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, 14 June 2013

30 million and counting, the MK VII Golf celebrates

  • World’s 30 millionth Golf drives off the assembly line in Wolfsburg
  • ‘Car of the Year 2013’ award presented in Wolfsburg
On Thursday, Prof. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, also officially accepted the “Car of the Year 2013” award for the Golf conferred by the 60 member international jury for the highly esteemed award. Prof. Winterkorn commented on both of these events: “The history of the Golf is also the history of automotive progress. With technologies such as the safe front-wheel drive of the first Golf, the debut of the TDI in the third Golf, ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and the dual clutch gearbox of the fourth Golf and the standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System of the new generation, this car has continued to democratise progress. An optimum of safety, comfort and driving fun are no longer a question of money thanks to the Golf. And so our bestseller lives up to the Volkswagen name.” The milestone vehicle will be officially on display for employees of the Wolfsburg plant this coming Saturday at the plant’s open day.

The seven Golf generations that wrote history.
Golf I (1974 to 1983): “It all began in 1974 with a revolution,” is how Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen brand describes it. “The step from the Beetle to the Golf was revolutionary. A new vehicle layout was created with the conversion from an air-cooled rear engine to a water-cooled front engine and from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive. In terms of the car’s styling, Volkswagen designers switched from round shapes to a rectangular design structure – based on the legendary design study by Giorgio Giugiaro”.
Golf II (1983 to 1991): This was the Golf in which Volkswagen technologies such as the controlled catalytic converter (1984), ABS (1986) and all-wheel drive (1986) were introduced. In this generation, the model series also advanced to become a definitive icon. Marc Lichte, lead exterior designer for Volkswagen recalls: “Back then, one of the key moments in the history of the Golf was the decision by board members to further develop the styling of the Golf I and conceptualise the Golf II based on its “visual DNA”. This set everything into motion, and Volkswagen created the foundation for continuous development of the model series.”
Golf III (1991 to 1997): In 1991, Volkswagen initiated a new era of safety in the third generation. For one, the Golf III was the first model in the series to offer front airbags in 1992; for another, great progress in the area of body manufacturing led to further improvements in crash properties. The first TDI engine of the model series was also introduced in this Golf (1993).
Golf IV (1997 to 2003): Under the direction of the former Head of Design (Group) Hartmut Warkuß, a precise design was created that would pave the way for the future of Volkswagen. Today, experts look upon the Golf IV as a design icon and a pioneer for the series. But this Golf was also an engineering innovator with technologies such as ESC (1998) and the dual clutch gearbox (2002).
Golf V (2003 to 2008): It was the Golf, its comfort, dynamics and above all its quality that left many a competitor of the upper mid-class trailing behind. A value that illustrates the stability of the laser-welded body is the 35 per cent gain in torsional rigidity when the Golf V made its debut in 2003. The first Golf BlueMotion (4.5 l/100 km fuel consumption) – based on the Golf V – was created in 2007.
Golf VI (2008 to 2012): The body, once again welded by laser, was so safe that it performed with flying colours in EuroNCAP crash testing, attaining its maximum five star rating. The triumph of the TSI engines (high-tech petrol engines) and conversion of the turbodiesels (TDI) to the common rail system led to more dynamic performance and better fuel economy. The forerunner was the second Golf BlueMotion, which offered a combined fuel consumption value of just 3.8 l/100 km.
Golf VII (since 2012): Weight was reduced by up to 100 kg in the seventh generation Golf, reversing the much discussed upward weight spiral. Fuel consumption was reduced by as much as over 23 per cent compared to the previous model, depending on the specific engine. The forerunner of this movement is the Golf TDI BlueMotion with a combined fuel consumption of just 3.2 l/100km, and it is also the 30 millionth car produced. The Golf VII will definitely go down in history as the compact model in which an entire armada of new assistance systems made its debut. They are systems such as PreCrash preventive occupant protection and the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System – technologies that were more likely to be offered in the premium class than in the compact class previously. That too signifies a democratisation of automotive progress.

VAG group of companies sees sales increase worldwide, apart from Skoda !

  • 5.9 per cent* rise in deliveries from January to May
  • 816,500 units handed over in May / +6.9 per cent*
  • Group Board Member for Sales Christian Klingler: “Development of Group brands is stable. Markets worldwide remain difficult and uneven.”

The Volkswagen Group delivered 3.87 (January-May 2012: 3.65; +5.9 per cent)* million vehicles from January to May. The company handed over 816,500 (May 2012: 763,900; +6.9 per cent)* vehicles to customers in the month of May. “Overall, development of the Volkswagen Group brands in the period to May was stable, albeit at different levels. In particular Audi, Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Porsche as well as SEAT maintained delivery levels in spite of continuing difficult market conditions,” Group Board Member for Sales Christian Klingler said in Wolfsburg on Friday. Klingler went on to say: “Meanwhile, developments on markets worldwide remain uneven and are characterised by continuing economic uncertainty, above all in Western Europe. In contrast, the sales situation in China remains encouraging.”

Group brands delivered a total of 1.53 (1.58; -3.5 per cent) million vehicles on the overall European market from January to May, of which 799,100 (825,800; -3.2 per cent) were handed over in Western Europe (excluding Germany). In the home market of Germany, 473,100 (493,900; -4.2 per cent) customers opted for a new vehicle. Europe’s largest automaker delivered 254,000 (262,600; -3.3 per cent) vehicles in Central and Eastern Europe. 120,900 (122,500; -1.3 per cent) units were handed over to customers in Russia during the same period.

Deliveries in the North America region from January to May grew by 13.0 per cent to 360,000 (318,700) units, of which 249,300 (224,100; +11.2 per cent) were handed over in the United States. In South America, the Volkswagen Group delivered 375,400 (376,700; -0.4 per cent) vehicles to customers during the same period, of which 276,300 (273,000; +1.2 per cent) were handed over to customers in Brazil.

Group figures for the Asia-Pacific region remained encouraging. 1.43 (1.23; +16.4 per cent) million vehicles were handed over to customers there in the period to May, of which 1.28 (1.08; +18.2 per cent) million units were delivered in China, the Group’s largest single market. In contrast, deliveries in India dropped to 41,300 (51,700; -20.2 per cent) vehicles.

Outline of developments at Group brands

The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand delivered 2.41 (2.29; +5.3 per cent) million vehicles to customers worldwide from January to May. The brand developed well in the Asia-Pacific region, handing over 1.07 (0.91; +17.6 per cent) million vehicles there. In the North America region, Volkswagen Passenger Cars delivered 252,700 (242,100; +4.4 per cent) models, while deliveries on the overall European market, which remained difficult, ran at 688,900 (743,000; -7.3 per cent).

Audi delivered 640,200 (600,200; +6.7 per cent) vehicles to customers worldwide in the period to May. Deliveries by the premium brand from Ingolstadt developed well in the Asia-Pacific region, where 218,500 (189,000; +15.6 per cent) models were handed over to customers. In the North America region, Audi delivered 73,600 (64,000) vehicles during the same period, an increase of 14.9 per cent.

The sports car manufacturer Porsche, which became a Volkswagen Group brand on August 1, 2012, delivered a total of 67,300 vehicles in the first five months. Demand for models built by the Stuttgart-based carmaker was especially high in the Asia-Pacific region, where 20,000 vehicles were delivered, and in the North America region, where 19,400 models were handed over to customers.

ŠKODA delivered a total of 377,200 (405,500; -7.0 per cent) vehicles from January to May. The Czech automaker handed over 96,700 (107,600; -10.1 per cent) units in Central and Eastern Europe and 111,600 (120,900; -7.7 per cent) vehicles in the Asia-Pacific region.

SEAT delivered 149,100 (134,300; +11.0 per cent) vehicles worldwide in the period to May, thus continuing the upward trend. The Spanish brand recorded growth above all in Germany, where deliveries increased by 30.9 per cent to 30,700 (23,500) units, in the UK, where the company handed over 18,500 (16,500; +12.6 per cent) vehicles to customers, and in Mexico, where deliveries ran at 9,200 (8,500; +8.2 per cent) models.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles delivered 219,900 (220,600; -0.3 per cent) vehicles to customers from January to May, of which 66,800 (67,100; -0.5 per cent) units were handed over in Western Europe (excluding Germany). In contrast, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles grew deliveries in the South America region by 10.9 per cent to 61,800 (55,700) units.

