grille, which serve air to the intercooler, are specifically shaped to minimise aerodynamic losses. The sleek and aerodynamically-efficient design reflects a car developed first and foremost to perform at speed. The focus on aerodynamics has ensured a zero lift coefficient and a minimum of drag which provides a class-leading overall aerodynamic performance.

The Civic Type R’s unique aerodynamics utilise specific downforce-generating elements to create overall negative lift which is unusual in the industry and unique for this class in particular. The focus on airflow, not only around but also through the car, ensures negative lift at both axles combined with a minimum of drag. This is particularly noteworthy at the front of the car and allows high speed stability with a class-leading top speed of 167mph.

The structure of the rear wing aerofoil – its angle, height and shape as well as its vertical end plates – have been carefully engineered to optimise downforce on the rear axle without causing a significant increase in drag at higher speeds. This helps improve road-holding abilities, particularly through high-speed corners.

The new Civic Type R’s front and rear wheel arches are widened to accommodate an increase in front and rear track. The integrated arch extensions are in aluminium, providing a 42% weight saving over a conventional steel panel. The vents in the trailing edge of the front wheel arch extension also improve heat dissipation from the brakes.

The front spoilers and door spoilers wear a piano-black gloss finish to highlight the car’s wide and low appearance. At the rear of the car, a pair of dual-exhaust tailpipes emerge prominently at the flanks of the rear diffuser. Clearance between the tailpipe finishers and the piano-black gloss rear diffuser has been reduced to an absolute minimum of around 20 mm. This imbues the car’s rear-view with an extra degree of aggressive tautness.

At the front, running along the lower edge of each combination headlamp cluster is an LED daytime running light. Its sharply ‘up-ticked’ shape, produced using two LED light sources and a light guide, highlights the headlamp’s shape and is the longest lighting element produced by Honda. The rear combination lamps also feature distinctive LED light bars.

New lightweight, high rigidity 19-inch alloy wheels, unique to the new Civic Type R, complement the visual changes. They fill the enlarged wheel arches with 235/35 R19 tyres that were developed specially for the Type R in conjunction with Continental.

The new Civic Type R is available in five distinctive colours that give the purposeful new styling added impact. As well as Championship White – shared with successive generations of iconic Type R vehicles – buyers can choose from Crystal Black (pearlescent), Polished Metal (metallic), Brilliant Sporty Blue (metallic) and Milano Red.

Future of turbo power

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Audi TT clubsport turbo concept

600PS Audi TT concept can propel from 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds!

The atmosphere will be especially highly charged at this year’s Wörthersee Tour festival because it will play host to an Audi TT clubsport turbo concept delivering a colossal 600PS and 650Nm with the help of an innovative electrically driven biturbo compressor that is close to being production ready.
With its stripped-out interior, wider stance and distinctive rear wing the most extreme TT to date is intentionally reminiscent of the thoroughbred Audi 90 IMSA GTO race car of the late 1980s, so it is guaranteed to make an impact at Austria’s annual meeting for Volkswagen Group enthusiasts.

“The electric biturbo signifies a new dimension in driving enjoyment; it boosts sprinting ability and torque and enables high peak power,” explains Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for Technical Development. “In our TDI engines, we are close to production readiness with this technology. We are now presenting it in a TFSI – here too, we are the first automaker in the world to do this. For our fans at Wörthersee, we have packaged the electric biturbo in a very sporty show car.”

The Audi TT clubsport turbo has a power-boosted 2.5 TFSI engine with very impressive performance data. From 2,480 cc of displacement, the five-cylinder engine produces 600PS of power and 650Nm (479.4 lb-ft) of torque, the latter from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm. This means that it produces 240PS and 260Nm (191.8 lb-ft) per litre of displacement. Power is transferred via a manual six-speed transmission.


Thanks to systematic lightweight design, the TT clubsport turbo show car has an unladen weight of just 1,396 kg. The car completes the standard sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds, with a top speed of 192 mph. The TT clubsport turbo plays out its big advantage over the first few metres of a sprint. Its electrically driven compressor lets it cover up to 16 metres within the first 2.5 seconds – which is six metres further than a comparable car without this innovation. That is a difference of around one and one-half car lengths.

An electrically powered compressor offers significant advantages: It revs up to maximum rpm rapidly and without any perceptible delay, and it continues to boost charge pressure when too little drive energy is left in the exhaust gas for the conventional turbocharger. This operating principle makes it possible to design the conventional turbocharger more specifically for high charge pressures and consequently for high engine power – the e-turbo assures spontaneous response and powerful sprints from low engine speeds at all times.

