I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Clio GT-Line tempts buyers with a great price and great specification.

  • UKprice and specification for new Clio GT-Line confirmed at £17,395 on-the-road
  • New trim level will sit between standard range and Renaultsport 200 Turbo EDC territory – offering many of the styling cues, equipment and tech items of the fire-breathing flagship, with even lower running costs (54.3 mpg) and insurance (14E)
  • First Renault to feature all-new direct-injection turbocharged 1.2 TCe 120. Mated exclusively to EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) transmission
  • Sport Chassis fitted as standard with 40% stiffer dampers and specific stops
  • R.S. Drive fitted as standard with two specific driving modes to give option of enhanced driving characteristics: Normal and Sport
  • Sporty GT styling offers 17-inch alloys, rear lip spoiler, side sills, rear diffuser, front and rear bumpers including F1-style blade
  • High level of equipment adds 4x35W Arkamys audio with 3D Sound, air conditioning, R-Link seven-inch touchscreen multimedia system with Tom Tom Live satellite navigation, gearshift paddles, GT badging for sports seats, leather steering wheel,  GT kickplates and handsfree keycard
  • Available to order now, in UK showrooms from July

Priced at £17,395, the new version sits between the TCe 90 Dynamique S MediaNav and the 200hp range-topper. With 120hp turbocharged power on tap, allied to much of the hot hatch style and features from the high-selling range’s halo model, but considerably lower running and purchase costs, the French marque is looking for it to have broad customer appeal.

Developed by Renaultsport, the five-door Clio GT-Line TCe 120 EDC is powered by the brand’s new turbocharged, direct-injection 1.2-litre petrol engine. Like its pocket rocket sibling, it comes mated exclusively to a six-speed EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch) transmission via steering column-mounted gear shift paddles.

The newcomer also benefits from two key differences to lesser Clios. Firstly, a Sport Chassis as standard, with 40% stiffer dampers and specific stops. Secondly, the added bonus of R.S. Drive. This system, offers two driving modes (instead of three on the halo model), Normal and Sport. Pressing the button sharpens up the car’s responses, including the engine and gearbox mapping, ESC settings, steering feeling and throttle pedal response. Selecting Sport mode shaves 30 milliseconds off of the already impressive shift time of 200ms for the gearchange. It also retains the multi-changedown function of the 200 Turbo EDC, usually the preserve of supercars, simply by holding down the downshift paddle.

Like the driving experience overall, performance in the newcomer is brisk. The new powertrain offers up 190Nm of torque, with a top speed of 121 mph. Against the stopwatch, 0-62 mph is achieved in a swift 9.9 seconds.

Under its sleek five-door bodyshell, it offers specific settings courtesy of its aforementioned R.S. Drive set-up, plus impressive frugality with 54.3 mpg on the combined cycle and emissions of only 120g/km CO2, meaning zero road tax in the first year and just £30 thereafter  A likely attraction to a younger audience, its insurance rating is also a palatable 14E.

Instantly recognisable as a stylish alternative to rivals such as thesimilarly powered MINI Cooper and Citroen DS3, the latest creation to be fettled by the Renaultsport wizards is versatile, understated and user-friendly.

New Clio GT-Line TCe 120 EDC boasts plenty of Renaultsport’s design cues, from its grille, GT front and rear bumpers and specific rear lip spoiler, to its side sills, offset LED daytime running lights, twin chrome exhaust tailpipes and GT badging both front and rear. Rounding off its purposeful looks are 17-inch anthracite GT alloys, together with co-ordinating anthracite door mirrors and rear diffuser.

In the unlikely event that these alterations still don’t distinguish it enough from other versions, the optional Renault i.d. Malta Blue paint finish certainly will.

The sport theme continues on the inside with an upmarket cabin boasting dark carbon GT upholstery, matched with details picked out in chrome and gloss black. A GT leather steering wheel with badging, Renaultsport seats with additional side support, aluminium-capped pedals, steering column-mounted gearshift paddles and specific instrument backgrounds all testify to the fact that this is a pedigree, high-performance Clio. Anthracite surrounds for the air vents, gearlever gaiter, plus inserts for the gearlever and door panels also give the car an air of exclusivity.

In the true tradition of its warm hatch variants, Renault hasn’t skimped on equipment either. The Clio GT-Line TCe 120 EDC is packed full of the latest technology, including the seven-inch touchscreen R-Link multi-media system with integrated TomTom Live satellite navigation and three months TomTom Live Services subscription, Application Store and Eco Driving Menu. The set-up also provides 4x35W Arkamys audio with 3D sound, Bluetooth, USB and hands-free technology and Renault Bass Reflex system, two tweeters and fingertip remote controls. As you would expect on the penultimate version in the range, hands-free card for entry and ignition and air conditioning are also standard.

Lastly, safety has not been forgotten either with ABS and a raft of electronic aids (ESC and ETC (Electronic Stability and Traction Control), HSA (Hill Start Assist) all specified as standard equipment.

In spite of the generous equipment level, several tempting items feature on the options list for the more discerning customer. Among them are a reversing camera, fixed glass panoramic sunroof and also leather upholstery with heated front seats.

The all-new Clio GT-Line 120 EDC comes in five colours, one of which is solely the preserve of this latest model, Renault i.d. metallic Malta Blue. The others are white, a further Renault i.d. metallic Flame Red, plus Diamond Black and Mercury.

Ordering is open ahead of appearing in showrooms from July, with first customer deliveries commencing in September.

Jaguar debuts new XJR at the MotorExpo

UK debut for new Jaguar XJR at Motor Expo, Canary Wharf (10-16 June)
Jaguar XF specified with new engine option to feature at Fleet News Company Car in Action, Millbrook (11/12 June)
Award-winning* Jaguar F-TYPE on track at Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Cheshire (14-16 June)

Jaguar XJR set for UK debut

The new dynamic flagship of the Jaguar model range will make its UK public debut at Motor Expo in London’s Canary Wharf next week.  Visitors to the Canary Wharf show will be able to view the powerful new 550PS XJR up close on the Jaguar stand, which is positioned in Canada Square Park. Stunning examples of the Jaguar XF, XK and new F-TYPE will also be displayed at Motor Expo.

New engine option for Jaguar XF

The Jaguar XF has received an impressive five awards** from UK media in 2013, and continues to be the best-selling product in the Jaguar range.  In a move which will delight fleet decision makers in the UK, Jaguar will launch a new powertrain option for the XF executive car. Full product details of the new Jaguar XF will be announced on 11 June at Fleet News Company Car in Action, which runs over 11/12 June at the Millbrook vehicle development facility near Bedford.  Also on display and available to test will be a comprehensive line-up of Jaguar products, including the new F-TYPE sports car.

F-TYPE set to entertain the crowds at Cholmondeley Pageant of Power

At the sixth annual Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, which will be held in Cheshire from 14-16 June, a new Jaguar F-TYPE V8S finished in Salsa Red will be driven in demonstration laps on each day of the event.  With its specifically-tuned 5.0-litre, supercharged V8 engine producing 495PS, the new F-TYPE is sure to provide a visual and aural treat to spectators at the event.

Jeremy Hicks, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover UK said: "June is an exciting month for Jaguar in the UK. We are taking multiple opportunities to present to prospective customers the very latest in our exciting product range.

“The recent growth of Jaguar Land Rover is a result of the ongoing investment the company makes annually in product development. The launches of F-TYPE, XJR and a new powertrain in the XF highlight the desire of the company to meet the needs of a diverse car buying audience in its home market."

