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.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

2012 - A year in the life of MINI

The British premium small car manufacturer MINI can look back on an eventful year marked by new sales records, successful model launches and expansion into new markets worldwide. 2012 once again served up a wealth of highlights for brand aficionados, as well as being the most successful year to date for MINI. Not only has the vehicle line-up been extended to seven models, meaning more choice than ever, but MINI is now represented in over 100 markets around the globe for the very first time. Worldwide sales of the MINI brand totalled 301,526 units last year, more than in any previous 12-month period. The MINI review of 2012 summarises the year’s most important, most extraordinary and most astonishing events.

January: MINI kicked off the year with yet another first when the British carmaker showcased its model range at the Auto Expo in the Indian capital of New Delhi for the very first time. This coincided with the opening in New Delhi und Mumbai of MINI’s first showrooms on the subcontinent. This made India the 100th market in which MINI is active. There is obviously a huge appetite for premium small cars there too, with 50,000 fans registering on MINI India’s Facebook page in the space of just a few weeks. In Europe, the year commenced with the introduction of two special-edition models, the MINI Baker Street and MINI Bayswater, whose exclusive design and equipment features have injected some contemporary London style into the streetscape.

February: The launch of the MINI Roadster extended the brand’s line-up to six models. The first open-top two-seater from the British carmaker radiates an aura of puristic sportiness. The manually operated soft-top roof, steeply raked windscreen, low centre of gravity that has been weighted forwards, and an automatically extending rear spoiler allow driving pleasure to be experienced at its most intense. The MINI Roadster range boasts a choice of four particularly feisty engines and is spearheaded by the MINI John Cooper Works Roadster with 155 kW/211 hp – never before have MINI drivers been able to feel such a vigorous rush of wind through their hair. The MINI brand reinforced its presence in the Middle East sales region with its market entry into the Kingdom ofJordan. The MINI showroom in the heart of the capital Amman presented customers with a choice of the entire MINI range from day one.

March: The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman received its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. It is the first John Cooper Works model to direct the power from its engine to all four wheels. Developed with the aid of motor racing knowhow, the turbocharged engine comes in its most powerful 160 kW/218 hp version and teams up with the standard ALL4 all-wheel-drive system to guarantee tremendous fun at the wheel over any terrain. The list of standard equipment also includes sports suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, a sports exhaust system, as well as an aerodynamics kit. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman can also be specified with an optional six-speed automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the introduction of the MINI HighgateConvertiblebrought some real style to bear in the world of open-top motoring. The new special-edition model fuses exclusive flair and individuality with a generous dose of Brit-cool.

April: Individuality was very much the focal point of MINI’s show stand at the Auto China in Beijing, where the MINI Clubman Hyde Park celebrated its world premiere. There was also a debut for the MINI’s forefather, with five classic Mini cars taking part in the Allgäu-Orient Rally for the first time. This alternative race for classic cars and recent classics sets off from the village of Oberstaufen in Bavaria before heading for the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, over 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles) away. MINI also took the opportunity to join in congratulating the international language of Esperanto on reaching a special milestone: 125 years ago it began to take the world by storm, eventually becoming a cultural asset that is fondly cherished in over 100 countries – very much in the mould of the MINI.

May: The former F1 circuit in Le Castellet, France was the place to be for the global MINI Community when it hosted MINI United 2012. Some 30,000 delighted MINI enthusiasts were able to revel in three days of top international music acts, motor racing action and a throbbing party atmosphere, all themed around the MINI. The stage buzzed to the sound of live performances from bands such as Iggy and the Stooges and Gossip. The same month saw MINI supporting the Life Ball in Vienna, Europe’s biggest charity event, for the 12th time. The Life Ball combines a fashion show with doing some good for society. MINI continued its tradition of donating for auction a vehicle specially designed for the occasion, the proceeds of which go to projects that have been set up to combat HIV and AIDS. Over 4,000 classic Mini fans descended on Lake Balaton in Hungary, meanwhile, for the International Mini Meeting, the largest gathering in the classic Mini Club calendar.

June: MINI unveiled yet another new model, this time one that had been designed with special transport tasks in mind. The MINI Clubvan combines all the practical strengths of a compact delivery van with the driving fun for which the brand is renowned along with highly distinctive looks. It comes with two seats and 860 litres of load space, which owners can easily make the most of thanks to the split door at the rear. Not only is the first premium vehicle of its kind highly versatile, it also makes an ideal mobile calling card for tradespeople who are anxious to create a stylish impression when delivering goods to their customers. The trade publication “Automobilwoche” awarded its top rating of “Triple A” (Automobilwoche Award Autohandel) to the MINI sales force in Germany. In a study into the professionalism of personnel in car dealerships, MINI salespeople emerged as the best source of advice for potential customers amongst the premium brands.