Audi TT clubsport turbo concept

The effect is impressive. The 2.5 TFSI engine builds up its tremendous power without any perceptible delay. This power is available in any situation – whenever the accelerator pedal is pressed. In an acceleration duel, the TT clubsport turbo effortlessly pulls away from a counterpart with an identically powered engine but no electric biturbo.

However, it is not just the power of the five-cylinder engine that is fascinating – so is its unmistakable throaty sound. The exhaust system is designed for minimal back-pressure; a side pipe to the ambient air is located immediately after the racing-type muffler. The 2.5 TFSI engine is cooled by a racing-type radiator. In the lower engine speed range, the electrically driven compressor boosts torque by up to 200Nm (147.5 lb-ft).

A dedicated 48-volt electrical sub-system – another key future technology from Audi – supplies electrical energy to the turbocharger. A compact lithium-ion battery in the luggage compartment stores the energy that is generated by recuperation when coasting. A DC/DC converter provides the connection to the 12-volt electrical system.

The power of the Audi TT clubsport turbo reaches the road impressively via a quattro permanent all-wheel drive system whose multi-plate clutch is mounted on the rear axle for better weight distribution. A coilover suspension system enables highly precise adjustment of the body’s ride height and the compression and rebound of the shock absorbers. An electric lifting function protects the equipment from damage by street kerbs. Electronic stabilisation control (ESC) and torque vectoring round out the dynamic qualities of the suspension ideally.

The show car’s wheels are size 9.5 J x 20. Their six twin-spoke design is finished in a bi-colour look – both gloss turn finished and matt black – and the tyres are size 275/30. Carbon-fibre ceramic brake discs are mounted behind all four wheels; they are very lightweight and wear-resistant. The front brake discs measure 370 mm in diameter.

Widened by 14 cm: spectacular add-on parts
The compact sports car takes a full stance on the road with track widths of 1,736 mm in front and 1,729 mm at the rear. The car is 4.33 metres long and 1.97 metres wide, including the side mirrors – 14 cm wider than the technical platform upon which it was based. Its angular wings contribute a separate additive shape to the car body. They take the characteristic design motif of the Audi TT to an extreme and emphasise the quattro drive.

Audi TT clubsport turbo concept

The wings of the show car – painted in the exterior colour Ferro Titanium – are open at the front and rear. Air from the car’s slipstream flows through them to cool the brakes. The Singleframe grille and large air inlets – whose vertical fins form a continuation to the light signature of the Matrix LED headlights – are also optimised for maximum air throughput.

The manually adjustable rear wing is an advanced development of the Audi Sport TT Cup with which the brand very recently launched a dedicated race series. It is now 20 cm wider, and the side flaps, which feature the four rings, were given a new geometry. The wing consists of carbon-fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) as do all other add-on parts: the air inlets and the large splitter at the front, the side panels and side sill trims as well as the voluminous diffuser at the rear whose lateral segments reference the motif of the air inlets.

A protective “cage” of ultra-high-strength titanium tubes makes the rear zone of the interior even more rigid and safe. In front, there are lightweight race car bucket seats with four-point harnesses. The display and operating concept with the digital Audi virtual cockpit focuses on the driver, who can control all key driving parameters via four satellite buttons on the multifunction steering wheel.

CFRP and black Alcantara define the interior of the Audi TT clubsport turbo. The race seats are upholstered in coral orange Alcantara and feature contrasting stitching and piping. In the doors and on the centre console, CFRP parts with their large surfaces create sporty accents, and the doors are closed by pulling on a tube-shaped grip with an Alcantara inlay. The air vents and gear shifter also have coral orange accents – the aluminium gear shift lever travels in an open shift gate.

Best Executive Car

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The S-Class remains the number one luxury car in the UK

The S-Class remains the number one luxury car in the UK

The Award was judged by a panel of well-respected writers who tested more than 200 new vehicles over the past 12 months – voting on each one across ten different categories.

In announcing the Award, Ian Robertson, Editor and Publisher of Diesel Car Magazine, commented: “In this class of car, its attributes are often judged from the back seat, but in doing so, you’ll be missing out enormously, as it’s a fine car to pilot yourself, as well as being chauffeured around in.
“You’ll not find a more luxurious cabin, with exemplary attention to detail, beautiful design and a superb choice of the finest quality materials. If you’re the kind of person that has to have everything, look no further – luxurious saloons really don’t get any better than this.”

Four-, six-, eight- and 12-cylinder engines complete the line-up, three of which are Hybrids – available in two trim choices (SE Line and AMG Line) – as well as two mighty AMG models that combine comfort with immense performance. The range has also recently expanded to include the new Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes-Maybach Pullman – bringing new levels of driver and passenger comfort to the market.