Ford extends lead in sales for may and year to date.

According to the official sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

  • Ford leads UK car and CV sales in May and for the year to date
  • Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus top the sales charts in May and for the year to date
  • Ford continues to extend its retail car sales lead over its nearest rival
  • Ford B-MAX maintains segment leadership in May
  • Ford CV sales and share up for the year to date

Mark Ovenden, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, said:  "May car sales continued the positive UK market trend with Ford’s leadership position strengthened by private customers helping to drive up our share of more profitable retail sales.  The success of Ford’s best ever model range is epitomised by the Ford B-MAX achieving and maintaining segment leadership so soon after its introduction."

The official figures released by the SMMT show that total car sales in May were up 11.0 per cent to 180,111, compared with May 2012. Ford car sales of 25,674 were up from 23,255 in May 2012.  For the year to date (end May) total UK car sales were 948,666 up 9.3 per cent compared with 2012, while Ford car sales for this period were 132,199, up from 126,724 in 2012.

Ford’s retail car sales share increased by 3.5 percentage points to 13.2 per cent in May, compared with May 2012, and for the year to date Ford’s retail car sales share is up a full percentage point at 13.6 per cent, compared with the same period in 2012.

With a total of 9,316 registrations the Ford Fiesta was the UK best-seller in May and the Ford Focus secured the number two slot with 7,522 sales.  The Ford B-MAX maintained its segment leadership with a 23.2 per cent segment share in May.  Sales success across the Ford model range has seen the Ford Ka, Fiesta, B-MAX, Focus, C-MAX and Kuga all increase sales and share for the year to date, compared with the same period in 2012.

UK CV sales in May were down 6.5 per cent, compared with May 2012, whereas CV sales for the year to date were up 6.1 per cent.  Total sales of Ford CVs for the year to date were up from 27,806 to 30,028, compared with the same period last year, with share up from 21.8 to 22.2 per cent.

Ford medium commercial sales for the year to date, headed by the industry-leading Ford Transit, were up from 22,991 to 25,413 and Ford’s share of MCV sales was 31.6 per cent up from 31.3 per cent compared with the same period in May 2012.

Ford Transit leads the One Tonne, Two Tonne and 3.5-6.0 tonne CV segments, its share of the one tonne segment now supplemented by the introduction of the Transit Custom and the Tourneo Custom.  Ford Fiesta van also leads its segment by a clear margin, taking a 58.7 per cent share for the year to date.

New Range Rover Sport sets record on Pikes Peak.

  • The transformational on-road dynamics of the Range Rover Sport conquers one of the world’s most unforgiving driving challenges.
  • New hill climb record for production SUV set on 12.42-mile Colorado mountain’s hill road.
  • New record confirms the Range Rover Sport as Land Rover's fastest, most responsive and agile vehicle to date.
  • Short documentary film, the first in ‘The Driven Challenges’ series, will follow.

The Range Rover Sport rose to the challenge of the 12.42-mile asphalt course, powering its way from a standing start, in just 12 minutes 35.61 seconds – an average speed of 59.17 mph (95.23 km/h) on a snaking road that clings to the edge of the mountain with precipitous drops on one side and unyielding rock faces on the other. The record was independently timed and sanctioned by PPIHC (Pikes Peak International Hill Climb), organisers of the annual competition at the Colorado venue.

The Pikes Peak course goes through 156 corners as it ascends beyond the treeline from 9,390 feet (2,860m) above sea level to 14,110 feet (4,300m). At that altitude the air contains only 58% of the oxygen it does at sea level, diminishing engine performance and blunting human physical and mental performance.

The new record was set by a Range Rover Sport with a 510PS 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8 engine, the vehicle altered from production specification only in the fitment of a roll cage and harness seatbelts to meet racing safety requirements.

The Range Rover Sport was driven on the record run, by American competition and stunt driver Paul Dallenbach. Best known as a Pikes Peak specialist, Dallenbach, 45 years old, from Basalt in Colorado, has won his division at the Hill Climb six times and won the event outright three times.

Dallenbach said: “There’s no margin for error at Pikes Pike – you only need to misjudge one of those 156 turns and you’re into the trees or over the edge of the mountain. To take on this place the way I did today, you need complete confidence in your vehicle, and the Range Rover Sport sure gave me that – it’s fast, responsive and agile. I was able to place the car exactly where I wanted it on the road to keep to the optimum high-speed lines through corners. This is a hugely capable vehicle and I’m proud to have been part of demonstrating that by setting a new Pikes Peak record.”

The Pikes Peak record run is the first of a series of global driving challenges to be taken-on by the all-new Range Rover Sport, pushing the vehicle to new limits in a series of the most punishing drives to be found on earth.

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

The Pikes Peak car and motorcycle hill climb competition is held annually on a 12.42-mile (19.99 km) section of the road that runs up to the summit of Pikes Peak mountain, 14 miles north-west of the town of Colorado Springs. The timed course starts at an altitude of 9,390 feet (2,860 metres) above sea level and rises 4,720 feet (1,440 metres) to 14,110 feet (4,300 metres).

First run in 1916, Pikes Peak is the USA’s second-oldest motorsport event. Some of America’s most famous racing drivers – Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Rick Mears, and Al Unser – have won the competition, as have internationally acclaimed rally drivers such as Michele Mouton, Ari Vatanen, Per Eklund and Stig Blomqvist.  The current outright course record is 9 minutes 46.164 seconds, set by Rhys Millen last year in the Time Attack division in a production-based but radically modified Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

All-New Range Rover Sport

Developed alongside the highly-acclaimed Range Rover, the all-new Range Rover Sport delivers the brand’s best-ever on-road dynamics together with class-leading, genuine Land Rover all-terrain capability, while presenting customers with a more assertive and muscular exterior, more luxurious interior and the flexibility provided by the option of occasional third row seating.

Exploiting Land Rover’s breakthrough lightweight suspension design and innovative dynamic chassis technologies, the All-New Range Rover Sport’s first-in-class aluminium architecture achieves a weight saving of more than 420kg.

Designed and engineered at Land Rover’s development centres in the UK, the new model will be produced in a state-of-the-art low-energy manufacturing facility at Solihull, UK.

AUDI's engine is the best

  • Best engine in 2.0-litre to 2.5-litre category for fourth year in a row
  • Ninth category award win in a row for Audi TFSI technology
  • Rally-bred five-cylinder unit available in the TT RS, TT RS plus and forthcoming RS Q3 SUV

A jury of 87 leading motoring journalists from around the world has voted the Audi 2.5-litre TFSI unit the “International Engine of the Year” in the 2.0-litre to 2.5-litre category for the fourth year running.

The first iteration of this legendary five-cylinder engine shocked the motorsport world with its formidable performance and unmistakable soundtrack, powering iconic cars such as the original Audi quattro and Sport quattro S1 which dominated rallying. Now its legacy continues in the TT RS Coupé and Roadster, featuring both turbocharging and FSI petrol direct injection, two core Audi technologies.

International Engine of the Year jury members said of the 2.5-litre engine: “The Audi TT RS is one of the most engaging smaller sports cars on the market. The sound and power of the throbbing, off-beat engine makes you feel like a Group B rally driver every time you get behind the wheel.”

The Audi TT RS plus Coupé and Roadster models have a displacement of 2,480 cc and a power output of 360 PS between 5,500 and 6,700 rpm. Peak torque is 465 Nm (343 lb-ft) between 1,650 and 5,400 rpm, enabling 0 to 62 mph acceleration in 4.1 seconds in the Coupé and 4.2 seconds in the Roadster. A 174mph top speed is possible in both where the law permits.