July: London calling – yet more highly alluring special-edition models were brought out in the guise of the MINI Hyde Park and MINI Green Park, which celebrate the British way of life with far more than just their names. Their exclusive colour scheme and classy appointments fuse extravagance with understatement to superb effect. In the United States, MINI extended an invitation to take part in a unique coast-to-coast rally with the slogan MINI TAKES THE STATES: the MINI Community set out for Los Angeles from New York on 4 July, Independence Day.

August: The brand’s sporty streak was on show once again at the opening of the Moscow International Automobile Salon, with a stand that centred around the new John Cooper Works models.

September: The seventh model in the brand’s line-up, the MINI Paceman, made its world debut at the Paris Motor Show. With two doors and a large tailgate, powerful proportions, flowing coupé-like lines, plus a lounge-style interior featuring two individual seats in the rear, this is the first Sports Activity Coupé in the premium compact segment. The MINI Paceman can be equipped with the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system as an option. The fastest MINI ever built blasted onto the scene as the second crowd-puller at the Mondial de l’Automobile – but not for long. The MINI John Cooper Works GP is being built in a limited run of just 2,000 units for racing enthusiasts all over the world. Awaiting them is a scintillating and exclusive sports machine featuring a 160 kW/218 hp turbocharged four-cylinder power unit, adjustable coilover suspension, an ultra-powerful sports braking system, Driving Stability Control with GP race mode and precisely honed aerodynamic measures, along with model-specific alloy wheels and sports tyres. The MINI John Cooper Works GP was fine-tuned on the Nürburgring’s legendary Nordschleife circuit, where it recorded a best time of 8:23 minutes. This same month, the classic Mini scooped a great accolade in its home country when, 53 years after it first went into production, readers of the UK car magazine “Autocar” voted it the “Greatest British car ever made”. And nowhere are the sheer thrill of this British classic and its phenomenal go-kart feel more apparent than on the BMW Group’s test track in Aschheim near Munich, where the classic Mini driver training courses are held.

October: MINI sought and found 25 test drivers from the Munich area for the brand’s first-ever all-electric car. For five months, the testers taking part in the latest field trials will drive the MINI E under everyday conditions; their impressions and experiences will subsequently be incorporated into the scientific analyses of both user behaviour and the infrastructure requirements for electric vehicles.

November: An intense racing sensation with fewer refuelling stops – a transformation is taking place under the bonnet of the John Cooper Works models. The latest incarnation of the turbocharged engine with motor racing breeding now goes about its business even more efficiently. The 155 kW/211 hp four-cylinder unit’s twin-scroll turbocharging and direct petrol injection technology is now supplemented by variable valve timing, which enhances both engine responsiveness and fuel efficiency. The MINI Paceman received its US premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show, where new paint finishes and detailed interior styling modifications for theMINI Countryman were also revealed. The MINI One Countryman and MINI Cooper Countryman models now meet the EU6 emissions limits as standard. In London, highly creative use of space resulted in not one but two entries in the Guinness Book of Records: on the same day that 28 female gymnasts managed to squeeze into a MINI, 23 members of the same gymnastics team from East Sussex succeeded in cramming themselves into a classic Mini, setting another world record.

December: This time it was the turn of MINI to set a new personal best, with annual vehicle sales topping the 300,000 mark for the first time. To be exact, worldwide MINI deliveries up to the end of the year totalled a record-breaking 301,526, meaning that the brand’s sales were up by 5.9 per cent compared to 2011. Sales were once again strongest in the USA, followed by MINI’s home country, the UK, and Germany. The forecasts for 2013 similarly make for positive reading. The MINI Paceman is due to be launched in March, while the brand also plans to move into more new markets. Central America provides the latest evidence of MINI’s successful expansion. The new age predicted by an ancient Mayan calendar dawned there just a few days before Christmas – with absolutely no sign of the end of the world, but with plenty of good omens for the MINI brand.