The car can be personalised through 13 different paint options and seven different trim options. A host of interior options are also available – including the Rear Seat Reclining package Package (£1,500) enabling the rear seat to recline up to 43.5 degrees, and the Rear Seat Comfort package (£3,500) which adds rear active multi-contour seats with massage function, a Burmester surround sound system and a rear seat entertainment system.

The S-Class – priced from £66,910 OTR – returns up to 100.9 mpg with CO2 emissions from 65 g/km. In the UK, the S-Class remains the number one luxury car in its market segment with over 2,700 vehicles registered in 2014 and over 1,050 vehicles registered so far this year.

McLaren launches its sports series with 570S Coupe

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07_McLaren 570S_NYlaunch (800x388) (2)

McLaren has announced that the first model to be launched in its Sports Series family will be called the 570S Coupé.

This V8 powered, carbon fibre structured two-seater will show its beautiful yet aerodynamically optimised form for the first time in less than a week when it debuts at the 115th New York International Auto Show.

With the launch of the first Sports Series derivative, the 570S Coupe, McLaren will be displaying its three-tier model strategy together in New York for the first time globally.

Every Sports Series model will share its DNA with the Super Series and Ultimate Series that sit above it in the McLaren hierarchy.

A pure McLaren, offering class-leading levels of performance, coupled with optimised handling characteristics and driving dynamics, the 570S Coupé marks the first time McLaren has offered its pioneering and race-derived technologies in the sports car segment.

In line with the naming convention begun with the 650S, the number 570 gives away the power output of this first McLaren Sports Series model: 570PS, which equates to 562 in hp.

Dramatic entry

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The lighter, more efficient and dynamic new Jaguar XF

The all-new Jaguar XF has been revealed during a dramatic ‘high-wire’ water crossing in the heart of London’s business district.

Expert British stunt man Jim Dowdall, veteran of Hollywood movies including Bond, Bourne and Indiana Jones, drove the all-new Jaguar XF 240 metres across a high-wire to demonstrate the new XF’s lightweight aluminium-intensive construction.

The new XF is 80kgs lighter than its closest competitor, resulting in best-in-class efficiency (over 70mpg) and CO2 (104g/km).

It brings an impressive blend of refinement, fuel economy, dynamics and design to the business car segment. It will make its global motor show debut in New York on 1st April.

With segment-leading figures for interior space, the all-new XF’s dynamic, coupé-like design is formed around Jaguar’s aluminium-intensive architecture and combines the outstanding proportions, elegant surfaces and pure lines which define all Jaguar cars, with exceptionally low aerodynamic drag.

The cabin utilises a seamless blend of contemporary luxury materials and finishes, traditional Jaguar craftsmanship and state-of-the art technology. With features such as the new InControl Touch Pro premium infotainment system and 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster.

JAGUAR XF 2015 (800x508)

The original XF’s sleek exterior and luxurious interior made it a desirable, aspirational vehicle. Combined with benchmark driving dynamics, the XF was like nothing else in the segment and has gone on to become Jaguar’s most-awarded car.

The car retains its predecessor’s core attributes but uses Jaguar’s advanced aluminium-intensive architecture to elevate them to a completely new level. Featuring 75 per cent aluminium, the architecture enables weight savings of up to 190kg over the outgoing model and an increase in torsional stiffness of up to 28 per cent.

The architecture also delivers dramatic improvements in packaging and the proportions so essential to Jaguar design. Though 7mm shorter and 3mm lower than the car it replaces, the all-new XF’s 2,960mm wheelbase is 51mm longer, enabling class-leading rear seat space with more legroom, knee-room and headroom.

The efficiency gains inherent in the lightweight aluminium construction are complemented by the all-new XF’s refined, powerful engine range. The 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engines are available in 163PS/380Nm and 180PS/430Nm ratings and are offered with specially-optimised six-speed manual- and eight-speed automatic transmissions.

In 163PS manual form, the all-new XF delivers 104g/km CO2 and is the lightest, most efficient non-hybrid diesel model in the segment – 80kg lighter than its closest competitor.

All other engines are matched exclusively to eight-speed automatic transmissions.
The 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel benefits from a host of advanced technologies which boost efficiency and refinement still further, and raise output to 300PS and a remarkable 700Nm of torque.  Also available is the renowned 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine with 380PS/450Nm torque.

The light, stiff bodystructure is also fundamental to the all-new XF’s superb vehicle dynamics. The sophisticated double wishbone and Integral Link suspension – combined with near-50:50 weight distribution – delivers the ideal balance between agility, comfort and refinement.

Incorporating all of the learning from F-TYPE and XE, the meticulously-tuned Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) maintains the XF’s benchmark steering feel and response – and contributes to the all-new XF’s outstanding fuel economy.