*) including deliveries by the Porsche brand from August 1, 2012; excluding MAN and Scania

Tow Car Awards 6) Skoda wins with the NEW Octavia

  • First award for brand new compact hatchback
  • Scooped ‘up to 1,424kg’ weight category as well as overall title
  • Judges praise towing performance, practicality, driving dynamics and value for money

The ŠKODA Octavia was available to be considered for the top prize after it secured number one spot in the ‘up to 1,424kg’ weight category. Judges included the Editor and Tow Car Editor of Practical Caravan magazine, the Deputy Road Test Editor of What Car?, and the technical department at The Camping and Caravanning Club. The ŠKODA Octavia they used for the test was the 2.0-litre TDI 150 Elegance.

Speaking on behalf of the panel, David Motton, Tow Car Editor, Practical Caravan, commented: “With three out of five weight classes awarded to new models this year, the strength in depth has never been greater. That makes the ŠKODA Octavia’s win all the more remarkable. The Octavia has been given the nod over brilliant cars like the BMW 330d Touring and Jaguar XF Sportbrake.”

The ŠKODA Octavia’s 1,330kg kerbweight makes it the lightest overall winner in the seven-year history of the Tow Car Awards. That means it’s best suited to pulling relatively light tourers, but with caravan manufacturers building increasingly desirable lightweight models, the Octavia has solid appeal for the towing community.

“Owning a car that treads lightly on the scales needn’t be a barrier to enjoying your caravanning,” added Motton. “The ŠKODA tows brilliantly, is extremely practical, good to drive and costs less than you’d think. Most importantly, it proves that a great tow car doesn’t need to be heavy, thirsty or expensive.”

In its weight category, the Octavia impressed the judges because even when driven hard in a lane-change test, it stuck to its course no matter how much the caravan behind slid around.

The ŠKODA claimed the overall prize, thanks to its huge cabin and impressive value. “No other small family hatchback packs in so much space for passengers or luggage,” explained Motton. “In fact, the new generation is not really a ‘small’ family hatchback at all, with enough head and legroom to rival larger cars, especially for those travelling in the rear seats.”

The car’s generous 590 litres of luggage space also found fans among the judges, who said it was easily able to copy with a typical touring load.

Alasdair Stewart, Brand Director for ŠKODA UK, commented: "The all-new Octavia is an exceptionally practical family car, so for it to win its first award for towing − a practical family activity − is very appropriate. We hope it will be the first of many honours."

The Tow Car Awards is a joint venture between Practical Caravan, What Car? and The Camping and Caravanning Club, with caravans and technical support supplied by the Swift Group. Each car goes through a series of towing tests on a closed test track, including 30-60mph acceleration, 30-0mph braking, a hill start and an emergency lane-change test. The aim is to find cars which are great to tow with, but which are also good value and easy to live with in everyday driving.

Tow car Awards 5) Mazda wins with new '6', best petrol two car

  • Sixth award this year for all-new Mazda6
  • All-new Mazda6 praised for being spacious and affordable
  • Range of accessories available from Mazda to make holiday travel easier

The all-new Mazda6 claimed its sixth award this year after it was named as the ‘Best Petrol Tow Car’ at the Tow Car Awards 2013, held at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire last night (13 June).  The Mazda6 2.0-litre 165ps Sport Saloon petrol model won the title after rigorous testing against rivals from Ford, Peugeot and Vauxhall and was praised for its proven capability as a tow car in terms of its practicality, power and value for money.

Each of the shortlisted candidates were put through a series of towing tests at the MIRA proving ground in the Midlands, including 30-60mph acceleration, 30-0mph braking, a hill start and an emergency lane-change test.

Recognising the all-new Mazda6 as the winner, David Motton, Tow Car Editor at Practical Caravan and award judge, said: “If you need proof that diesel power isn’t a must for a tow car, the Mazda6 2.0-litre provides it.  In the lane-change test the Mazda6 felt firmly in charge, even on faster runs.  Inside, there’s plenty of space for those in the front and lots of legroom in the back.  Our favourite petrol tow car is stable and good value.”

The panel of judges also included Deputy Road Test Editor of What Car? and the technical department at the Camping and Caravanning Club.  The Tow Car Awards is a joint venture between both outlets as well as Practical Caravan magazine.

To assess the shortlisted cars, each model is put through the same tests to identify their towing abilities as well as to evaluate value for money and ease to live with for everyday driving.  Cars are also judged on how easily extension mirrors can be fitted, whether the spare wheel provision is suitable for towing, as well as safety and boot space.

According to Motton, practicality judges found that the all-new Mazda6: “swallowed a typical family’s holiday luggage with space to spare.”

Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director, Mazda UK, commented: “This latest accolade is a fantastic addition to the Mazda6’s expanding haul of awards and just goes to show the different areas where this car excels.  The award also highlights the affordability which the Mazda6 presents, particularly for families considering a car which has the appeal of everyday driving combined with the capability and practicality of towing a caravan during the holiday season.”

There are a number of accessories available from Mazda to make holiday travel easy and stress-free.  Additional features include a bicycle carrier and attachment, roof box, roof rack, snow board/ ski attachment and tow bar including tow accessories.  

The all-new Mazda6 is available with a choice of 36 models across the two bodystyles, six-speed manual and automatic transmissions and six trim levels (SE, SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and Sport Nav).  Priced from £19,595 to £28,045 (on the road).  The 150ps 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D Saloon diesel has class-leading CO2 emissions of just 108g/km and combined fuel consumption of 67.3mpg. Benefit in Kind tax for a 40 percent tax payer is £133 a month (Sport trim).

- Ends -

Tow Car Awards 4) Dacia takes title of best budget 4x4

Smart buy brand Dacia continues to pull in fans after striking gold at the Towcar Awards last night. Its flagship Duster was named Best Budget 4x4 at the ceremony at The Sculpture Gallery in Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire.

Judges, including the editor of Practical Caravan magazine, described the shockingly affordable multi-award winner as “a lot of tow car for very little money”.

The champion model, the Duster dCi 110 Ambiance 4x4, costs just £13,495 and is the perfect match for happy campers and caravanners who like to keep a close eye on their spending.

Judges added: “That price isn’t a misprint. For less than you’d pay for the tiny Kia Rio three-door, Dacia will sell you a five-seat 4x4…the Duster is undeniably a bargain.

“It makes a decent tow car, too…In fact, we’d be happy to tow on long motorway journeys with the Duster.”

The Towcar Awards is a joint venture between Practical Caravan, What Car? and The Camping and Caravanning Club, with caravans and technical support supplied by the Swift Group. Each car goes through a series of towing tests at the MIRA proving ground in the Midlands, including 30-60mph acceleration, 30-0mph braking, a hill start and an emergency lane-change test.

Cars, however, are not just rated for their towing ability. What Car?’s expert road test team score each for regular driving, safety, running costs and value for money. The Camping and Caravanning Club’s technical team check practical details such as boot space, how easily extension mirrors can be fitted, and whether the spare wheel provision is suitable for towing. Judges also included the deputy road test editor of What Car? and the technical department at The Camping and Caravanning Club. 

Romanian smart buy brand Dacia, a subsidiary of the French carmaker Renault, has made an enemy of the unnecessary and makes a simple range of cleverly designed, high quality vehicles which unashamedly favouring function over frivolity. Its jaw-dropping prices are clear and straightforward, whether you buy online at the Dacia Store on www.dacia.co.uk or through its nationwide retailer network

Dacia only launched officially in the UK in January 2013, but has already cleaned up nine major awards, including a hat-trick of trophies at the carbuyer.co.uk 2013 awards, including Car of Year and 4x4 of the Year, plus Scottish Car of the Year for Duster, and Best Supermini under £12,000 for Sandero with What Car?.