Friday, 11 January 2013


► 12.7 per cent increase for full year 2012

► Group Board member for Sales Christian Klingler: ‘Another strong increase for
    the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand’

The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand closed 2012 with a new record, delivering 5.74 (2011: 5.09; +12.7 per cent) million vehicles to customers for the first time in a twelve-month period. The brand recorded a 30.6 per cent rise for the month of December, delivering 517,900 (December 2011: 396,600) units. ‘There has been another strong increase for the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand even though market conditions were at times difficult. Our new Golf has got off to an excellent start and significantly strengthened Volkswagen’s competitive position,’ Christian Klingler, Board Member for Sales and Marketing for the Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, commented. ‘2013 will be a very demanding year, and we will be facing new and difficult challenges. But we are well prepared.’

Volkswagen Passenger Cars delivered 1.70 (1.72; -1.2 per cent) million vehicles on the overall European market in the period to December. The brand generated significant growth in Central and Eastern Europe, where there was a 22.4 per cent increase in deliveries to 267,100 (218,100) vehicles. In Russia, the region’s largest single market, 164,700 (118,000; +39.6 per cent) units were handed over to customers. In Western Europe (excluding Germany), deliveries fell by 6.9 per cent to 844,500 (906,900) units due to the difficult situation on overall markets. In Germany, Volkswagen Passenger Cars handed over 586,100 (593,300; -1.2 per cent) vehicles to customers in 2012.

In the Asia-Pacific region the brand reported a strong increase of 23.2 per cent for the full year, with customers taking delivery of 2.37 (1.93) million vehicles, of which 2.15 (1.72; +24.8 per cent) million were handed over in China (incl. Hong Kong), the region’s largest single market. Sales also developed very well on the American continent with Volkswagen Passenger Cars growing deliveries 25.5 per cent to 623,300 (496,700) units. The brand performed particularly well in the United States, where 438,100 (324,400; +35.1 per cent) vehicles were handed over to customers. In South America, deliveries went up by 8.3 per cent to 836,600 (772,600) vehicles, of which 661,000 (591,700; +11.7 per cent) were handed over in Brazil.


  • Deliveries rise 6.8 per cent to 939,200 cars in 2012
  • ŠKODA market share in Western Europe rises above three per cent
  • China: strongest individual ŠKODA market at nearly 235,700 deliveries (+7.1 per cent)
  • Russia: ŠKODA market share grows from three to over 3.6 per cent
  • ŠKODA UK has a record market share of 2.6 per cent with registrations of over 53,000
  • Brand set to continue model offensive in 2013 with new ŠKODA Octavia

ŠKODA AUTO set another sales record in 2012 as deliveries to customers worldwide rose 6.8 per cent to 939,200 (2011: 879,200). December was the best in the company’s history, the brand delivered nearly 66,200 vehicles to its customers. This result represents sales advance of 6.1 per cent in comparison with December 2011. The brand’s model offensive is set to enter its next stage in the 2013 with the launch of the new ŠKODA Octavia.

“In the past year, ŠKODA sold 939,200 units, more than ever before. This we reached despite the crisis in some markets,” says ŠKODA CEO Winfried Vahland. “ŠKODA has again gained market share in many markets thanks to attractive new models, extending the successful course of its growth strategy,” says Vahland. For ŠKODA, 2013 will be mainly about the model offensive including first the launch of the new ŠKODA Octavia at the beginning of the year. “Overall, the 2013 automobile year will not be an easy one.”

But new ŠKODA cars such as Octavia, Rapid and Citigo and our favourable presence on the international markets offer a good starting base for our brand,” the ŠKODA CEO added.

In Western Europe in 2012, ŠKODA significantly outperformed a shrinking overall market, delivering more than 358,400 units to customers (2011: 361,800). ŠKODA’s market share rose above three per cent compared to 2.8 per cent a year ago. In Germany, the brand’s largest European and its second-largest market worldwide after China, ŠKODA raised sales by 3.6 per cent to around 132,600 (2011: 128,000), confirming its status as the country’s strongest importer.

In Great Britain, ŠKODA UK advanced 17.6 per cent year on year, from 45,300 sold in 2011 to a current record of over 53,200 units and a record market share of 2.6 per cent. Records in sales were achieved in 2012 in Austria, Switzerland, and Denmark, as well.

In Eastern Europe, ŠKODA deliveries in 2012 rose 26.4 per cent to almost 137,100 (2011: 108,400). The brand thus grew three times as fast as the overall market, its market share rising to 4.2 per cent from almost 3.6 per cent in 2011. The Russian market proved the most buoyant again as the brand’s deliveries were at 99,100 units and grew by 33.7 per cent (2011: 74,100 deliveries). This is a new yearly high for the brand in Russia. ŠKODA market share in Russia grew from three to 3.6 per cent.