JAGUAR XF rear 2015 (800x599)

Advanced passive damper technology delivers exceptional ride comfort as standard, but for even better control the Adaptive Dynamics system determines the optimum damper settings for the driving conditions.
Jaguar Configurable Dynamics, first developed for F-TYPE, provides the ultimate in control and enables the driver to individually tailor settings of the dampers, steering, engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.

As with XE, rear-wheel drive ability is enhanced too. All-Surface Progress Control, developed for low-speed driving in adverse conditions, automatically manages the brakes and the throttle to deliver the best possible traction, enabling the car to pull away smoothly and without drama: the driver only has to steer.

Infotainment and connectivity is the most advanced Jaguar has ever offered. The all-new InControl Touch Pro system features a 10.2-inch touchscreen and Dual View technology which simultaneously allows the driver to see information such as navigation, while the front seat passenger watches TV or a DVD.

To handle the enormous amounts of data, InControl Touch Pro features a solid-state drive and a quad-core processor, and runs on state-of-the-art, ultra-fast Ethernet – a next-generation network offering exceptional data transfer rates. Combined, they deliver incredible graphics, fast response times and truly exceptional performance.

Complementing InControl Touch Pro is a reconfigurable 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster. Jaguar Land Rover pioneered this technology with the XJ and Range Rover and is now bringing it to the business car segment.

To make every journey safer and even more relaxing, the all-new XF offers a wide range of advanced driver assistance systems, and is also the first Jaguar to offer full-LED headlights.

The all-new aluminium-intensive Jaguar XF will be manufactured at Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich Plant alongside the all-aluminium F-TYPE and XJ.

Ian Callum, Director of Design at Jaguar says: “In creating the all-new XF, as a design team we have been driven by discipline, the discipline of simplicity. Every exterior line on the XF has a clear purpose – nothing is superfluous. Achieving that simplicity takes time and requires great determination; it’s all too easy to add lines to a car, but much harder to add character by leaving lines out.

“Inside too, we have been driven by the desire to ensure the XF’s cabin is as comforting as it is comfortable. New technology, including our new 10.2-inch touchscreen, is combined carefully with materials that cosset and reassure. The all-new XF has a clear sense of calm and strength, both outside and inside – and I’m proud of my team for delivering that,” he adds.

Powerful and muscular in character

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2016 Ford Focus RS

The all-new Focus RS features the innovative Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive system and a specially engineered 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine

Ford’s all-new high-performance hatchback, the Focus RS, will make its first appearance in America, revealing exclusive new signature colour Nitrous Blue at the New York International Auto Show.

This is the first ever Ford RS vehicle to be sold in the U.S. and will be offered in markets all over the world. Ford confirmed deliveries to customers in Europe will start early 2016.

“Customers have begged for the Focus RS to come to the United States for years,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company.

“And now we can say that they are getting one of the most innovative, powerful and best-looking RS cars ever. That is special.

“The RS line has a proud history of technical breakthroughs.  It’s a great example of our passion for innovation through performance, and creating vehicles that make people’s hearts pound,” he adds.

One of 12 new performance vehicles Ford will bring to customers globally by 2020 in a new era of Ford performance, the all-new Focus RS features the innovative Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive system and a specially engineered 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine.

Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring delivers a new level of handling capability and driver enjoyment, combining outstanding traction and grip with unmatched agility and cornering speed.

The high-performance hatchback’s EcoBoost engine shares its fundamental structure with the all-aluminium four-cylinder engine in the all-new Mustang. This engine has, however, been significantly upgraded through a comprehensive package of design changes to deliver a projected output well in excess of 320PS.

2016 Ford Focus RS

The all-new Focus RS also introduces advanced performance technologies, and is the first Ford RS equipped with selectable Drive Modes – including an industry-first Drift Mode that allows controlled oversteer drifts – and Launch Control.

The exterior design of the all-new Focus RS is both dramatic and functional, with a more powerful and muscular character. It will be offered in a choice of four-coat metallic finish Nitrous Blue and further striking exterior colours including Shadow Black, Magnetic Grey and Frozen White.

“This is the ultimate Focus – stunning to look at and entirely fit for purpose,” said Joel Piaskowski, director, Design, Ford of Europe. “RS models have always been striking, high-performance cars where function is paramount. This new Focus RS is true to that heritage.”

Developed by a small team of Ford Performance engineers in Europe and U.S., the new Focus RS is the third generation of Focus RS cars, following models launched in 2002 and 2009. The 30th car to wear the legendary RS badge, the Focus RS will be built in Saarlouis, Germany, from late this year.