Tow Car Awards 3) Jaguar wins again with the XF

  • The Jaguar XF Sportbrake named best-in-class in the Tow Car Awards 2013.
  • The stability and security of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake during strong crosswinds and abrupt lane changes earned particular praise, as did its performance, refinement, cabin execution and overall practicality.
  • Tow Car Awards judged and presented by Practical Caravan magazine; What Car? magazine and The Camping and Caravanning Club.
  • 2013 marks a second consecutive category win for the Jaguar XF, following its overall Tow Car of the Year title in 2012.

The Jaguar XF Sportbrake has taken class honours in the Tow Car Awards 2013.

Competing against several premium and SUV competitors in the highly competitive 1725-1899kg category, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0 V6 Diesel Premium Luxury was named best-in-class, taking up the mantle of the Jaguar XF 2.2D saloon which won the same category last year and which was also named overall winner of the Tow Car Awards 2012.

Now in its seventh year, the 2013 Tow Car Awards saw a total of 46 vehicles assessed at the MIRA Proving Ground by an expert panel of judges including the editor of Practical Caravan magazine; the tow car editor of Practical Caravan; the deputy road test editor of What Car? and the technical department at The Camping and Caravanning Club.

David Motton, tow car editor, Practical Caravan, commented: “This makes it the second year in a row for the Jaguar XF, but this time it’s the turn of the Sportbrake to take the honours. An exceptional tow car and a refined executive express.”

Noting how stable and secure it remained during strong crosswinds and abrupt lane changes, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake was also praised for its performance, refinement, cabin execution and overall practicality.

Jeremy Hicks, Managing Director, Jaguar UK, commented: "Winning this award demonstrates just how successfully the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake combines luxury and performance with real-world practicality and versatility, while also highlighting the class-leading engineering that goes into every new Jaguar. Winning in this highly competitive category is an achievement Jaguar is very proud of."

Two Car Awards 2) Land Rover Discovery 4, makes it 4, thats four times a winner.

  • Discovery 4 named winner of 2013 Tow Car Awards’ 1,900kg+ category
  • Fourth successive win seals Discovery 4’s class-leading reputation
  • Judges praise “one of the most practical tow cars you can buy at any price”
The Land Rover Discovery 4 has secured an exceptional fourth successive victory in the annual Tow Car Awards. Every year since its launch, the model has proved itself the class of the field in the 1,900kg+ category in the UK’s most prestigious towing honours.
Announcing the success for the Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 XS, David Motton, Tow Car Editor of Practical Caravanmagazine praised Discovery 4’s all-round qualities and enduring status as the best in its class.
Motton said: “As an all-rounder, the Discovery remains the best big tow car you can buy. No car this big and tall should handle the lane-change test with such confidence, but the Discovery stays firmly in control, however lively the caravan gets behind it.

“The Discovery is one of the most practical tow cars you can buy at any price, thanks to plentiful luggage space, load adaptive suspension, trailer stability control and a well-installed tow bar.”
He added that towing ability was just one aspect of the Land Rover’s all-round capability and appeal: “It’s a fine car to drive without a caravan too, thanks to effortless performance, a commanding driving position and a supremely smooth ride.”
Jeremy Hicks, Managing Director Jaguar Land Rover UK, said: “We are delighted that yet again Discovery 4 has excelled in the Tow Car Awards. This fourth successive win reinforces its enduring leadership as a vehicle that’s not only immensely practical and capable, but also stylish, comfortable and desirable to own, thanks to its combination of Land Rover engineering, design and quality.”
The Tow Car Awards are a joint venture between Practical Caravan and What Car? magazines and the Camping and Caravanning Club. Cars are put through a series of towing tests and are further assessed on regular driving quality, safety, running costs and value for money. The Camping and Caravanning Club’s technical team check practical details, such as boot space and the ease with which towing accessories can be fitted.
The Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 XS has at its heart Land Rover’s twin-turbocharged, direct injection 24-valve V6 diesel engine, matched to a smooth and efficient eight speed automatic transmission. With 256 PS and an impressive 600Nm of torque available from just 2,000rpm, it is perfectly equipped to excel as a tow car.
Powertrain performance is supported by the added benefit of features such as the standard-fit Trailer Stability Assist, which monitors trailer behaviour and applies selective wheel braking to correct any potential problem, and Tow Assist, a reversing aid that is included in the optional Surround Camera System.

Tow Car Awards 1) VW Passat wins its class again.

Volkswagen’s Passat Estate has once again affirmed its place at the top of the towing tree, having retained its class title at the Tow Car Awards for the third year running.
The Tow Car Awards are a joint venture between Practical CaravanWhat Car? and The Camping and Caravanning Club, with caravans and technical support supplied by the Swift Group. The awards were judged this year by a team which included the editor of Practical Caravan magazine, the tow car editor ofPractical Caravan, the deputy road test editor of What Car? and the technical department at The Camping and Caravanning Club.

Each car goes through a series of towing tests at the MIRA proving ground, including 30-60 mph acceleration, 30-0 mph braking, a hill start and an emergency lane-change test.  Cars aren’t just rated for their towing ability; What Car?’s expert road test team score each car for regular driving, safety, running costs and value for money.  The Camping and Caravanning Club’s technical team check practical details such as boot space, how easily extension mirrors can be fitted, and whether the spare wheel provision is suitable for towing.
The aim is to find cars which are great to tow with, but which are also good value and easy to live with in everyday driving. A total of 46 cars were tested this year at the MIRA testing ground in Warwickshire.
Following judging, the Passat Estate Sport 2.0-litre 177 PS TDI BlueMotion Technology, won the ‘1425-1579 kg’ class, beating stiff competition from Mazda, Hyundai and Volvo.  Commenting on the vehicle’s performance, David Motton, tow car editor at Practical Caravan said: ‘This is the third year in a row the Passat Estate has topped the second weight category.  As a tow car, a daily commuter, or the family taxi, the Volkswagen quietly and efficiently gets on with the job.
‘The Passat’s towing credentials are what we’ll concentrate on here, and after two years at the top of the class, they were never in doubt.  Stability at speed is excellent. In everyday driving the Volkswagen continues to unobtrusively make your life easy, thanks to a comfortable ride and excellent refinement.  It’s very quiet at speed, and a sound driving position means long journeys are no chore.  A very capable all-rounder with no major flaws.’
Remarking on the wins, Robert Hazelwood, Director of Volkswagen UK, said: ‘I’m delighted that the Passat Estate has once again been awarded this important accolade. For the third year running this car has proved itself not only as a highly capable tow car but also a top all-rounder.  The towing market is a significant one for us and we’re grateful for the recognition we’ve received from the judges.’ 

Goodwood announces first batch of the fast and famous to drive at this years event

The Festival of Speed remains unique in its ability to attract the majority of the current season’s Formula 1 teams and drivers, with seven of the 2013 season F1 teams confirmed for Goodwood: Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus, Mercedes, Marussia and Caterham.  Current F1 drivers and leading characters in action at the Festival will include previous World Champions, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, as well as Nico Rosberg, Roman Grosjean, Max Chilton, Jules Bianchi, Sebastian Buemi, Marc Gene, Heikki Kovalainen and Adrian Newey.

Past Grand Prix masters present at this summer’s Festival of Speed will include Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Nick Heidfeld, Jochen Mass, Emerson Fittipaldi and Rene Arnoux, all joining a roll-call of other motor sport stars at Goodwood that reads like a Who’s Who of motor racing.  In total, 17 Grand Prix winners will be in action, with a total of 232 GP wins between them!

One of the great Festival of Speed’s moments will be relived at this year’s event, when Nick Heidfeld is reunited with the very McLaren MP4/13 that he so famously launched up the Goodwood Hill in a record time of 41.6 seconds in 1999. His record remains.

From the world of rallying, IRC Champion, Andreas Mikkelsen will be spitting gravel in the 2013 VW Polo WRC, as will Spanish double World Champion Carlos Sainz, whilst Mikko Hirvonen’s Citroen DS3 WRC will also be in full flight on the Goodwood Forest Rally Stage.  Other rallying greats who will be reacquainted with the cars that made them famous will include Juha Kankkunen, Björn Waldegård, Rauno Aaltonen, Jimmy McRae, Hannu Mikkola and Russell Brookes.