The brand also posted repeat growth in Central Europe, where ŠKODA delivered a total of 124,000 cars in 2012, up 0.7 per cent year on year (2011: 123,200 deliveries). Market share reached almost 19 per cent (previous year: 18.4 per cent), thus almost one new car in five delivered to customers in Eastern Central Europe was a ŠKODA.

Another area of ŠKODA’s repeated growth last year was China, where the brand’s deliveries, at almost 235,700, were up 7.1 per cent as against 220,100 units in 2011. Therefore, China accounted for one quarter of ŠKODA sales worldwide.

ŠKODA also continued its growth in India, with around 34,300 units and a 14.2 per cent growth compared to 30,000 units in 2011.

Moreover, ŠKODA can report record deliveries to customers in 2012: for example markets in; Israel, turkey, Algeria, Australia, Iraq, Taiwan, Kazakhstan or Morocco.

New ŠKODA Octavia to extend model offensive
The first half of 2013 will be influenced by the beginning of production and sales of the new SKODA Octavia. Still, in 2013, ŠKODA aims to further bolster its international market position. “Economic headwinds will continue to affect automobile markets in 2013,” says Werner Eichhorn, ŠKODA board member for sales and marketing. “Especially in Europe, the sales slump in some markets is not over yet. However, we think there will be further growth outside Europe. This means the new ŠKODA Octavia and other new models in the next twelve months will come at just the right time,” says Eichhorn.

In launching the new ŠKODA Octavia, the brand ignites the next stage in the largest model offensive in the company’s history. “The ŠKODA Octavia is the heart of the brand. In the new Octavia, we have made a good car even better. It is a class of its own, offering middle-segment quality at a compact-car price,” says CEO Vahland. ŠKODA will begin introduction of the compact saloon in the Czech Republic in early February, with other international markets subsequently to follow.

ŠKODA brand deliveries to customers in 2012 (in units, rounded, by models; +/- in per cent year on year):

ŠKODA Octavia (409,600; +5.8 %)
ŠKODA Fabia (240,500; -9.9 %)
ŠKODA Superb (109,100; -6.5 %)
ŠKODA Yeti (87,400; +24.3 %)
ŠKODA Roomster (38,000; +5.4 %)
ŠKODA Rapid (24,700; new model)
ŠKODA Citigo (sold in Europe only: 30,000; new model)

Mercedes explores new niche with CLS Shooting Brake

Mercedes-Benz expects demand for four-door luxury cars with coupe styling will grow in the coming years and the brand is aiming for a larger share of the niche with the introduction of the CLS Shooting Brake.

The car is a wagon variant of the CLS sedan launched in 2004. As the niche is small and relatively new, Mercedes-Benz expects the CLS Shooting Brake to win conquest sales, mainly from European and Asian customers rather than buyers in the United States.

Mercedes expects about 15,000 of the 50,000 to 55,000 annual CLS sales to be Shooting Brake variants.

The CLS Shooting Brake is available with five engine variants – two diesel and three gasoline engines. All engines are mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission and have a fuel saving start/stop function as standard.

Shooting Brakes are named after carriages once used to transport hunting equipment for wealthy British hunters. Motorized Shooting Brakes, also spelled Breaks, were popular in England in the 1960s and 1970s. These were two-door sports cars that combined the luxury and style of a coupe with a larger load compartment and large tailgate.

The luxury wood cargo floor of the CLS comes at a hefty price.
The CLS Shooting Brake offers an optional luggage compartment floor made from American cherrywood and inspired by luxury yachts. The car has a load volume of between 590 and 1,550 liters.

Target buyers: Well-heeled car buyers who want to make a lifestyle statement.

What's good: Excellent road manners and performance.

What's bad: Cramped rear compartment; expensive options such as the 4,600 euro wood load floor.

Launch date: October

Base price: 61,761 euros (Germany)

Platform: E class

Where built: Sindelfingen, Germany

Annual sales forecast: 15,000

Lowest CO2 emissions: 139g/km

Main rivals: Audi A7, BMW 5 series GT


Honda will cut 800 jobs in UK on falling European demand

Honda said today it plans to cut around 800 jobs at its South Marston plant near Swindon in south west England due to falling demand for its vehicles across Europe.

In a statement, the company said it would enter into formal consultation with staff over the cuts which will take place by the second quarter of 2013.

Honda Motor Europe's Executive Vice President Ken Keir said the automaker remained fully committed in the long term to its UK and European manufacturing operations, but said market conditions in the region ''require us to take difficult decisions.''