Making an entry

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bmw 2 series coupe (800x534)

It’s just been announced that new entry-level engines, a further four-wheel-drive model and additional equipment options will increase the diversity of features available for the BMW 2 Series Coupé.

With the market launch of the new BMW 218i Coupé, a three-cylinder petrol engine from the BMW Group’s latest engine family will be featured for the first time in the brand’s sporty and elegant compact model.

State-of-the-art BMW TwinPower Turbo technology is featured on the new power unit provides a maximum power output of 130hp and a maximum torque of 220Nm. The new BMW 218i Coupé accelerates from zero to 62mph in 8.8 seconds. Prices start from £22,355.

Furthermore, xDrive, BMW’s intelligent four-wheel drive system, will also be available for the BMW 220d Coupé.

In the new BMW 220d xDrive Coupé the advanced system ensures not only optimised traction and vehicle stability in all road and weather conditions, but also increased dynamics when taking bends at higher speeds and optimal acceleration.

The 2 Series Coupé is also now available in luxury guise for an even more premium feel.

Luxury specification is recognisable by the Chrome Line exterior trim and the outer air intake surrounds in the same detail. Also included are 18-inch light alloy wheels. Inside, fine-line stream high-grade wood interior trims including an Oxide Silver accent strip, leather-wrapped sports steering wheel and Dakota leather trim in a range of colours all feature.


Roaring R8

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POWERFUL: The all-new R8 comes in 540PS V10 and 610PS V10 plus versions and are equipped with the latest Audi innovations, including the stunning virtual cockpit display and Audi connect

POWERFUL: The all-new R8 comes in 540PS V10 and 610PS V10 plus versions and are equipped with the latest Audi innovations, including the stunning virtual cockpit display and Audi connect

Fastest and most powerful series production Audi in history

  • Second generation of the acclaimed supercar debuted in Geneva
  • Available to order in the UK from May 2015 priced from £119,500 OTR, 610PS V10 Plus from £137,500 OTR
  • R8 V10 plus - 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds, 0-124mph in 9.9 seconds, top speed 205mph, combined MPG 23.9
  • Multimaterial Audi Space Frame construction helps to reduce weight by up to 50kg – 40% increase in body rigidity
  • New development of quattro all-wheel-drive system with variable torque control
  • New equipment additions include virtual cockpit, Audi drive select, Audi connect and front/rear park assist

Just days after the global premiere of the all-new Audi R8 at the Geneva Motor Show, potential customers can delve a little deeper into the detail behind the epic supercar now that pricing and specification have been confirmed by Audi UK.

Power for the second generation line-up will be provided exclusively by a ten-cylinder FSI engine delivering 540PS in the ‘standard’ version and a mighty 610PS in the ‘Plus’ model – notable as the fastest and most powerful series production Audi in history. When they become available to order in May the R8 V10 will be priced at  £119,500 OTR and the R8 V10 Plus at  £137,500 OTR.

As befits the dynamic spearhead of the Audi range the latest R8 will feature a host of exceptional features includig all-LED headlamps and tail lamps incorporating dynamic rear indicators with a scrolling function in the intended turn direction.

In the V10 plus version, the headlights are further enhanced by front dynamic indicators and laser spots for the high beams as standard, giving an extended field of vision and increased brightness, and by a high beam assist function for automatic alternation between low and high beam settings.

Both versions will be fitted with 19-inch wheels in exclusive designs as standard, and in the V10 Plus these are combined as standard with ceramic brake discs offering even more assured stopping power.

r8-v10p_002 (800x391)

For the first time R8 V10 plus customers will also have the option to upgrade to a 20-inch wheel. Naturally, each model is fitted with the latest-generation quattro all-wheel drive, which utilises an electrohydraulic multi-plate clutch capable of sending up to 100 percent of torque to the front or rear axle depending on driving conditions.

Inside, Fine Nappa Leather-upholstered sports seats with electric adjustment for V10 models and sculpted bucket seats for the V10 plus will position the driver perfectly in relation to the new multi-function plus steering wheel and the Audi virtual cockpit, both of which make their R8 debut here.

In the R8 V10 the new flat-bottomed steering wheel facilitates control of all the information and entertainment functions offered by the virtual cockpit, and also houses two ‘satellites’ incorporating the control buttons for the Audi drive select system and engine start-stop function, both of which are also new to the R8.

The Performance steering wheel in the Audi R8 V10 plus features two more satellites. One houses a button controlling the exhaust system’s sound-altering adjustable flaps, and the other the activation switch for the ‘performance mode’ which is standard for this version and optional for the V10, along with a rotary wheel enabling selection of this mode’s individual ‘dry’, ‘wet’ and ‘snow’ programs. These programs support dynamic handling on dry, wet and snow-covered surfaces, making use of the ESC stabilisation control function.