This is the ninth category win in a row at the International Engine of the Year Awards for Audi TFSI technology. Between 2005 and 2009, the Audi 2.0-litre TFSI engine won the award in the 1.8-litre to 2.0-litre category.

The 2.5-litre TFSI unit will also provide power for the RS Q3, the first RS model in the successful Audi SUV line-up. In the RS Q3 it produces 310PS and delivers fuel economy of up to 32.1mpg on a combined cycle, thanks in part to a Start-Stop system and a regulated oil pump that only supplies lubricant when needed. This frugality is of course complemented by typical RS intensity - the RS Q3 takes just 5.5 seconds to complete the sprint from 0 to 62mph and its top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.

THANK YOU ALL - 20,000 and counting

I would like to thank all the people that have taken the time and trouble to read my blog, when i started it back in January, i thought i might get a few hundred people look at the pages I reproduce, but no, i swiftly got to 10,000 page views and then 15,000, now in only six short months it has now hit the 20,000 mark and still going.

So to you all thank you and please continue to enjoy the posts that place, and if you have any ideas, requests or thoughts, please feel free to ask....


MP supports Vauxhall heritage

Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins pledged his support for the Vauxhall Heritage Centre on June 4th when he took the Luton-based Collection’s Astra GTE up to the palace of Westminster. The white Astra GTE, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, caused quite a stir and provided stark relief from the stream of ministerial Jaguars and Toyota Prius.

Kelvin took the Astra to London to raise the profile of the heritage centre, which houses priceless vehicles and artifacts dating back over the entire 110-year history of Vauxhall motors.

‘Nowhere is Luton’s proud tradition as a motor vehicle manufacturing town more clearly represented than at the heritage centre,’ he said, ‘I believe its continuing role in educating youngsters and celebrating Vauxhall in Luton is an essential one.’

On the evening of the 4th Kelvin spoke at the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group annual meeting, once again raising the profile of the UK’s classic vehicles industry and Vauxhall in particular. ‘The classic vehicle industry is worth over £4billion to the UK economy and helps preserve vital engineering skills. It introduces young people to concepts and experiences that they can have nowhere else and, I believe, helps inspire the next generation of engineers and technicians. It is extremely important to the UK’s manufacturing future.’ The centre, which is based on Park Street in Luton, will host an open day on August 18th between 10am and 4pm.

Mitsubishi continues as the fastest growing brand this year

Figures released today show that Mitsubishi Motors in the UK continues to enjoy a buoyant 2013, with sales running almost 50 per cent ahead of last year.

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that during May, Mitsubishi Motors in the UK sold 24 per cent more new vehicles than it did in the same month last year.

In total this year, sales of Mitsubishi passenger vehicles are up 49 per cent versus the same period last year, making Mitsubishi the fastest growing brand in the UK.[1]*

Sales momentum has been building for Mitsubishi Motors in the UK as the year has progressed, with the arrival of the all-new Outlander and the all-new Mirage, giving the Company the opportunity to increase its profile and attract more customers.

The all-new Outlander is the latest incarnation of Mitsubishi Motors' highly regarded and versatile SUV; while Mirage is the compact and clever city car that's so efficient that it has zero road tax across the whole range.

Nearly 1,000 new Outlanders have been sold since its launch, while Mirage sales are already at 1,300.

Sales of the rugged and reliable L200 pick-up truck also continue to grow, and are 15 per cent up on last year.

Lance Bradley, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, said:

'Naturally, we're pleased that more and more buyers are coming to us. We've always been well known for the quality and reliability of our vehicles but new Outlander and Mirage have added some additional excitement to our range.

I'd also like to pay tribute to our network of dealers right across the UK. It goes without saying that people are attracted to the Mitsubishi brand by our cars, but the excellent customer service we deliver is crucial as well.'

Leon SC debuts at London Motorexpo

  • SEAT gives the stunning Leon SC its UK debut at the London Motorexpo
  • First time SEAT has attended the vibrant Canary Wharf event
  • London Motorexpo is free to attend, opening 10 June 2013
  • Leon SC on sale now, with first customer deliveries due in July

The SEAT Leon SC will get its UK debut at the London Motorexpo next week. The beautiful new three-door Sports Coupé will be a star attraction at the event, which opens Monday 10 June at London’s Canary Wharf.

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the Leon SC is the second member of the Leon family and the first ever three-door Leon. It will soon be joined by an ST estate.

Designed to combine the striking road presence of a coupé with the practicality of a family hatchback, the Leon SC is unique from the A-pillars back compared to its five-door namesake.

With a shorter wheelbase, a slightly lower roofline, a more sloped rear hatch, broader rear ‘shoulders’ and distinct rear three-quarter windows, the SC demonstrates SEAT ‘arrow head’ design in its purest form.

Despite this, it loses so little headroom that only giraffes need be concerned, and it remains a full five-seat car – with exactly the same large 380-litre boot as the five-door Leon. Order books are open now for the Leon SC, with first cars expected in showrooms in July.

The Leon SC will be joined at the Motorexpo by five-door versions of the Leon, and thanks to the unique format of the show, attendees will have the chance to get behind the wheel; petrol and diesel Leon five-door models in both SE and FR specification will be available to try, while an Ibiza FR TDI 143 PS will also be on display.

Priced from just £15,370, the Leon SC boasts remarkable value and an extremely generous specification from base level. Beginning with S, every Leon SC comes with air conditioning, sports-shaped front seats, a colour touchscreen display for the media system, steering wheel mounted audio controls, seven airbags, remote central locking, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.

SE trim adds, among other things, 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights with cornering function, cruise control, leather steering wheel and gear knob, XDS electronic differential lock, and hill hold control.

Top-of-the range Leon models come wearing SEAT’s iconic FR badge, and only the more powerful engines in the line-up qualify. All FR cars get 17-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights, dual-zone climate control, dark tinted rear windows, and FR-specific front- and rear bumpers.

The Leon is also the first family hatchback in the world available with full-LED headlights, which are optional on SE and FR cars. Full-LEDs provide a powerful light beam that’s closer to natural daylight than any other sort of headlamp, which aids visibility and therefore safety, while reducing the risk of eye strain. They also look great.

They’re staggering value too – particularly at the moment, because SEAT has bundled them with satellite navigation and DAB digital radio into a Technology Pack, the contents of which would cost close to £2,000 when specified as individual options. The pack’s retail price is £1,075, but until the end of this month it’s priced at just £500.

The London Motorexpo takes place 10 – 16 June and is one third of what its organisers call “a revolutionary format” and “the world’s biggest free-to-visit motoring event.” London is the first of three Motorexpo events, with the second taking place in Toronto, Canada, in June, and the third in New York during December.

Citroen has a great month of May, with increased sales.

  • Citroën increases UK passenger car sales by 18.96% in May 2013
  • Market share increases to 3.99%, up from 3.72% in May last year
  • Citroën DS3 Hatchback continues as best-selling model with almost 43,000 examples sold since launch

Citroën UK has delivered another strong passenger car sales performance in May. Sales of Citroën cars took a 3.99% share of the market with 7,184 registrations. This represents a year-on-year increase for May of no less than 18.96%, a significant increase compared to the market, which grew by 10.98%

Year-to-date, Citroën has sold 35,898 new cars, an increase of 16% compared to the first five months of 2012 in a market that has grown by 9.27%.