The plant, which produces the Civic, Jazz and CR-V models, employs 3,500 people. A spokeswoman for Honda in the UK told Automotive News Europe that the cuts will ''affect both office-based and production-based staff, but it is difficult [at the moment] to see where that split will be.''

It is the first time Honda has cut jobs in the UK since it began production there in 1992.

Honda said today it plans to cut around 800 jobs at its South Marston plant near Swindon in south west England due to falling demand for its vehicles across Europe.

In a statement, the company said it would enter into formal consultation with staff over the cuts which will take place by the second quarter of 2013.

Honda Motor Europe's Executive Vice President Ken Keir said the automaker remained fully committed in the long term to its UK and European manufacturing operations, but said market conditions in the region ''require us to take difficult decisions.''

The plant, which produces the Civic, Jazz and CR-V models, employs 3,500 people. A spokeswoman for Honda in the UK told Automotive News Europe that the cuts will ''affect both office-based and production-based staff, but it is difficult [at the moment] to see where that split will be.''

It is the first time Honda has cut jobs in the UK since it began production there in 1992.

According to Honda, a forecasted 166,000 cars were built at the plant in 2012, below the maximum capacity of 250,000 and the production peak in 2008, when the company produced 230,000 units.

The spokeswoman said Honda remained committed to building cars and engines in the UK with the Civic wagon and the Civic Type R models due to be manufactured in Swindon from 2014.

Europe losses

Mass-market carmakers in Europe are struggling with underused capacity in the region which is fuelling losses in Europe as demand for cars in major markets like France and Germany drops.

Late last year, Ford announced plans to cut 1,400 jobs at plants in southern England, while both Ford and Volvo are also planning to cut thousands of jobs in Belgium.

PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Opel too both plan to cut their workforce and close plants in France and Germany.

According to data from the industry organization ACEA, Honda sales in EU and EFTA markets dropped 6.2 percent to 131,348 in the first 11 months of 2012. Overall, the markets dropped a combined 7.2 percent.

  • Entry-level i10 awarded ‘Best Buy’ city car for cars under £9,000
  • Hyundai’s best-selling car continues winning ways

The Hyundai i10 1.2 Classic has been chosen as a ‘Best Buy’ city car for cars under £9,000, reinforcing its credentials as one of the standout performers in the segment.

Chas Hallett, Editor-in-chief at What Car?, said: “Buyers at this end of the market want value for money above all else, and that's something that the Hyundai i10 provides in spades. Despite the bargain price, the i10 is actually one of the sweetest-driving city cars there is. It has an impressive balance of ride comfort and cornering ability, which makes it feel very grown-up compared with most rivals. The i10 is also impressively practical for a city car, with decent space for four adults, great access to the cabin and a reasonable boot that can be extended by folding the rear seats.

The Hyundai i10 was the manufacturer’s best-selling model in 2012 with sales in excess of 23,000 units for the year – a 13.5% increase on 2011. Furthermore, it was the second-best-selling car in the A-segment behind the Fiat 500 yet still outselling other mainstream offerings like the Ford Ka and VW Up.

Tony Whitehorn, President and CEO, Hyundai Motor UK, said: “We are delighted that the i10 has been recognised by What Car? in what is an extremely competitive market segment. The i10 is a hugely important car for us and continues the sell well on the strength of its value, ride comfort and the way it is built for purpose.”


The MINI Cooper S Roadster has scooped the title of best open-top at the prestigious What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2013.
Chas Hallett, editor of What Car? said: “MINIs are all about fun and the Roadster delivers it in spades – in fact we think it’s the most fun MINI yet. Drop the roof and the MINI Roadster feels like a modern-day version of classic British sports cars such as the MGB and Lotus Elan – only better.”

The award comes hot on the heels of MINI’s record breaking sales year in the UK, with the brand recording 51,234 vehicle registrations in 2012, the highest since the brand’s launch in 2001.
The MINI Roadster was launched in the UK in April 2012 and the two seat soft-top has exceeded initial sales expectations. Built at MINI Plant Oxford, the MINI Roadster reincarnates the spirit of classic British roadsters by combining a high quality interior with class leading engines, delivering MINI’s hallmark agility and ‘go-kart’ handling.
Collecting the award, Jochen Goller, Director MINI UK said, “We are delighted to receive this award as it is a prestigious endorsement of the MINI Roadster.  The critically acclaimed MINI Cooper S Roadster starts from £20,935 OTR and is packed with technology and a high standard specification, which really sets it apart from other cars in its class.”
The MINI Cooper S Roadster’s 184hp turbocharged petrol engine propels the car from 0-62mph in 7 seconds, delivering unadulterated fun behind the wheel. Performance, however, does not come at the expense of economy, as MINI’s MINIMALISM technologies are fitted as standard delivering combined fuel consumption of 47.1mpg. 