The Audi virtual cockpit is set in a free-standing housing and presents all the information on its 12.3-inch display with elaborate and pin sharp graphics. The driver can toggle between different display modes and also adjust the digital instrument cluster to suit in individual mode. In performance mode, the driver is presented with information on the driving programs, acceleration, deceleration and lateral forces as well as power and torque. The Audi virtual cockpit also displays a shift light, which illuminates when the rev limit has been reached.

r8-v10p_004 (800x612)

The driver operates the Audi virtual cockpit using the multifunction plus steering wheel, meaning there is no need to remove a hand from the steering wheel. Alternatively, operation is also possible via the touch wheel or the buttons in the centre console.

Even more of the potential opened up by the state-of-the-art virtual cockpit can be enjoyed by going online in the new Audi R8 – the Audi connect interface is standard, and enables occupants to connect a smartphone or tablet via the system’s integrated Wi-Fi hotspot, and to make use of tailored online services from Audi connect delivered via the fast LTE (Long Term Evolution) network. MMI navigation plus is also standard, and is augmented by the MMI touch wheel with its fingertip-sensitive touch pad enabling easy ‘written’ entry of data into the system.

On the outside, the V10 is equipped with an electrically extending spoiler, while the R8 V10 plus gains a large fixed rear wing in carbon sigma, matching the finish of its  heated and folding exterior mirrors, sideblades, front spoiler lip and rear diffuser.

Further standard items include the front and rear parking assist system and light and rain sensors. To add visual impact to the other more immediately evident attributes of the sonorous mid-mounted 10-cylinder engine, both 540PS and 610 PS versions also feature an interior LED lighting package, which illuminates the glass-covered engine compartment and the footwells.

The extensive list of options available for the new R8 features enhancements that further enrich the driving experience, including the sports exhaust, the magnetic ride adaptive damping system, laser spotlights for the all-LED headlights in 540PS versions (standard for the V10 plus) and bucket seats (also standard for V10 plus), as well as indulgences such as stunning 20-inch alloy wheels and a 500-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.  Numerous interior decor upgrades and colour combinations for the body and sideblades can also be added to create a uniquely personal R8.

All new R8 drivers will also receive a complimentary Audi Driving Experience at Silverstone. This full day training session will help owners to develop an intimate understanding of the car’s dynamics in the relative safety of the world famous Stowe and Grand Prix circuits.


New Porsche 911 GT3 RS

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The new 911 GT3 RS is priced from £131,296 and will arrive in showrooms in May

The new 911 GT3 RS is priced from £131,296 and will arrive in showrooms in May

New high-performance sports car celebrates world premiere at Geneva International Motor Show

Blurring, once again, the boundaries between road-going sports cars and race-track cars, comes a vehicle with the maximum degree of motorsport technology currently possible in a street-legal 911, yet retaining supreme suitability for everyday driving.

The new Porsche 911 GT3 RS has undergone extensive modifications to the drive system, aerodynamics and lightweight design enhance performance beyond that of even the 911 GT3.

Indeed, the RS has set a lap time around the 14 mile Nürburgring Nordschleife of 7 min 20 secs; an achievement which also trumps the historic record value of the Carrera GT super sports car of just under 7 min and 29 seconds. As a consequence, this clearly qualifies the 911 GT3 RS as the benchmark in its class – directly at its launch.

As befits the tradition at Porsche, motorsport expertise is the reason for this superior performance.

The 911 GT3 RS is powered by a 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine with 500 hp (368 kW) of power and 460 Newton metres of torque, combined with a specially developed PDK transmission. The engine, which has the largest displacement and most power of any naturally-aspirated power unit with direct fuel injection in the 911 family, accelerates the high-performance sports car from 0 to 62 mph in 3.3 seconds and on to 124 mph (200 km/h) in 10.9 seconds. Combined NEDC fuel consumption is 22.2 mpg.

SUPERCAR: The new high-performance Porsche 911 GT3 RS accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.3 seconds

SUPERCAR: The new high-performance Porsche 911 GT3 RS accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.3 seconds

Functions such as de-clutching by the ‘paddle neutral’ facility – which is comparable to depressing the clutch with a conventional manual gearbox – and speed limiting by the ‘Pit Speed’ centre console button have been customised for motorsport use. These features give drivers more freedom in terms of exploiting the driving dynamics, while also providing them with more assistance when driving on a race circuit.