In May, DS3 Hatchback continued as Citroën’s best-selling model in the UK with 1,782 deliveries. Almost 8,700 DS3s have already been sold in Britain year-to-date. The distinctive supermini’s increasing popularity has resulted in more than 43,000 sales in the UK since the model’s launch in 2010.

Going from strength to strength, Citroën DS3 was recently ranked ‘Best Supermini’ in the 2013 What Car? JD Power Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Survey. Despite this being the model’s first appearance in the study, DS3 came 4th in the overall results out of a total 116 models. Owners gave DS3 an 82.2% satisfaction score with maximum five-star ratings for Performance, Service and Running Costs.

Linda Jackson, Citroën UK’s Managing Director, said; “Our strong sales performance in May has further demonstrated the growing appeal of the Citroën range, especially for DS3 which, as we’ve seen from the JD Power Survey, is giving buyers a really positive ownership experience. With the restyled C3 Picasso and New DS3 Cabrio just launched, and the New C4 Picasso not far away, we’re looking forward to even more demand for Citroën product as the year goes on.”

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Jaguar Land Rover and EPSCR announce £10M virtual engineering research programme

  • Jaguar Land Rover will lead a five year research programme with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and four leading UK universities
  • The research projects will give the UK the opportunity to take a global lead in virtual simulation technology

Five new academic research projects that will advance the UK’s role in developing virtual simulation technologies were unveiled today by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Rt.Hon Dr Vince Cable MP.

The unique £10m five year collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover and the country’s leading academics will develop the capability of the virtual simulation industry in the UK and will give manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover access to new, world-class simulation tools and processes. This is the first phase of a 20 year strategic project that could put the UK at the leading edge of virtual simulation globally.

The research will improve the quality and capabilities of simulation, using sights, sounds and even smells to make virtual simulation more realistic.

Giving engineers a more realistic perception of what a design might achieve, as well as giving them access to more powerful computers, will mean even more engineering can be virtual. This will help manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover deliver more complex new vehicle programmes more quickly. It will also help save costs in product development by reducing the reliance on physical prototypes and have environmental benefits by limiting the number of prototypes that need to be driven and tested in the real world.

Announcing the funding during a visit to WMG at the University of Warwick, Dr Cable said: “With world-class universities and cutting edge companies like Jaguar Land Rover, the UK is well placed to be at the forefront of driving innovation and developing new technology. This investment will support the Government’s industrial strategy by boosting the UK’s manufacturing capability and helping to keep us globally competitive.”

The projects form part of the ‘Programme for Simulation Innovation’ (PSI), a partnership between Jaguar Land Rover and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Loughborough University, University of Leeds, University of Cambridge and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG).

The PSI project is funded by Jaguar Land Rover (£4m), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (£4m) and the partner Universities (£2m) and is split into two phases that will run over the next five years. The five projects announced today form the first phase and will make up 80 per cent of the programme. The projects include:

  • Analysis of the vehicle as a complex system (Loughborough, Leeds)
  • Multi-physics and multi-functional simulation (Loughborough )
  • Driving simulation (Leeds)
  • High performance computing and simulation knowledge mining and abstraction (Cambridge)
  • Visualisation and virtual experience (Warwick)

Bob Joyce, Jaguar Land Rover Engineering Director, said: “While we already utilise a wide range of sophisticated virtual engineering tools and processes to design, engineer and test our new vehicles, we are keen to enhance the future capability of virtual simulation and tailor them for automotive product development. We want to make advances in the simulated driver and passenger experience, including more realistic imagery, sounds and even smells.  These projects will help us analyse increasingly complex cars at whole vehicle, system and component levels, as well as enhancing the high performance computers that industry will use in the future to mine increasing amounts of more complex data.

“Jaguar Land Rover believes the UK needs to be globally competitive in industrial innovation. Collaboration between Jaguar Land Rover and academia to develop new automotive applications will give the UK an opportunity to take a lead in virtual simulation technology.”

EPSRC’s Chief Executive Professor David Delpy said: “This partnership shows how the research community can work hand in hand with industry to push boundaries in science and engineering. EPSRC’s role, as a sponsor of innovative research, has been to work with Jaguar Land Rover to define the longer term research needs of the industry, issue a call for proposals and facilitate robust peer review.”

Its that time of the Month again - UK MAY sales figures


MAY 2012 1126 sales - MAY 2013 1259 sales +11.81%
YTD 2012 5951 sales - YTD 2013 7317 sales +22.95%


MAY 2012 3860 sales - MAY 2013 3826 sales -0.88%
YTD 2012 22303 sales - YTD 2013 26074 sales +16.91%



MAY 2012 10303 sales - MAY 2013 10736 sales +4.20%
YTD 2012 50212 sales - YTD 2013 50924 sales +1.42%


MAY 2012 7282 sales - MAY 2013 8391 sales +15.23%
YTD 2012 39579 sales - YTD 2013 45024 sales +13.76%


MAY 2012 695 sales - MAY 2013 606 sales -12.81%
YTD 2012 3938 sales - YTD 2013 3376 sales -14.27%


MAY 2012 10116 sales - MAY 2013 12265 sales +21.24%
YTD 2012 55069 sales - YTD 2013 61350 sales +11.41%


ABARTH +16.67%
CITROEN +15.99%
DACIA +0.00%
FIAT +13.97%
FORD +4.32%
HONDA +13.68%
HYUNDAI +15.04%
KIA +10.65%
LOTUS +1.27%
MAZDA +1.60%
MINI +10.89% 
NISSAN +18.30%
PEUGEOT +5.92%
PORSCHE +2.02%
SEAT +16.31%
SKODA +15.08% 
SMART +11.22% 
SUZUKI +33.24%
TOYOTA +1.79%
VAUXHALL +13.92%


ALFA ROMEO -33.65%
BENTLEY -13.98%
INFINITI -15.67%
JEEP -21.92%
MAZDA -1.93%
MG -79.06%
PERODUA -35.07%
PROTON -89.13%
RENAULT -3.65%
SAAB -97.60%
SUBARU -15.06%
VOLVO -3.52%

Another great month for car sales in the UK, up 11% to over 180,000 sold, Jaguar continue to provide strong results with Land Rover showing a tiny dip in month on month sales, BMW, Audi and Mercedes have all significant May sales and Lexus as usual seem to be going the other way.

MG continues its downward trend with yet more people not buying their cars, and with the new MG3 due in the next couple of months, that will be another car for them not to sell, and just to rub salt in the wound, Dacia manages to sell 1171 cars in May and nearly 5200 for the year, these are numbers that MG UK can only dream of.

Renault has the new Clio, yet sales are still down for the year, so has the Clio not gone to peoples hearts, well yes, sales for May were up nearly 10%, hopefully with the new Captur coming on stream soon, its looking good for them for the second half of the year, Volvo has lost the C30 and therefore lots of sales, they are down a tad at -3.52%, the C30 accounted for 1 in 7 of all C30 worldwide sales in the UK, so to lose that car is a major loss.

With the exception of Bentley, all teh VAG brands showed decent rises, with SEAT having lots of new cars to sell and Skoda with the Rapid and new Octavia, Porsche has revamped cars and VW has the new variants of the Golf being released so the rest of 2013 are looking good for them, unlike the US brands, Jeep, Chrysler and Chevy, all down, never mind, at least they keep trying.