All of the drivers participating in this summer’s Festival of Speed, as well as the many top competition riders (details of which will be confirmed separately very soon), will appear on the walkway leading into the exclusive BlackRock Drivers Club throughout the event, giving Festival goers and fans the rare opportunity to see their heroes up close, and possibly even have a word or two with them!

A host of other star drivers and riders, plus cars and motorcycles from each of the world’s major motor sport disciplines, past and present, will also be featured at Goodwood, including champions from Formula 1, Indycar, the World Rally Championship, Superbikes, NASCAR, World Sports Cars and Touring Cars, plus Land Speed Record holders.

Goodwood is recapturing many of the outstanding Festival of Speed moments from the 1993-2012 era, including over 350 great machines from all of the world, as far flung as New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Japan and the USA, all making a very rare return to the UK.  The 20th anniversary Festival will also see many famous man and machine pairings reunited, including three-time Formula 1 World Champion Nelson Piquet returning to the cockpit of his celebrated Brabham BT52, in which he secured the 1983 crown.

These - along with a host of other memorable and often outrageous, vehicles and competitors new to Goodwood, plus a number of unexpected treats - will provide a fitting birthday party for the world’s greatest celebration of motor sport history and car culture.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

First all-new Focus Electric rolls off Ford production line in Saarlouis, Germany

  • First all-new Focus Electric rolls off Ford production line in Saarlouis, Germany.  It’s Ford’s first fully electric vehicle built in Europe
  • Focus Electric spearheads Ford’s electrified vehicle line-up in Europe, C MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and all-new Mondeo Hybrid coming next year
  • SmartGauge and Brake Coach technology help Focus Electric drivers optimise electric driving potential
  • Focus Electric is the first full-electric vehicle to be manufactured in Germany directly from a volume production line
SAARLOUIS, Germany, June 12, 2013 – Ford Motor Company today began a new chapter in its vehicle manufacturing history with the start of production of the all-new Focus Electric – the first full-electric vehicle to be built by Ford in Europe – in Saarlouis, Germany.

The zero-emission Focus Electric is spearheading Ford’s line-up of electrified and highly fuel-efficient vehicles, and will be joined in Europe by the C MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) next year, followed by the all-new Mondeo Hybrid soon after.

Developed as a “One Ford” global vehicle, the Focus Electric features an advanced electric motor and lithium-ion battery powertrain that produces 143 PS and achieves a top speed of 136 km/h. Focus Electric has been manufactured in North America since December 2011 and the Saarlouis-built Focus Electric will reach European customers from August this year.

“Focus Electric marks the dawn of an exciting new age of full-electric Ford passenger vehicles in Europe, and demonstrates the success of the One Ford strategy in making this sophisticated vehicle available to our European customers,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “It’s a car that addresses the mobility demands and environmental concerns of today’s car buyers in the most direct way possible – combining performance and advanced technology with a zero-emission powertrain.”

The launch of European production of Focus Electric was attended by Bernhard Mattes, chairman Ford-Werke GmbH; Martin Chapman, Saarlouis plant manager, Ford of Germany; Germany’s Federal Minister for the Environment, Peter Altmaier, and Prime Minister of the Saarland, Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer.

Ford has invested €16 million to integrate Focus Electric production directly into the established Focus production line at Saarlouis, delivering the flexibility to react to market demand with increased production volumes.

“The start of Focus Electric production in Saarlouis is hugely significant for Ford in Germany, and underlines Ford’s position as a leader in automotive innovation,” said Mattes. “We are giving customers the Power of Choice so they can decide whether a fuel efficient conventional powertrain or an electrified vehicle is right for their needs.”

The all-new Focus Electric is the first full-electric vehicle to be manufactured in Germany directly from a volume production line. Each Focus Electric is equipped with a 6.6 kW fully integrated onboard charger that can deliver around 100 km driving range with 2-3 hours charging, and around 150 km driving range with 3-4 hours charging from a 32 A power supply.*

Focus Electric features a new user interface called SmartGauge which calculates and displays range based on remaining energy; the driver’s unique vehicle use, across braking and acceleration inputs; and the use of accessories such as climate control and audio systems.

The Focus Electric’s sophisticated powertrain uses regenerative braking to capture up to 95 per cent of kinetic energy normally lost during the braking process, while the innovative Brake Coach feature encourages gradual braking to help return more energy to the battery.

Car dealer magazine awards Toyota 'Manufacturer of the Year"

Toyota has taken a top honour in the 2013 Car Dealer Power Awards, winning the Manufacturer of the Year title. The accolade is all the more hard-earned, as it is based on the opinions of the UK’s dealers themselves – an industry group renowned for its firm opinions and straight-talking approach.

Announcing the award at a presentation dinner in Portsmouth yesterday, James Batchelor, Car Dealer editor, said: “The relationship between a manufacturer and dealer is always tricky, but Toyota has shown that it puts dealers first.

“Our survey respondents told us the firm’s new range of cars is really changing customer perceptions of the brand, and the fact they now have a sports car to sell (the GT86) means they can speak to long-lost customers. They also told us head office is offering unrivalled support, thanks to ‘like-minded’ management.”

Jon Williams, President and Managing Director Toyota GB, said: “Our national network of dealers is a vital link in our relationship with our customers. It is thanks to their commitment, hard work and understanding of the importance we place on quality and complete customer satisfaction that we are able to compete and succeed in a challenging market.

“Our thanks go to them and to Car Dealer for this award, which we value as a tremendous vote of confidence in our brand.”

This year’s awards were based on more than 2,500 printed and on-line responses to the Car Dealer Power survey.

Car Dealer mag names the new Range Rover as Car of the Year

  • Range Rover tops survey of 2500 dealerships from all automotive brands across the UK
  • Dealers say: “The Range Rover cannot fail to impress”

The All-New Range Rover continues to fill the Land Rover trophy cabinet having been bestowed with the Car Dealer Power Car of the Year Award.

Uniquely, the awards are voted for by dealerships of all brands across the country with 2500 dealers contributing to the survey. The awards see dealers telling Car Dealer Magazine the best car manufacturers to represent and the best suppliers to do business with. It gives a ‘warts ’n all’ picture of what car dealers right across the UK are thinking.

According to Car Dealer Magazine, the Range Rover was the winner by a clear mile, with dealers saying: ‘it cannot fail to impress’ and ‘it’s a gargantuan step on from the old model – and even that car was best in class’.

James Batchelor, editor of Car Dealer, said: ‘I am delighted to reveal the Range Rover has been voted Car of the Year by dealers right across the UK.
‘The Car Dealer Power Awards are unique in the industry and give dealers a chance to tell it like it really is. More than 2,500 dealers voted in Car Dealer Power 2013 – it’s the most conclusive picture of what dealers in this country think.

‘Land Rover should be especially pleased with the Range Rover being named as Car of the Year 2013, as the award has not only been voted for by Land Rover dealers, but also by their peers – dealers from all corners of the UK regardless of what franchise they represent.’

Jaguar Land Rover UK Managing Director, Jeremy Hicks commented: “This award is particularly valuable as it paints a positive picture of how dealers view our current products and the way in which Land Rover interacts with the dealer network. In addition to gain the admiration of other brands and franchises is a really strong indicator of our progress.”

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

MG Committed to its UK based European design centre

Today (June 12) SAIC Motor’s European Design Centre at the MG Birmingham site was opened. It has more than doubled in size just three years after the original design studio opened.

The latest investment from SAIC Motor, MG’s parent company, follows on from more than £500 million invested in the development of new models for Europe.

Staff in the newly expanded Design Centre are already working on a range of future MG models, including the new MG3. The latest investment allows the studio, now the fifth largest in Britain, to carry out even more advanced design work. The original studio was part of a £5 million investment programme.