The 911 GT3 RS is also a masterpiece of intelligent lightweight design. For the first time, the roof panel is made of magnesium; carbon fibre is used for the engine and luggage compartment lids, and other lightweight components are made of alternative materials. This makes the RS model around 10 kg lighter than the 911 GT3. In addition, the lightweight roof lowers the sports car's centre of gravity which improves its excellent lateral dynamic reponses. The distinctive, wide-arched bodyshell is derived from the 911 Turbo, and it signifies its status as a race track-oriented driving machine with a number of RS-specific aerodynamic add-on components. The front spoiler lip, which extends nearly to the road, and the large rear wing, reinforce its dominant look.

The front luggage compartment lid features a unique contoured surface structure, a strip-like 30 cm wide recess which runs upwards through the middle of the CFRP bonnet and the magnesium roof. This styling cue is reminiscent of the similar feature that was a tradition on the front lid of classic 911 models with air-cooled engines; today, it identifies the two largest lightweight components of the 911 GT3 RS.

Another striking characteristic are the unique front wheel arch air vents that extend into the upper section of the wings – just like a pure-bred race car. Again, as is traditional at Porsche, form follows function and this feature increases downforce on the front axle.

REAR Porsche 911 GT3 RS_2

The chassis of the 911 GT3 RS has been tuned for maximum driving dynamics and precision. Rear-axle steering and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus with fully variable rear limited slip differential increase agility and dynamics, and the wider front and rear track widths enable even higher roll stability than in the 911 GT3.

In addition, the 911 GT3 RS features the widest tyres of any 911 model as standard. The result: even more agile turn-in characteristics and even higher cornering speeds.

The interior design of the 911 GT3 RS with Alcantara elements is based on the current 911 GT3. Another key feature are the sports seats, which are now based on the carbonfibre ‘bucket’ seats of the 918 Spyder super sports car. Other standard features are the Club Sport Package with a bolted-in roll cage behind the front seats, preparation for a battery master switch, and a separately provided six-point safety harness for the driver and fire extinguisher with mounting bracket.

The optional Sport Chrono Package features – in addition to its integrated timers – the Porsche Track Precision app for a smartphone. The Track Precision app can be used to have lap times automatically measured via GPS, and to log data on a smartphone for many driving parameters such as vehicle speed, lateral acceleration as well as acceleration and deceleration in the driving direction. It manages this data and lets the driver share and compare it with other drivers.

Standard equipment includes bi-Xenon headlights, sports exhaust, dynamic engine mounts, Alcantara interior trim, sports bucket seats, 20-inch diameter front and 21-inch diameter rear centre-lock forged alloy wheels, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV) with rear limited slip differential, CDR audio system with 7-inch colour touchscreen, universal audio interface offering MP3 connectivity, automatic climate control, Porsche Stability Management (PSM), Porsche Vehicle Tracking anti-theft system, three-year warranty and three-year roadside assistance package.

Customers will also be able to explore the potential of their new car by participating in a complimentary course at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone.


Light, powerful and very very fast

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STUNNING: The limited edition McLaren 675LT will be available to buyers, priced from £259,500

STUNNING: The limited edition McLaren 675LT will be available to buyers, priced from £259,500

Limited production of McLaren 675LT announced at Geneva Motor Show

The McLaren 675LT, which made its global debut at the 85th International Geneva Motor Show, will be the lightest, most powerful and fastest model in the McLaren Super Series, and also the most exclusive: production will be strictly limited to just 500 examples worldwide.

The limited production model, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, has a clear focus on light weight, optimised aerodynamics, increased power, track-focused dynamics and driver engagement.

At its core is the lightweight carbon fibre MonoCell chassis, shared with each model in the Super Series, but the chassis set up and powertrain are bespoke, with a third of overall parts and components modified.

A more aggressive set up gives the 675LT a unique track-focused feel, while still retaining the adjustable ProActive Chassis Control to ensure drivability and comfort levels are maintained.

One of the many updates featured on the 1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ was a wider track, front and rear. This approach is echoed in the 675LT, with the front and rear track widened by 20mm, ensuring optimised stability and handling performance.

Lightweight springs front and rear have been stiffened – 27 percent at the front and 63 percent at the rear – to improve body control and allow for the 40 percent increase in downforce generated by the revised bodywork and active aerodynamics.

limited edition McLaren 675LT REAR INSET (800x533)

Newly-developed suspension geometry includes lightweight uprights and wishbones based on the learnings from the McLaren P1™. This is coupled with a faster steering rack to give a more extreme driver-focused experience.

The obsession with weight saving sees the 675LT tip the scales at just 1,230kg (dry weight), making it the lightest model in the already lightweight Super Series, with a saving of more than 100kg. This has been achieved with the use of lighter weight components. For example, the changes to the car’s glazing alone save 4.5kg with a thinner windscreen and rear bulkhead glass, and replacing the engine cover with motorsport-style polycarbonate.