New Octavia vRS to get GFoS debut

  • Pure emotion - the new ŠKODA Octavia vRS
  • Perfect combination of sportiness, space and functionality
  • From 0 to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds, max. 154 mph
  • Two new engines: more performance, lower fuel consumption, fewer emissions
  • Innovative technology: safety and comfort assistance systems, progressive steering
  • New: Bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights
  • Powerful performance, sporty interior and extra sound for that racing feel, five fantastically-designed alloy wheels
  • World debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​on 10th July, 2013

The curtain rises for the fastest production Octavia ever: the new ŠKODA Octavia vRS celebrates its world debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​on the 10th of July. The Czech manufacturer continues the most comprehensive model campaign in the company’s history with this latest model. The third generation Octavia vRS/Octavia estate vRS really creates a strong impression with its powerful and efficient engines, racy design and innovative technology.

"The new ŠKODA Octavia vRS is in a sports league of its own," says ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland. "Our latest model stands for horsepower and fuel efficiency and, at the same time, for emotion and rationality. Never before has an Octavia vRS been so fast and dynamic and yet so spacious, convenient, safe and comfortable as the third generation of our compact sports car. In this perfect combination, the new Octavia vRS and Octavia estate vRS set new standards in the sporty compact class and also takes the brand’s sporty genes with it on the road. A perfect car for free time and everyday use, maximum power, the latest technology and great value for money," explains Vahland.

The new Octavia vRS accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 154 mph (with manual six-speed gearbox). The new model also offers all the outstanding features of the new ŠKODA Octavia: highest functionality, plenty of room, top-safety, state-of-the-art assistance systems in terms of safety and comfort, as well as being excellent value for money. The new ŠKODA Octavia vRS will be available for retail in European markets as of July, starting in the UK.

Two new engines power the new ŠKODA Octavia vRS. There is a choice of the two-litre petrol 220 PS ortwo-litre diesel 184 PS. The 2.0 TSI-petrol, in conjunction with the six-speed manual gearbox, thrusts the Octavia vRS from 0 to 62 mph in only 6.8 seconds. The maximum speed now lies at 154 mph, making it 4 mph faster than the second generation Octavia vRS. The new Octavia vRS 2.0 TDI-diesel manages 0 to 62 mph in 8.1 seconds with a top speed of 144 mph (with six-speed manual gearbox).

Compared to the second generation Octavia vRS, the new engines provide more power whilst consuming up to 19% less fuel. Start-Stop and Brake Energy Regeneration are fitted as standard. A manual gearbox or DSG dual clutch transmission are available as options for both engines, each with six gears.

Modern suspension optimises the handling of the compact sports car. The new ŠKODA Octavia vRS is fitted with sports suspension as standard. The body has also been lowered by 12mm compared to the standard Octavia (Octavia estate vRS body: 13 mm). The newly developed multi-link axle is used as the rear axle.  For precise track guidance, there is a MacPherson strut with underlying triangle wishbone. Electronic differential lock XDS integrated into the electronic stability control (ESC) now comes as standard. This function improves the traction of the wheels and reduces the tendency to understeer in fast cornering. For better handling and greater agility comes the new electro-mechanical progressive steering. Thanks to this technology, the driver can make smaller movements in steering to achieve the desired turning radius. That means less grip is needed for tight corners.

Speed and class are conveyed in the new ŠKODA Octavia vRS design from the word go. Either as Octavia vRS or Octavia estate vRS, the latest ŠKODA model really shows off its lean sporty genes. It is clear to onlookers from the start that this is the new sporty Octavia vRS and the brand’s new design language shines through.  The front view is dominated by the creative interplay of the characteristic ŠKODA front grille sporting the vRS badge, distinctive honeycomb air intakes, a new vRS-style front bumper and fog lights as well as the new bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights now fitted as standard.

From the side view,the car is considerably lower compared to the standard Octavia body.  In comparison to the second generation Octavia vRS, the vehicle has grown significantly in length (+88 mm, estate +86 mm) and width (+45 mm). At the same time the wheelbase has risen by 102mm, enhancing the powerful image of the car as the shortened overhang. The series standard, red-lacquered brake callipers provide pure emotion, as do the powerful proportions, high tornado line and sharp, precise edges and lines.

The Octavia vRS’s new light-alloy wheels lend the car a particularly sporty look. The designers have created four new 17”, 18” and 19” wheel designs. The tyres have an impressive, racy two-tone look, a distinctive outfit, visual lightness, sharp edges and a finish precise to the smallest detail.  The new Octavia vRS drives on the series standard  ‘Dorado’ 17” light alloys fitted with 225/45 tyres.  Then there are the optional 18” ‘Gemini’ and ‘Pictoris’ alloys (each for 225/40 tyres). Two colours are available for the ‘Gemini’: silver und anthracite. Anyone who appreciates ultra-sporty wheels will love ŠKODA’s accessories for the Octavia vRS and there are yet more treats in store like the ‘Xtrem’ 19” light alloys in black.

The rear is dominated in the lower section by a strong black diffuser element and the overlying wide reflector spotlight.These elements are also distinctive features of the new Octavia vRS just like the two large, trapezoidal-shaped chrome exhaust tailpipes. Then there are the rear lights fitted as standard with LED technology in the brand’s typical C-shape.  And the designers have not forgotten about the spoiler, which, on the estate vRS, is fitted as a roof-edge spoiler.

The interior of the new ŠKODA Octavia vRS is characterised by the sporty, black interior. The interior of the front doors is newly equipped with integrated ambient lighting for the internal door handles. There are newly developed vRS-design sports seats for the driver and passenger and a sporty three-spoke steering wheel with perforated leather is fitted as standard. The gear stick and handbrake are also made of leather. The sill plates and pedals are made ​​of stainless steel. The instrument panel with a rich-colour Maxi DOT display has its own unique vRS design. The steering wheel, gear stick, door sill panels, seats and floor mats all sport the vRS logo.

In addition to its sporty features, the new ŠKODA Octavia boasts all the outstanding attributes that distinguish it as the new Octavia in both body versions.  These primarily include the superior interior space and numerous ‘Simply Clever’ solutions. ŠKODA’s well-known quality is also an integral part of the sporty version.

Space like no other: no other compact sports car offers more interior length (1,782 mm), more legroom (73 mm) or more headroom in the back (980 mm). Even the boot sets another record in the class: The boot volume in the Octavia vRS increased by 5 litres to 590 litres, and the estate vRS has increased to 610 litres.

Added to that, there are a whole host of other ‘Simply Clever’ features, such as the foldable cargoitems as well as the double-sided boot flooring, an ice scraper in the fuel cap and the high-vis jacket under the driver’s seat. There are also litter containers, multimedia holders and a number of storage compartments, holders and hooks fitted as standard in the new Octavia vRS. The new Octavia estate vRS has an optional adjustable boot floor. The jacket shelf under the boot cover is new in the estate vRS. The roller cover for the boot can be removed and stowed under the adjustable loading floor. The backrest of the rear seat can also be folded 60:40.

The new ŠKODA Octavia vRS boasts the highest level of safety.  Included in the newly developed safety system are the Front Assistant with city emergency braking, Lane Assistant to keep you on track, Automatic Post Collision Braking System with automatic brake intervention in the event of an accident, Crew Protect Assistant to protect the vehicle under accident conditions and the Driver Fatigue Sensor. In the event of an accident, a comprehensive package of passive safety features work to provide the best possible protection for the driver and passengers with up to nine airbags amongst other things.