An advanced five-axis milling machine, which allows models in clay or hard materials to be produced within 36 hours, is a major part of the latest upgrade and spending on sophisticated equipment. It also includes a Visualisation Suite where life-size images of models can be projected onto a giant screen that has 2D and 3D capability.

A second design plate, an extremely accurate steel plate set to fine tolerances, has been installed. This allows highly-skilled clay modellers to work on future generations of MG cars.

More than 160 designers at two studios – Shanghai and the MG site in Birmingham – come under the leadership of Anthony Williams-Kenny, SAIC’s Head of Global Design who flew in from China for the opening. Canadian-born Martin Uhlarik heads the European Design Centre in Birmingham.

The designers work closely with the 300 professional engineers at the adjoining SAIC UK Technical Centre. More than 400 people are employed at the MG Birmingham site where the new MG3 will roll off the assembly line later this year. It will become the second modern MG to come out of the Birmingham factory following the MG6 GT fastback and Magnette sport saloon range of petrol and diesel models.

MG UK unveils its latest model to the UK, the MG3

Today (June 12) MG unveiled the full range of styles for the UK MG3 at its Birmingham-based European Design Centre.

The exciting new car carries forward many of the styling cues first illustrated on the MG ZERO concept car, again designed here at SAIC Motors European Design Centre. SAIC, MG’s parent company, is the eight largest automotive company in the world and China’s No1 auto firm.

The UK studio has just undergone an additional investment and is now more than double its original size. It opened just three years ago in what was then a £5 million capital programme. It’s now the fifth largest automotive design studio in Britain.

MG3 is a distinctive statement of modern British style designed to target young and style conscious buyers, wanting something that’s different from anything else in the market.

From launch, MG3 customers will be able to personalise both the exterior and interior of this new supermini MG, making it fun to buy and own, as well as having the MG trademark of being fun to drive.

The MG3 is all about style, fun and offering customers the ability to personalise the car. With three trim levels, 10 colours and a range of at least 10 graphic packs, they will be spoilt for choice! The combinations are almost endless.

Depending on the model choice, exterior highlights include 16” Diamond cut alloy wheels, unique LED ‘hockey stick’ daytime running lights, sport-design bumper, side sill extensions, rear spoiler, sports-design rear valance, chrome exhaust finishers and MG insert headlamps.

Inside the MG3, again depending on trim level and options, key features will be  an easy to use air conditioning system, six-speaker audio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, DAB radio, USB/Aux input, automatic lights, automatic wipers, rear parking sensors, ‘ZERO’ design fabric seats and part-leather trim.

This unique and contemporary style of the MG3 is the work of the 30 design staff and 300 engineers at SAIC’s UK Technical Centre here at the MG Birmingham site in Longbridge, UK.

The MG3 will become the second in a new generation of MG vehicles to leave the assembly line at the Birmingham factory, following the introduction of the MG6 petrol and diesel range of GT fastbacks and Magnette four-door sports saloons.

British Style fun

MG’s UK based design team have given the new MG3 a cheeky touch of flair from every viewing angle.

From the front there is an immediate, distinctive flash of style with the ‘hockey stick’ LED daytime running lights on every trim level, a full width black mesh grille, and black A-Pillar and ‘visor’ wraparound style windscreen. It will make the MG3 unmistakable on the road.

Equally distinctive is the side profiIe. The dual colour side skirts clearly echo the design of the MG ZERO, lowering the stance of the car and hinting at just how much fun the MG3 could be to own. Diamond-cut, dual colour wheels give a real touch of class on the higher trim levels.

From the rear there is a strong pointer to the fun and sportiness that lies at the heart of the MG brand. With a rear valance insert inspired by generations of MG racing cars, a unique superelliptic tail pipe finished in chrome and a body coloured tail spoiler, the MG3  looks distinctly sleek and sporty – a designer’s dream.


Normally this is where the compromise comes on small sporty cars – but not with MG3. Fun, entertaining and easy to live with, the MG3 combines style and enjoyment with practical spaciousness. The designers and engineers have combined to create an exceptional amount of space and versatility in a very compact five-door package.

Extensive work from the MG Design and Engineering team on the architectural package has resulted in interior packaging that rivals or surpasses anything in its class. In a 4m long package, the MG3 will easily accommodate four 6ft individuals; a level of accommodation typically associated with larger cars and mirrors the spaciousness of the MG6 range.

The MG3’s ‘rolled and raised’ front dashboard design creates an airy forward cabin space and increased legroom, while allowing excellent access to primary and secondary controls. This theme is continued in the rear of the car, where the front seats are sculpted to allow rear passengers excellent space to travel in comfort.

Class-leading rear headroom is another characteristic which sets the MG3 apart. Many cars in this sector compromise on interior space, particularly in the rear. But rear headroom in the MG3 is more than generous.

So clearly space and comfort have not been compromised in this, the first modern supermini from MG to take the famous octagon brand into a new sector.


Designed with the core value of fun to drive, the MG3 chassis has been honed from hundreds of thousands of miles of testing on European roads.  Intended to deliver impressive levels of body control, sharpness and a willingness to corner to engage keen drivers, MG’s world class team of chassis engineers have also delivered sure footed handling and impressive ride comfort. Together this makes the MG3 suitable for every journey, from crowded urban routes, to flowing British B-roads or cruising on a European motorway.


In addition to a wide range of body colours a range of personalisation options will be available, allowing the MG3 to be tailored to the individual behind the wheel. Roof, side and bonnet graphics will allow owners to personalise their own MG3. Interior trims, wheels, vents, surrounds and mats will all be available in a choice of designs, colours and finishes allowing you to make your MG3 truly personal.


Our new baby will be powered by a healthy 105PS version of our own VTi-TECH petrol engine, joining the MG6 DTi-TECH and TCi-TECH engines in the European family. The dynamic and responsive VTi-TECH engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission that makes the MG3 perfectly suited to nipping in and out of city traffic or enjoying a great British B road.

Guy Jones, MG Motor UK’s Sales & Marketing Director said: “This new MG3 is a great package for the increasing number of European customers looking for a stylish small car, that’s affordable and practical to own.

“It’s got a distinctive, cheeky style and will be fun to buy, own and drive, yet still affordable for a wide range of people. It’s the modern interpretation of a small fun MG and shows how we will take the essence of this iconic brand into the future.”

At just 4-metres long and with five doors, MG3 is really easy to drive and park and very practical. It has a distinctive stance and the ‘hockey stick’ daylight running lights help give the MG3 a front ‘face’ unlike any other car.

Jones added: “The reaction to the MG3 has been extremely positive from both male and female customers and it will also mean that MG dealers in Britain will soon have a second all-new model in the showrooms.

“This is a car that that MG enthusiasts and dealers across Europe have been waiting for, but more significantly it will bring a whole new group of customers to the MG brand for the first time.

“Sitting alongside the MG6 models it strengthens our range and will give us an even bigger target audience. Nowadays the possibility to stamp your own personal style on a car is widely appealing and the MG3 offers just that prospect.”

Goodwood's Cartier Style et luxe concours d'elegance to surprise and wow again

Now in its 19th consecutive year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Moving Motor Show, the annual Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ concours d’elegance has gathered hundreds of the world’s finest, most beautiful, valuable, distinctive and sought-after cars over the years, all competing for the coveted Overall Winner award, as voted by a distinguished panel of judges.