The 675LT uses the familiar seven-speed SSG transmission found in the other Super Series models, retaining the Normal, Sport or Track modes. These settings have been recalibrated to produce more eager performance, with optimised throttle response and gearshifts up to twice as fast as previously offered.

The newly developed ‘Ignition Cut’ technology is a technique adopted from Formula 1™ which sees a momentary cut of the fuel spark on gearshift. This delivers the fastest change possible, and is accompanied by a dramatic aural ‘crack’ on both upshift and downshift.

Also debuting on the 675LT is an all-new Electronic Stability Control (ESC) calibration, giving the driver an even greater level of control over the throttle and brake inputs.

The 675LT unveiled to world’s automotive media gathered in Geneva was finished in the newly launched Chicane Grey, showcasing the McLaren Club Sport pack. This option, priced at £5,090 for the UK market, is designed with an even greater focus on track driving, and includes titanium roll hoop with four point harnesses and a fire extinguisher.

The limited edition McLaren 675LT will be available to buyers, priced from £259,500. Deliveries will commence from July 2015.


Infiniti reveals QX30 concept

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Infiniti-QX30_Concept-2015-hd (800x600)

Infiniti signalled further intentions to grow in the premium compact segment with the world premiere of the QX30 Concept at the Geneva International Motor Show.

The QX30 concept is Infiniti’s design vision for a new premium compact crossover, targeting at a new generation of individualistic premium customers.

Bringing together the sleek lines of the coupe with the command sitting and all-wheel drive of a crossover, the QX30 Concept promises to be just as capable navigating city streets as it is exploring weekend getaways.

“With the QX30 Concept, we’re showcasing a distinctively contemporary alternative in the premium compact segment for those who want something more than the status quo,” said Roland Krueger, Infiniti President and CEO.

An international team designed the QX30 Concept to appeal to the global customer. Complementing the vehicle’s higher stance, the designers added visual cues which instantly identify the concept as a crossover such as 21-inch wheels, large tyres, lower bumper, sculpted skid plates, and very distinctive roof racks.

"We’ve used expected materials in an unexpected way, and given functional elements an artistic twist,” said Albaisa. “It is the unconventional execution of a conventional element that makes the QX30 Concept a design leader.”

In addition, the Q60 Concept made its European debut at the show, hinting at Infiniti’s next sports coupe. The stunning two-door concept is a unique combination of eye-catching contours, the promise of heart-pumping dynamics, and highest-quality finishes, giving premium customers a fresh and expressive design icon to which they can aspire.

£400,000 worth of classics sold

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RARE: The Riviera Blue 2001 Porsche 911 (996) Turbo fetched an impressive £30,740 at the auction

RARE: The Riviera Blue 2001 Porsche 911 (996) Turbo fetched an impressive £30,740 at the auction

Brand new classic car auction house CCA sold an impressive £400,000 worth of classics, with a 65 per cent sales rate, at its launch sale at Silverstone race circuit.

With a fantastic range of cars displayed in the iconic F1 pit garages, the halls at the legendary venue were packed as Quentin Willson, renowned classic car expert, gave the buyers some insider tips on how to buy a classic car at auction. Willson also hammered away the first ever lot, a 1951 Land Rover Series 1; for a winning bid of £5,035 including premium.

The highest selling car on the day was an incredibly rare Riviera Blue 2001 Porsche 911 (996) Turbo, which fetched a total of £30,740, more than £4,000 over its lower estimate. Close behind was a rare and sought after 2001 Morgan Aero 8, selling for a premium inclusive £27,030. Wowing the crowds was a last of the line 2001 Rover Mini Cooper with just 182 miles on the clock. The last to be sold in Scotland, the time warp car sold for £16,854 including premium.

M powered BMWs were clearly in demand at the sale. A low mileage, vibrant blue 1998 BMW E36 M3 EVO was purchased for a significant £13,250. Joining the M3 was a 1993 BMW M5 Nurburgring Edition, supplied with an extensive history file, which sold for £13,356; more than £2,000 over its lower estimate.

Other highlight cars sold included a 2000 Jaguar XKR Silverstone; one of just 50 ever made. The car had just 54,000 miles on its clock and sold for £20,140. A 1969 Jaguar 4.2 MK 2, with a striking blue exterior and luxurious red leather interior, also sold for a substantial sum of £19,504.

There were also some bargains and great value to be had at the auction. A 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLK 200 Kompressor with just 55,000 miles from new sold for £3,180 while a luxurious 1995 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe Auto sold for £2,650.

Speaking after the successful first sale, auction manager of CCA, Joe Watts, said: “It’s been a great first ever sale for us and it’s been fantastic to see so many enthusiasts and buyers come and visit us for what will hopefully be the first of many.”