The car leaves nothing to be desired in terms of comfort thanks to the many on board comfort systems. As an option, the new ŠKODA Octavia vRS comes with Adaptive Cruise Assistant, which keeps a set distance from the car ahead. The new Intelligent Light Assistant automatically switches the long-beam lights on and off. The Automatic Parking Assistant supports you getting in and out of tight spaces. The road sign detection in the ‘Traveller Assistant’ package indicates traffic signals.

KESSY Keyless-Entry-Start-and-Exit-System is also available upon request for the new Octavia vRS along with the electric panoramic sunroof for both body versions.  In addition, there is a completely new generation of infotainment radio and navigation systems. Swing – the CD/radio with TFT monochrome display is also fitted as standard in the brand’s latest model with four front and rear speakers. Up to eight full-size touch screens with proximity sensors are fitted in higher systems.  The CANTON Sound System offers passengers sound-optimised audio for pure listening pleasure.

Vauxhall's new baby wins another award

Vauxhall’s fashionable A-sector ADAM has scooped the best interior design in a production car award at the Automotive Interiors EXPO 2013.

Beating stiff competition including the Alfa 4C, Jaguar F-Type, Renault Clio and the new Range Rover, Vauxhall’s stylish urban newcomer was selected by a jury of respected motoring journalists from around the world. The award is part of a trade show in Stuttgart, Germany for concepts, materials, surfaces, fabrics and components in vehicle interior equipment.

Elizabeth Wetzel, Interior Design Director for the newcomer, is especially pleased with the Vauxhall ADAM’s victory: “The individualisation of the interior is one of the ADAM’s many outstanding traits. Our small lifestyle car offers almost 82,000 combinations for interior-styling. The EXPO AWARD is a wonderful tribute to the whole Opel/Vauxhall design team.”

With prices starting from £11,255, ADAM introduces unprecedented levels of personalisation into the style-conscious A-segment, giving every customer the chance to create a truly bespoke ADAM reflecting their individual style and personality.

Like all Vauxhalls, ADAM is covered by a Lifetime Warranty up to 100,000 miles.

Rolls Royce re-lives 1913 Alpine Trial

Final preparations are underway for the recreation of the 1913 Alpine Trial. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ Authorised Dealer in Essex, P&A Wood, is playing an essential role in ensuring cars are in perfect condition for what remains one of the automotive world’s most gruelling tests of endurance. 

Eight of the 40 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts participating in the rally, many over a century old, have been meticulously prepared by the dealership’s skilled technicians and craftspeople.  

Since its foundation in 1967, P&A Wood has established a reputation as one of the world’s leading restorers of Rolls-Royce motor cars. The company’s site is nestled in the beautiful Essex countryside and boasts a unique coachwork facility where much of the rally preparation work is taking place.

A new dedicated Rolls-Royce showroom will open in late summer providing a world-class showcase for contemporary Phantom, Ghost and Wraith models.

“P&A Wood plays a vital role in preserving the marque’s rich history whilst contributing significantly to the contemporary Rolls-Royce success story,” said James Crichton, Regional Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Europe. He added: “Investment in a new dedicated Rolls-Royce showroom space is testament to a shared commitment to long-term sustainable growth and providing a sales and aftersales experience befitting the world’s leading super-luxury marque.”

On 14 June 2013, 40 Silver Ghosts will depart from Vienna, wafting through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy before returning on 29 June. The faithful re-enactment celebrates the seminal 1913 Trials, a test of endurance that saw the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost cement its reputation for faultless reliability – establishing the legend of the ‘Best Car in the World’.

The cars will tackle over 1,800 miles over some of the world’s most spectacular and challenging mountain passes.

P&A Wood’s motto; ‘Attention to Detail’ echoes the sentiments of Rolls-Royce founding father Sir Henry Royce who famously implored his staff to “Strive for perfection in everything you do”. This approach has earned them much success in concourse events across the globe – with over 100 awards won to date.

“This is an extraordinarily busy time for the workshop,” said Georgina Wood, P&A Wood. Adding: “Eight cars have been sent here from around the world for their final preparations, many of which over a century old. However, such is the enduring engineering integrity of a Rolls-Royce, I am certain they will negotiate the challenging Alpine roads as effortlessly as they did 100 years ago.”

The 2013 Alpine Trial Centenary Collection

Echoing events a century ago, a Rolls-Royce Works Team will take part in the rally. The original ‘James Radley’ 1913 Silver Ghost will be joined by a contemporary homage created by Bespoke designers and craftspeople at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England.

Finished in an exterior hue that takes inspiration from the Radley car, the 2013 Alpine Trial Centenary Ghost features exquisitely crafted Bespoke touches that elegantly tell the story of the 1913 Trial.

The clock displays the stages of the rally and timings, whilst inlays to rear picnic tables and the front fascia express the topography and distances of the Alpine route.

A hand-painted coachline referencing the four Rolls-Royce motor cars that took part in the rally and headlining, colour-matched to the hood of Radley’s car, completes a beautiful tribute.

Porsche celebrates 50 years of the 911

  • Commemorative 50 Years Edition of the Porsche 911 coupé celebrates launch of the car in 1963
  • Based on the 911 Carrera S, with rear-mounted, 400 hp flat-six engine
  • Features exclusive wider body combined with two-wheel drive chassis
  • Limited to 1,963 examples priced from £92,257, arriving in Porsche Centres September 2013

Porsche is celebrating a special anniversary of the 911 sports car at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt in September with a commemorative 50 Years Edition – half a century since the iconic coupé made its debut in the German city. Appropriately, the special model will be limited to 1,963 cars.

In 1963, Porsche presented the original model to the public. Since this first announcement – initially as the type 901 – the 911 has excited automotive fans across the globe. Porsche will unveil the limited edition model to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 911 at the IAA in Frankfurt, which opens its doors to the public on 12 September, 2013.

Like the first coupé, the 911 50 Years Edition combines a distinctive silhouette with a rear-mounted, flat-six engine and rear wheel drive. Yet its efficient performance, active sports suspension and exclusive body styling add contemporary appeal. Over seven successive generations, the Porsche 911 continues to resolve apparent contradictions – such as between tradition and innovation and performance and efficiency – andhas become renowned as the quintessential benchmark sports car.

This special anniversary 911 is based on the 911 Carrera S, but is clothed in the wider body – 44 mm broader across the rear wheel arches – that is typically reserved for the all-wheel drive Carrera 4 models. The unique exterior styling is combined with features that have contributed to the 50-year success story of the car. For example, the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), with special tuning to complement the increased track width, adds to the exceptional cornering dynamics. The car also features a sports exhaust system for increased emotional character.

Powered by a 400 hp 3.8-litre flat-six engine, the 911 50 Years Edition sprints from 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds (4.3 secs with PDK) and can reach a top speed of 186 mph (185 mph with PDK). The NEDC Combined fuel consumption is 29.7 mpg (32.5 mpg with PDK), which equates to CO2 emissions of 224 g/km (205 g/km with PDK).

Giving a clear indication to the rear-mounted location of the flat-six power plant are bespoke chrome strips on the fins of the engine compartment grille. These are complemented with special trims on the front air inlets, and in a strip across the car between the rear lights. A further contemporary interpretation of 911 leitmotifs are the unique five-spoke cast alloy wheels whose style has been inspired by the so-called ‘Fuchs’ wheels, a legendary rim that was in fact a Porsche design and first fitted to the 911 in 1966. The new 20-inch diameter wheels are finished in matt black paint with machine-polished centres.