This year the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ is set to be truly exceptional as Goodwood celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Festival of Speed.  In line with the 2013 Festival ‘Best of the first 20 years’ theme, the eight vehicle classes and cars on display at Goodwood will reflect many of the greatest machines that have graced the tranquil Cartier Lawn over the last two decades.
The Cartier vehicle classes will be made up of around 50 beautiful cars, plus one spectacular and memorable beast, only seen at Goodwood once before!  The eight classes will include a number of striking pre-War decedent automobiles, including the stunning 1929 Bugatti Type 41 ‘Royale’ with Coupe de Ville coachwork by Binder, plus an unusual coachbuilt Vauxhall 30/98, to help mark the centenary of Britain’s 100 mph car. 
A mouth-watering array of pre-War streamlined automotive art will include a beautiful 1938 Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic, plus a real beast; the one-off Phantom Corsair that first came to Goodwood in 2006, when it proceeded to gently move across the Cartier lawn by itself in the middle of the night with the engine off, the car in gear, and the handbrake firmly on!  The aptly-named Phantom was a six-seater coupe designed by Rust Heinz of the famous Heinz (57 Varieties) family.  Built in 1938, Rust Heinz lost his life in a car crash the following year, and many subsequent guardians of the Phantom have meet with unusual and untimely ends, leading to the car often being labeled as cursed!
Post-War beauties will include a class of sublime 1950s grand tourers, such as the one-off 1954 Fiat Turbina and 1955 Ferrari 250 GT Competition Tour de France Speciale, as well chic drop tops for the rich and famous, including a 1954 Maserati A6 GCS Frua and rare Jaguar XKSS. 

A class of Sixties Sensations will include a number of iconic favourites, from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar and others, whilst a class of 911 derivatives will help celebrate the legendary Porsche’s 50th anniversary.
The two final classes will see an unparalleled selection of rarely-seen concept cars and pin-up supercars from the past 50 years, ranging from Peugeot and Vauxhall, to McLaren and Lamborghini.  Full details of all of the vehicles set to compete for the prestigious Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ Best of Show award will be confirmed over the coming weeks, along with the list of distinguished judges.
During the Festival weekend, a visit to the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ is made all the more enjoyable by a superb soundtrack of live jazz playing on the bandstand on Saturday and Sunday, making this is an unmissable occasion for anyone who appreciates the inherent creative magnificence of great automobiles.

Homer, Bart and the Simpson family are sponsored by Kia on Channel 4

  • Kia sponsors idents on ‘The Simpsons on 4’
  • Idents highlight FUNctionality of the new seven seat Kia Carens
  • Starting from the 7th June for three months

Kia Motors (UK) Limited has joined forces with the world’s most loved dysfunctional family on TV with a three month sponsorship with Channel 4 of episodes of ‘The Simpsons on 4’. Starting on the 7th June at 18:00 the idents will run on each episode through to the 6th September with additional weekend episodes being transmitted between 12:00 and 15:00.

The TV idents feature a family of seven getting into their Kia Carens in fun ways – from using periscopes to find their way, passing through a vortex and sneezing their way in. Each ident will appear four times on each episode with a run of 15”, 10” or 5” depending on the credit length.

Lawrence Hamilton, Marketing Director at Kia Motors UK Ltd., said “Being able to appear alongside ‘The Simpsons on 4’ is an ideal opportunity for the brand to reach family audience with a fun message about the new the Kia Carens – the ideal family car. At Kia we are no stranger to the reach and interest that TV sponsorship raises, we have seen a definite rise in web and dealer visits from previous sponsorship activity. ”

The creative ideas behind the idents was to emphasis the FUNctional elements of the new Kia Carens seven seat car in a bright, fun, cartoon style animation with a touch of quirkiness so that the idents sat perfectly with the humour of the show. The idents were created by London based production company Blac Ionica with direction from Jon Evans and Chris Strong.

VW Amarok 'Edition' is a limited edition for the UK

  • UK special edition limited to 300 vehicles
  • Featuring up to £3,400 worth of additional equipment
  • Prices start from just £22,495 (excluding VAT)
  • On sale from July 2013

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is launching a special edition version of its highly acclaimed Amarok pick-up.  Called the Amarok edition, it’s based on the popular Trendline specification but includes more than £3,400 of additional equipment, representing a customer saving of over £2,000.  As well as added value, it also offers more style and exclusivity, with just 300 vehicles available to UK customers.

Bolstering a Trendline specification that already includes body-coloured bumpers and wheel arches, the Amarok edition’s additional design features include striking 18-inch Durban alloy wheels, a black side step, black styling bars across the load area, rear privacy glass and special edition decals.  Drivers also benefit from front and rear parking sensors, a protective coating for the load area, interior floor mats, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite navigation with a five-inch colour touchscreen as standard.

The Amarok edition comes with Volkswagen’s top of the range 2.0-litre BiTDI 180 PS engine, offering up to 420 Nm of torque and a maximum towing capacity of up to 3,200 kg.

Customers can choose the six-speed manual transmission, which comes with selectable 4MOTION, or the latest eight-speed automatic transmission with permanent 4MOTION.  The automatic version boasts BlueMotion Technology, which includes low rolling-resistance tyres, start/stop system and regenerative braking to provide greater economy and lower emissions.

The Amarok edition is available in two colours: Reflex Silver, with black door mirror covers, or Deep Black, with silver door mirrors.

‘Creating the right image is very important for a lot of our customers, so we’ve had great pleasure creating the bespoke specification for the Amarok edition,’ said Mark Hopkins, head of marketing for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.  ‘It not only looks great, but offers fantastic value too,’ he continued.

Retail prices start from £22,495 (excluding VAT) with the manual transmission and rise to £24,225 (excluding VAT) for the automatic transmission.  The Amarok edition is on sale from July.

Storming A 45 AMG launches in the UK at £38k

  • New A 45 AMG is available to order now with prices starting at £37,845 OTR
  • First UK deliveries start in August
  • At 181 hp per litre, the A 45 AMG has the highest specific output of any production engine
  • First AMG Compact Car to be launched and the first with fewer than six-cylinders
  • Develops 360 hp and 450 newton metres of torque, allowing it to reach 62 mph in 4.6 seconds
  • Extensive changes over standard A-Class, including new 4MATIC all-wheel drive system

The new A 45 AMG is nearly here. As well as aiming to set new dynamic benchmarks, the A 45 AMG marks many firsts – it’s the first production car to achieve 181 hp per litre, the first AMG with fewer than six cylinders, the first compact AMG and the first all-wheel drive A-Class to arrive in the UK. Today, prices are announced for the ultimate incarnation of the A-Class - the A 45 AM will start at £37,845 on the road with first deliveries taking place in August.

Powered by an advanced, hand built four-cylinder turbocharged engine with an output of 360 hp delivered at 6,000 rpm and 450 Nm of torque between 2,250 and 5,000 rpm, it’s twinned with a development of the AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed sports transmission and AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive. Combining mighty performance - it can accelerate from a standstill to 62 mph in just 4.6-seconds - with refinement, the A 45 AMG can return 40.9 mpg on the combined cycle while emitting 161 g/km of CO2.

Backing up the performance are styling enhancements, split between delivering a more imposing look and fulfilling functional requirements. A new front bumper with extensions to the airdams to feed the intercooler is joined by a new AMG grille, a deep front splitter and, at the side of the car, gloss black sill extensions. A new braking system, springs and dampers are behind twin five-spoke 18-inch wheels. At the back, a new bumper sits above a bespoke exhaust system. The A 45 AMG is available in a choice of eight colours and three wheel designs in either 18- or 19-inch diameter.

Inside, the extensive changes continue – AMG Performance seats, fitted as standard, with red stitching, red nappa leather provide enhanced lateral support.  A sports steering wheel in nappa leather with red stitching, red seats belts and the AMG badge on the seats add to the exclusive AMG feel along with carbon weave, textured trim.

The AMG Drive Unit, allowing the selection of the gears from the centre console, is joined by metal paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel. A unique AMG electronic display located between the instrument dials, DAB and Audio 20 with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity are also fitted as standard.

Individualisation options include the AMG Aerodynamics package (£1,530), including a large front splitter with additional flics as well as an AMG rear aerofoil for extra down force.  There is also the AMG Performance Exhaust (£510), denoted by four chrome tailpipes, to provide a more purposeful engine note.

AMG continues to set new records in the UK – finishing 2012 with registrations up119 per cent compared to 2011 and established itself as the fastest-growing performance brand in the UK.