Two unique colours are available for this anniversary 911; a darker Graphite Grey and a lighter Geyser Grey metallic. Black is also available. Each of the cars has a ‘911 50’ badge finished in two-tone 3D-style on the rear lid, which is repeated in three-colour embroidery on the head restraints and as a two-colour logo on the rev counter and the aluminium door sill plates. It is also displayed on the passenger side fascia strip together with the limited edition number of the individual vehicle.

Other exterior characteristics of the special model are high-gloss window frames and SportDesign exterior mirrors. A technical highlight is the Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), which adds a dynamic cornering function to the already standard-fit Bi-Xenon headlights.

Inside, there are further styling touches reminiscent of the original 911 such as green labelling on the instruments with white pointer needles and silver caps on the instrument pivot pins. Another special feature are the centre panels of the leather seats, which are designed with a fabric pattern that evokes the ‘Pepita’ tartan design from the 1960s. The leather interior can be specified in Agate Grey or Black with decorative stitching. Sports seats with 14-way adjustment are standard, with 18-way Sport Seats Plus available as an option. The gear shift or selector lever – which, like the decorative panels on the dashboard, doors and centre console, is trimmed in brushed aluminium – comes from the Porsche Exclusive custom tailoring programme.

The 911 50 Years Edition is available to order now from Porsche Centres in the UK and Ireland, priced from £92,257. First right-hand drive deliveries will arrive in September.

In addition to the bespoke equipment of the anniversary model, standard equipment on the 911 Carrera S includes Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with rear limited slip differential, 4.6-inch colour touch-screen Porsche Communication Management with satellite navigation, automatic climate control, Bi-Xenon headlights, a universal audio interface offering MP3 connectivity and a three year warranty.

Fitted to every 911 is a Porsche Vehicle Tracking System (VTS), a sophisticated vehicle security package approved to Thatcham Category 5 standard, and customers are also able to explore the potential of their new car by participating in a complimentary course at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone.

Nissan gives its baby a major overhaul

  • Comprehensive round of improvements go deeper than a mere makeover
  • Innovative technical features include NissanConnect satnav
  • Third best-selling Nissan model in the UK goes on sale in September

Nissan has significantly updated the Micra with a round of changes so wide-ranging they go well beyond what usually constitutes a mid-term facelift.

As well as a new look front and rear - complete with sheet metal changes - New Micra has been given a substantial interior makeover. There is new technology, a new centre console, new trim and new finishing touches.

Depending on trim level there's an all-new communication centre with the latest state-of-the-art touchscreen navigation system now with a larger screen. On the exterior, additions include two bold new colours and new 15-inch and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Nissan has also expanded Micra's choice of personalisation options designed to allow an owner to create their own unique Micra. The changes, allied to the model's acclaimed performance and handling, boost and broaden the appeal of Nissan's popular small car.

At its heart, however, New Micra remains true to the design ethos that shaped the definitive small car when the original was launched, 30 years and more than six million examples ago.

New Micra remains not just fun to drive and, thanks to its compact turning circle, easy to park but is also one of the most advanced small cars on the market.

Among its features are its highly efficient direct injection gasoline-supercharged (DIG-S) petrol engine, its innovative, accessible and genuinely helpful Parking Slot Measurement, which helps guide the driver into tight parking spaces, and I-Key which delivers not just keyless entry but also keyless engine start.

With its new look, comprehensive improvements and quality upgrades, New Micra will build on the success of the current model, introduced to the European market three years ago. It’s the third best-selling Nissan model in the UK and Europe behind Qashqai and Juke.

Changes in detail

New Micra’s most obvious changes are to the exterior. The entire ‘face' has changed with a new grille re-establishing a stronger link to Nissan's corporate look with the familiar circular badge ‘held' within a chromed extended V-shaped motif.

But it's not just the grille that has changed. In fact, the bonnet, wings, headlamps and front bumper are also all new. And where fitted, the front fog lamps have been given a distinctive new shape & chrome surround. The changes give New Micra a stronger, more assertive and dynamic look.

It's all change at the rear, too, with a redesigned bumper, new LED tail lamps and a panel at the bottom of the tailgate. The fresh look is complemented by a new 15-inch alloy wheel design and the introduction of machine-finished 16-inch alloys. Together the styling changes make New Micra appear more purposeful and better ‘planted' on the road.

An eye-catching palette includes two new colours: pearl metallic Pacific Blue (a predominantly turquoise shade) and metallic Platinum Sage. These join the eight existing colours.

A number of significant changes can be found inside too. The instrument graphics ahead of the driver have been improved for greater clarity, while there's a totally new centre console with restyled air vents.

The interior has been enhanced with the use of gloss black finish on the centre console and a silver look to the gear selector finisher. The door armrests have been textured to give a higher quality appearance and there are new seat and door pad fabrics. Visia and Acenta grades have a durable tricot mesh woven fabric – a material often used for sports clothing - while top Tekna models have a suede-like fabric with double stitching.

The interior also now benefits from dash-mounted Aux-in and USB slots linked to all audio units while a 12v socket has been added, allowing mobile phones or MP3 players to be recharged on the move with ease.

All but entry-level Visia models benefit from audio equipment that has been better integrated into the centre console with matching gloss and matt black finishers as appropriate.

More significantly, New Micra benefits from the availability of the latest NissanConnect navigation and communication system, which has new features and a bigger 5.8-inch screen (up from 5-inches) with chromed controls.

Upgraded navigation now features eco-routing, which automatically calculates the route likely to use the least fuel. It is supplemented by an eco-scoring table that allows a driver to check how economically he or she has been driving.

The larger colour touchscreen not only means maps and directions are easier to read, but also that album cover art linked to the owner's music library can be displayed.

The new system also incorporates advanced features such as Google Send-To-Car technology, which allows an owner to plan a journey on their PC or tablet at home or in the office and then send the instructions to the car ahead of the journey.

Google's Point of Interest (POI) search-and-access to weather forecasts, local fuel prices and flight information, is also included. The navigation system now includes a motorway ‘exit view’ complete with lane guidance to help when leaving highways and the system also displays prevailing speed limits with a driver-set speed warning providing visual and audible alerts when the car hits a certain speed above the limit.

Another innovation is the availability of an advanced parking aid. Thanks to its electric power steering and one of the best turning circles in its class - just 4.65m - New Micra is instantly at home in the city... especially when equipped with Parking Slot Measurement and Rear Parking Sensors.

PSM lives up to its name by measuring parking slots and alerting the driver via a dashboard display as to whether New Micra can be safely parked in the space or not: the system can even be adjusted to account for the driver's skill - amateur, normal or expert.

But perhaps the biggest innovation is under the bonnet where one of the most efficient petrol engines in the world can be found, Nissan's latest three-cylinder 1.2-litre direct injection gasoline supercharged (DIG-S) unit.

The range-topping DIG-S develops 98PS to provide exceptional performance and refinement with diesel-rivalling economy (68.9mpg combined) and emissions from just 95g/km. DIG-S engines also feature automatic stop/start when the car is stationary improving fuel economy by around four per cent.

The entry-level 1.2-litre unit develops 80PS for lively performance and emissions from 115g/km. New Micra is front-wheel drive with a slick five-speed manual gearbox as standard or optionally the latest generation CVT.

There are three models in New Micra line-up starting with the entry-level Visia. Standard equipment includes remote central locking, front power windows, electric power steering, 14-inch wheels, Radio & CD player with Aux & USB plus a full complement of safety equipment including driver and front passenger airbags, side airbags and curtain bags, ABS and ESP.