Vauxhall launches "new" Insignia, with more kit and cheaper pricing

  • New interior fascia & controls complement refreshed exterior styling
  • Four new engine choices from 99g/km - 250PS + enhancements to chassis dynamics
  • All-new advanced, intuitive infotainment system with internet connectivity
  • Highly competitive pricing from just £16,279 undercuts outgoing range and key rivals
  • On sale from today; official unveil at Frankfurt; first deliveries in October

These are Vauxhall’s first official pictures of the New Insignia range, which goes on sale today with first deliveries to customers in October after its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Available as a five-door Hatch, four-door Saloon and Sports Tourer estate, the new range now starts at just £16,279, nearly £2,000 less than entry into the outgoing line-up.  There are four new engines including: a 99g/km 140PS 2.0 CDTi offering large cost benefits to fleet and high-mileage drivers; an all-new 1.6 SIDI 170PS Turbo; and a new 250PS 2.0 SIDI Turbo petrol. Existing diesel units have also benefited from refinement improvements.

An all-new infotainment system, incorporating Bluetooth-operated internet connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen, and 3D navigation and voice control, is fully compatible with a driver’s smartphone and allows drivers unrivalled communications while on the move. A DMB (Digital Media Broadcast) radio is now standard across the range.

Since its launch in 2008, the Insignia has largely dominated the mid-size sector and launched the eye-catching design philosophy that has permeated all subsequent new Vauxhalls. The Insignia’s classic exterior lines remain for the new range, with only subtle enhancements made to its styling, but inside there are important changes to the car’s instrument cluster and centre console design, as well as improvements to its control-functionality.

The Insignia’s range has been simplified, too. There are now eight trims (down from 14 in the outgoing line-up), ranging from Design to Elite, with a mixture of new models that will appeal to both retail and fleet buyers. And like all Vauxhalls, the New Insignia range will come with Lifetime Warranty, allowing first owners peace of mind for as long as they own the car, up to 100,000 miles.

‘Our flagship car is coming of age,’ said Duncan Aldred, Vauxhall’s Chairman and Managing Director. ‘The new Insignia range embodies all that Vauxhall stands for: powerful design, innovative technology, terrific value and driving pleasure. The Insignia’s become a design classic in its class, and I’m confident that the new range will appeal to both existing customers as well as those who would never have considered buying a Vauxhall before.’

New Powertrains + Chassis Enhancements

Across the New Insignia range, there have been improvements to the car’s ride and handling. Damper and anti-roll bar settings have been revised for better ride and control, while the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) system standard in all but the VXR models has been reprogrammed for improved feel. Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels have also been reduced for enhanced occupant comfort.

The New Insignia range’s powertrain line-up has been broadened still further with the addition of an all-new petrol engine and new derivatives of the existing 2.0 CDTi unit.

Now available with a choice of three power outputs – 120PS, 140PS and 163PS – the New Insignia range’s 2.0 CDTi engine offers drivers ultra-low CO2 emissions of 99g/km (76.3mpg combined) for the lower two outputs and 114g/km (65.7mpg combined) for the higher output unit (figures for Hatch models). But performance hasn’t been compromised, with even the 120 and 140PS models producing up to 320 and 370Nm of torque respectively, and the 163PS model up to 380Nm.

For company car drivers, the new diesel engines offer an even more compelling argument, with both the 120 and 140PS ecoFLEX Hatch versions emitting just 99g/km of CO2 and dipping in to the 14 per cent Benefit-in-Kind category for the 2013/14 Tax Year.

Also new to the engine line-up are two direct injection petrol units: the new-generation 1.6-litre SIDI (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) producing 170PS/280Nm that recently launched in the 2013 Cascada convertible, and the 2.0-litre SIDI, producing 250PS/400Nm. Both engines provide an exceptional mix of refinement, economy and performance. They can be coupled with a six-speed manual transmission and Start/Stop function, or with a new, low-friction six-speed automatic gearbox. In addition to front-wheel-drive, the 2.0-litre SIDI Turbo is also available with four-wheel-drive.

Interior Design and Infotainment

The biggest change existing Insignia customers will see when they sit in the new car is a completely re-designed centre console and instrument cluster. The centre console has been simplified and now has fewer buttons for more intuitive operation of common functions, such as air conditioning and infotainment, while the instrument cluster has new dials and a fresh, high-tech look.

Optional across the range is an 8-inch screen infotainment display (up from 5-inches in the outgoing range) and a new, upgraded instrument cluster with an 8-inch, high-resolution colour display. The cluster incorporates two outer dials showing fuel and revs, while in the centre sits a speedometer that can be displayed in analogue or digital form, or changed to show functions such as smartphone or audio use, or navigation.

The 8-inch infotainment display has touch-screen functionality, allowing drivers to access all functions and sub-menus such as radio stations, song titles, smartphone connection or 3D navigation in an intuitive and safe way. Its illuminated, touch-sensitive surface reacts immediately to finger movements, with even individual letters and numbers being accessible via this method. Up to 60 favourite menus can be stored from all functions and Apps can also be downloaded via the car’s Bluetooth-connected internet.

In addition to button, touchscreen and touchpad operation, Insignia drivers can also control the infotainment system via re-designed controls on the new-look steering wheel. The advanced voice recognition function can also be operated by a single push of a button on the steering wheel.

Stylish new leather and cloth trims are available in the New Insignia range, complemented by upgraded dashboard materials and decors.

Exterior Design & Technology

With 40 industry awards to its name – including the coveted European Car of the Year in 2009 – the outgoing Insignia has earned respect from media and customers alike. One of the pillars of its success has been its premium design – we called it ‘sculptural artistry meets technical precision’ at launch – and with the new range this has been enhanced still further.

Starting at the front of the car, the high-gloss chrome grille is wider and lower than before. The logo-bar that cradles the Griffin badge is thinner and includes winglets that link with the re-designed headlamps. On Elite models, these feature bi-xenon lamps with AFL (Advanced Forward Lighting), which is optional on all other models.

Standard headlamps are trimmed in high-gloss black with chrome-embedded accents, with the up-level AFL lights getting a ‘wing-signature’ daytime running light with energy-saving LEDs.

The lower front fascia inserts are designed to appear slim and wide to emphasise the upper grille size. Fog lamps are combined with wide, black inserts and chrome accents, which grow in width as they near the cabin.

In profile, the New Insignia range’s Hatch and Saloon models are better defined through their unique tailgates and rear spoilers. The crease line on the C-pillar of the Hatch fades out before it reaches the spoiler’s trailing edge, giving it a classic coupe silhouette. On the Saloon, the crease line continues along the edge of the spoiler to emphasise the body’s length.

At the rear, the New Insignia range models appear wider and lower. The high-gloss chrome logo bar has been positioned lower on the tailgate. It extends into the tail-lights and incorporates the slim-look reversing lamps. The tail and stop functions of the two-piece tail-lights are illuminated by LEDs throughout the range.

The New Insignia range offers a raft of technology, safety and comfort highlights. These include state-of-the-art radar and camera-based assistance systems (including adaptive cruise control and second-generation park assist), premium seats, and ‘Open & Start’, the keyless entry and start system, to name just a few.

Two new exterior colours – Emerald Green and Aurum Green – join the exciting 10 colour choices.


The New Insignia range comprises eight trim levels starting with Design, and going up to Elite. There are also two trims – Energy and Limited Edition – which package generous equipment levels popular with retail buyers. And a further two trims – Design and Tech Line – that package comprehensive levels of equipment for company car drivers.

All models have a long list of standard equipment, which includes:

  • DMB digital radio
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB connection and aux-in socket
  • CD/MP3 player & stereo radio
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Leather covered steering wheel
  • Cruise control and trip computer
  • Electric four-way lumbar adjustment on driver’s seat
  • Electric height adjustment on driver’s seat
  • Six airbags
  • Remote control security alarm and deadlock
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Electric Park Brake
  • Electronic climate control
  • Automatic lighting control
  • Electrically operated front windows
  • Electrically adjustable/heated door mirrors  
  • Massive savings for company car drivers  

The New Insignia range offers big savings over key competitors for company car drivers. Thanks to the new low CO2 engines, the Insignia Design 2.0 CDTi (120PS) ecoFLEX with Start/Stop saves company car drivers £992 in benefit-in-kind tax over a three-year period against a Ford Mondeo Edge 1.6 TDCi (115PS) and £1,118 over a Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Tech S 1.6 TDI (105PS).

‘The New Insignia family not only offers refreshed styling, new engines and cutting-edge infotainment, but also big savings for company car drivers,’ said James Taylor, Vauxhall’s Fleet Sales Director. ‘Against key rivals such as the Ford Mondeo and the VW Passat, company car drivers can save over £1,000 in BiK tax as well as getting more standard equipment and better fuel economy.’

First Bentley racer for a decade nearly ready.

  • First Bentley racer for a decade almost track ready
  • Bentley’s 4.0-litre V8 engine powers the new GT3
  • Essence of iconic Continental GT taken to the extreme

Since the world debut of Bentley’s GT3 Concept Racer at the Paris Auto Salon in September 2012, a dedicated team of Bentley engineers has been developing the Continental GT3 in preparation for Bentley’s highly anticipated return to the track. Building on a rich racing heritage spanning ninety years, the new Continental GT3 is set to explore the extreme potential of Bentley’s iconic Grand Tourer and exploit the performance DNA contained within every Bentley.

With expert guidance and cooperation from Bentley’s GT3 technical partner, M-Sport Ltd1, the race-ready version of the Continental has been taking shape over the last six months.  Leading the project is Brian Gush, Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, who took the company to victory at Le Mans in 2003. He comments: “Motorsport is an integral part of Bentley, and the performance and endurance qualities of all of our road cars reflect this racing heritage. Not one single part of the GT3 has escaped our attention, and the result is a car that can compete with the field in terms of factors such as power, weight and aerodynamics.”

Powered by a race-configured version of Bentley’s highly efficient 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, the GT3 puts its power to the road via a six-speed sequential racing gearbox. Double wishbone suspension, four-way adjustable dampers and competition brakes make up the chassis system, while more than 1000 kg of weight has been saved over the Continental GT road car by removing the equipment and parts that make the road car such a luxurious and refined Grand Tourer such as double glazing, over fifty ECUs and extensive electrical systems.  The exquisitely trimmed Continental GT doors have been replaced by race versions, weighing just 12% of the originals.

The iconic silhouette of the road car is retained as the main body shell is almost a direct carryover, while doors, boot lid and bonnet are now hand-crafted in carbon fibre. The bodyshell itself benefits from a comprehensive FIA-specification roll cage, more than doubling its stiffness. Meanwhile, the carbon fibre racing seat has been trimmed by the craftsmen and women of the Crewe factory, who have also meticulously stitched the racing steering wheel and door pulls, just as they would on a Continental GT road car.

The Continental GT3 will soon be ready to begin a test programme ahead of its race debut. More details and specification of the Continental GT3 will be released soon.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

AUDI USA reports figures for new TDi lineup

 Audi expands TDI lineup with 2014 Audi A6, A7 and Q5 TDI models
• New TDI clean diesel models join the newly-introduced A8 L TDI, and highly-successful Q7 TDI

Audi today announced pricing and fuel economy figures for the 2014 A6, A7 and Q5 TDI® models, expected to begin arriving at U.S. dealers in late Summer 2013.

EPA estimated fuel economy figures for the new clean diesel introductions are as follows:
• 2014 Audi A6 TDI – 24 city/ 38 highway/ 29 combined MPG
• 2014 Audi A7 TDI – 24 city/ 38 highway/ 29 combined MPG
• 2014 Audi Q5 TDI – 24 city/ 31 highway/ 27 combined MPG

The 2014 Audi A6, A7 and Q5 TDI models join the newly-introduced 2014 Audi A8 L TDI clean diesel (EPA estimated 24 city/ 36 highway/ 28 combined MPG) and the 2014 Audi Q7 TDI (EPA estimated 19 city/ 28 highway / 22 combined MPG). The all-new Audi A3 sedan arriving in 2014, will also be available with a TDI clean diesel engine.

“Audi has been at the forefront of clean diesel since the introduction of Audi TDI technology in the U.S. in 2009,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “As drivers increasingly look for high fuel efficiency and low-emissions output, demand for diesel is on the rise. The introduction of the highly-efficient Audi A6, A7 and Q5 TDIs continue Audi’s commitment to clean diesel technology and further the brand’s focus on balanced performance solutions that improve efficiency and driving dynamics.”

TDI technology delivers up to 30% better fuel economy and 30% lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline engines, resulting in fewer trips to the fuel pump without sacrificing performance.

2014 Audi A6 TDI
Starting at $57,500, the 2014 A6 TDI performance sedan achieves an impressive EPA estimated fuel economy of 24 city/ 38 highway/ 29 combined MPG. At the same time, the 6-cylinder clean diesel engine with 8-speed Tiptronic® transmission and quattro® all-wheel drive generates a powerful 240hp and 428lb-ft torque, seamlessly launching from 0-60 MPH in 5.5 seconds.

For 2014, the A6 TDI starts with the Premium plus package that includes standard MMI® Navigation plus, Audi connect® with Google Earth™ mapping, Audi MMI® touch that recognizes handwriting, Audi advanced key, Xenon plus headlights, Audi parking system plus, 18-inch wheels and more. With additional available driver assistance systems such as night vision assistant, head-up display and Audi pre sense plus that helps detect imminent collisions and initiate protective measures when needed, the A6 TDI is one of Audi’s most innovative and technologically-advanced vehicles to-date that can make 2,000 decisions per second to help assist drivers.

The A6 TDI will go on sale in late Summer 2013 and joins an expanding model lineup including the A6 2.0T, A6 3.0T and S6.

2014 Audi A7 TDI
The perfect blend of progressive design, technology, and versatile space, the 2014 Audi A7 TDI – the first clean diesel five-door coupe – starts at $66,900 and will also go on sale in Summer 2013. Not only does the A7 TDI deliver a striking and dramatic design, but it also offers remarkable efficiency with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 24 city/ 38 highway/ 29 combined MPG.

At the same time, the 6-cylinder clean diesel engine with 8-speed Tiptronic transmission produces 240hp and 428lb-ft torque, completing the 0-60 MPH sprint in 5.5 seconds.

The 2014 A7 TDI starts with the Premium plus package that includes a host of technology and driver assistance features as standard equipment. The A7 was the first car in the world to feature available factory-installed Wi-Fi for up to eight passenger devices through Audi connect, and MMI navigation plus with 3D Google Earth maps.

The A7 TDI marks the expansion of the A7 model line, which for 2014 will also include the all-new RS 7 – the most powerful RS model ever offered in the U.S – the A7 3.0T, and the Audi S7.

2014 Audi Q5 TDI
The Audi Q5 – one of the best-selling models in the Audi lineup – is for the first time available with a TDI engine for the 2014 Model Year, allowing for better fuel economy and increased torque. Starting at $46,500, the Q5 TDI boasts an EPA estimated 24 city/ 31 highway/ 27 combined MPG, as well as a V6 engine with eight-speed Tiptronic transmission that generates 240 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque. The Q5 accelerates from 0-60 MPH in 6.5 seconds.

Sporty and sophisticated, the Q5 TDI blends the handling of a sport sedan, higher ground clearance of an SUV, and the cabin of a luxury vehicle. The exterior, available in new metallic colors – Maya Brown, Volcano Red, and Lava Gray – features dramatic wheels, aluminum roof rails, a gracefully-sloped roof and unmistakably Audi LEDs. Inside, the Q5 TDI comfortably seats five passengers, is filled with luxurious leather, and offers advanced technology features, such as available MMI Navigation plus and Audi connect. With its Audi quattro all-wheel drive, spacious interior and enhanced efficiency, the Audi Q5 TDI offers practical solutions for recreation and everyday driving.

The expansion of the 2014 Q5 model line will also include the addition of the Audi SQ5 – the first-ever S variant of any Audi Q model – which generates an impressive 354 hp. Q5 models with a four-cylinder 2.0T engine, six-cylinder 3.0T engine, and hybrid engine will also be available in 2014.

Watch the Audi TDI clean diesel “Fuel for Thought” video here: http://youtu.be/MzdTiMU-_QA