Mid-range Acenta adds chrome accents, body colour door mirrors and handles, 15-inch wheels, roof spoiler, automatic climate control, front fog lamps, driver's armrest, leather covered steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity plus automatic control for the headlamps and wipers.

Top Tekna versions add automatic air conditioning, NissanConnect, rear parking sensors, Parking Slot Measurement, 16-inch alloy wheels, suede-like seat fabric, automatic folding door mirrors and Intelligent Key with engine start button.

A panoramic glass roof is available as on option on Tekna grade.

A wide range of personalisation options is also being introduced from Acenta grade, so owners can now specify their preferred colour of wheel centre caps and door mirrors on the exterior, while inside they can personalise their gear knob, air-vent, gear stick surround and velour mats to make their car unique.

"New Micra benefits from all the attributes of the current K13 model such as strong performance, handling and advanced technology, but with enhanced quality and a dynamic new look. The next chapter of the Micra story has begun," said Helen Perry, Micra Product Manager for Europe.

Stunning Alfa 4C to get UK first look at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

  • The Alfa Romeo 4C will make a dynamic UK debut at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed
  • Members of the public to see the stunning compact supercar in action for the first time

Alfa Romeo UK is pleased to announce that the eagerly anticipated Alfa 4C will make its dynamic UK debut at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed (12-14 July). The exclusive ‘Launch Edition’ of the compact supercar will be showcased at the prestigious festival’s ‘First Glance Class’ and will also be seen in action by the public for the very first time as it ascends the famous Hill Climb course.

The ‘Launch Edition’ of the Alfa 4C was given its world première at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year where the model was met with critical acclaim. Made in Italy, the Alfa 4C represents the true essence of a sports car, embodying the authentic values of the Alfa Romeo brand: Italian style, performance and technical excellence, offering maximum driving satisfaction in total safety.

Just like its spiritual predecessor, the iconic 33 Stradale, the Alfa 4C is a mid-engined, rear wheel drive, compact sports coupé. Both cars – along with technical displays of the Alfa 4C chassis and gearbox – will feature on the Alfa Romeo Goodwood stand.

The Alfa 4C offers supreme agility with compact dimensions of just under 4m long, 2m wide and 118cm high; also making it incredibly aerodynamic and efficient. Powered by a new all-aluminium, direct-injection, 240hp 1750cc turbo petrol engine, developing 350Nm of torque, the implemented state-of-the-art technical and technological solutions push the Alfa 4C to reach real supercar performance, as demonstrated by a power to weight ratio of more than 250hp per ton.

Combining Launch Control and Alfa’s TCT transmission, the Alfa 4C has a top speed in excess of 155mph, a 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds, 1.1 of lateral g on corners and 1.25 g of maximum braking deceleration.A new version of the Alfa DNA selector fitted to the 4C will also feature a new Race mode alongside the original three options – Dynamic, Natural and All Weather.

Damien Dally, Head of Brand at Alfa Romeo UK said: “The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a spectacular celebration of motoring drawing automotive enthusiasts from all over the country and even Europe. What better event for the Alfa 4C to make a thrilling UK debut? We can’t wait to see the crowd reaction as this fantastic car takes to the famous Hill Climb for the very first time. This will be a Festival of Speed to remember for Alfa Romeo.”

Goodbye to Volvo's baby

As the Volvo C30 comes to the end of the road, Volvo Cars takes a look back and celebrates the success of the sporty hatchback that sold almost 210,000 cars worldwide – with one in seven sold in the UK.

On sale for just seven years, the visually arresting C30 was a major design departure for Volvo Cars when it launched in 2006 and as a result has developed a hardcore following achieving cult status, particularly among a younger audience.

Making Volvo Cars cool for the first time since the heady days of the design classic P1800, the sleek and sporty four-seat C30 was immortalised in the Twilight films with vampire R-Patz taking the wheel to demonstrate just what the powerful C30 was capable of when rescuing love-interest Kristen Stewart.

Film appearances have swiftly followed, with the striking C30 starring in the Abyss and She’s Out of my League as well as spots on TV shows Primeval, Fifth Gear and Top Gear.  Even pop group JLS fell for the looks and charm of the C30, using it in one of their music videos.

With almost 210,000 C30s sold worldwide, if parked bumper to bumper, they would stretch almost 900km – from London to Munich.  If they were stacked on top of each other, they would reach the Thermosphere – or as tall as 934 Eiffel Towers, or 1,916 Blackpool Towers.

And for fans wondering about the last ever C30 – log on to www.LastEverC30.co.uk for more information and your chance to win the car.  It is a sporty and aggressive ice white R-design C30 with Polestar upgrade, up for grabs in an exciting Twitter competition.

The beginnings

The C30 started life in 2001 at the Detroit Motor Show, with the launch of the Volvo Safety Concept Car.

Fast forward five years and Volvo Cars launched a future classic in Paris in September 2006, clearly borrowing the shape and design of the instantly recognisable C30 from the Volvo Safety Concept Car.

The C30 was the starting point for Volvo Cars’ leadership in active safety. About 15 of the advanced technical solutions found in today's Volvo models were first seen in the Volvo SCC, such as forward collision warning, BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) and lane Departure Warning and Driver Alert.

Modified versions

Mix a Formula One car with a C30 and you’ve got the idea behind the concept by Evolve Cars Inc.  Created just a month after the Paris debut for the 2006 SEMA show in Las Vegas, Evolve created an enthusiast’s dream drawing on F1 technology and its renowned track record of maximising the performance potential of Volvo Cars with their stunning version of the C30.

Going Green with C30

Utilising the versatile C30 for another concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007, Volvo Cars launched the Volvo ReCharge Concept.  A plug-in hybrid with individual electric wheel motors, this modified C30 had batteries that can be recharged via a regular electrical outlet for maximum environmental benefit and can be driven around 100km on battery power alone before a four-cylinder Flexifuel engine kicks in to power the car and recharge the battery.

Polestar C30 Concept

In 2010, the team behind Volvo’s championship-winning Swedish Touring Car Team created a monster 400PS AWD road car version of their Volvo C30 Racer.  The Performance Concept Prototype was the result of what happens when a Championship-winning team of race engineers and designers get free-rein to design and engineer a car.

A Volvo C30 Polestar testing at Nürburgring Nordschleife may be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRgNezdpmQU

Swedish Touring Car Racing (STCC)

The C30 has seen massive success in the four years that Polestar raced a version in the STCC, winning both the team and driver’s titles in 2009 and 2010.  A similar version also raced for two years in the World Touring Car Championships.

A tribute to the Volvo C30 may be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LheJMyBfquE

Celebrating the end of an era

Volvo Car UK is celebrating the success of the Volvo C30 by launching a three-day game on www.LastEverC30.co.uk which will see one lucky person become the proud owner of the #LastEverC30.

The journey starts on Thursday 13th June at 07:00 when the C30 R-Design with Polestar upgrade departs from Gothenburg, Sweden, making its way to the UK and to a specific area over the next two days - but only with the help of the audience and through the power of their tweets.  Each tweet posted using the hashtag #LastEverC30 not only brings the car closer to the UK but enters the person posting into a competition to win additional prizes along the way.

On Saturday 15th June 2013, the third and final day of the competition, participants will have to unlock the car’s exact location by solving four clues posted on www.LastEverC30.co.uk and then get there as fast as they can to complete one final task. Whoever does this first will be crowned the winner and owner of the last ever C30.

Follow the action, find out how to play and take part in the Last Ever C30 journey on www.LastEverC30.co.uk.