BMW X3 cements its position as ‘Best SUV’.

The BMW 3 Series Saloon has once again crushed the competition to be crowned What Car? ‘Best Executive Car’ 2013, for the eighth consecutive year with the 320d EfficientDynamics.

The BMW 3 Series Saloon remains the vehicle of choice in the Executive Car category, for being the car that means you can have it all.  In EfficientDynamics guise this ‘3’ is the most economical car in its class with its fast yet frugal 2.0 litre diesel engine, making it appeal to both business and personal buyers alike.   However, it was not just the BMW 3 Series’ outstanding economy that put it ahead of the competition, the judges noted that its combination of refinement, comfort and agility put it leagues ahead of its larger rivals.

Chas Hallett, What Car? editor-in-chief, said: “When you consider its spacious, classy and user-friendly cabin, and its frugal running costs, there is no need to upgrade to bigger, more expensive executive cars.”

Continuing the success of the ‘3’, the BMW X3 took home the accolade of What Car? ‘Best SUV’ 2013 for the second year in a row.  Despite the tough opposition from newer models in this sector, the BMW X3 xDrive20d reigns supreme thanks to its excellent residual values, practicality and superior quality.

Chas Hallett, What Car? editor-in-chief, said: “The winning X3 engine is one of the most refined available today and with its eight-speed automatic transmission it’s hard to beat.  The X3 offers the driver and passengers top-notch luxury as well as great economy and extremely attractive residual values.  The X3 works on paper and even better in real world.”

Tim Abbott, Managing Director of BMW UK, said: “For the BMW 3 Series to win the prestigious ‘Best Executive Car’ award for eight consecutive years is an honour and testament to the hard work that goes into producing BMW’s core model.  With the X3 also cementing its position as ‘Best SUV’, 2013 is off to a great start for BMW.”


Renault celebrated twin ‘Best Buy’ gongs at the prestigious What Car? Awards 2013 last night, for its Mégane Renaultsport and the all-new Sandero supermini from its “shockingly affordable” Dacia brand.

It takes a very special model to win a title four times and What Car? was full of on-going admiration for the Mégane Renaultsport, this year as the 265 Cup took Best Hot Hatch over £22,000, praising its “coupé-like good looks with muscular haunches and a purposeful stance as well as explosive performance.” Fending off strong competition in much higher price brackets once again, the plaudits kept coming for its “fantastic body control, balance and grip”, adding: “Nothing gets close to the Mégane Renaultsport Cup if you're after hardcore hot hatch thrills.”

It’s also an impressive, and timely, start to its UK launch under Renault Group ownership for Dacia. Europe’s fastest-growing car brand, only launches this month, but is already rapidly racking up trophies, not to mention customers. Only a few months after its Duster SUV collected two titles at the Scottish Car of the Year Awards, including the big one, yesterday it was the turn of its Sandero supermini to get in on the act.

Rather than the £5,995 version, where you could have two for less than the category’s own price limit, at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, it was the mid-range 0.9 TCe90 Ambiance which won over the judges, driving off with “Best Supermini under £12,000”.

Packing the brand’s new state-of-the-art three-cylinder petrol engine, the Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe Ambiance only costs £7,395 on-the-road, but was described by the What Car? panel as “something genuinely new and different, in that it brings real space for bargain prices. That’s an admirable achievement.” They added: “You'll have to look in the used car classifieds to find comparably priced rivals to the Sandero. Even then, you won't find many second-hand superminis that come with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, and even fewer that offer the sort of space the Sandero does. The turbocharged engine is fun and willing, and the Dacia is generally a practical, pleasant thing to live with. “


  • First Vauxhall ADAM rolls off Eisenach production line today
  • Plant boasts flexible production of highest quality
  • 190m euro investment in plant
  • Production supports near-limitless personalisation of ADAM
  • Over 16,000 orders received from around Europe for ADAM
Today Vauxhall and sister company Opel celebrated the official start of ADAM production at its plant in Eisenach, Germany. Steve Girsky, GM’s Vice Chairman and GM Europe’s President, declared that the first ADAM off the line marked a ‘new era’ for Vauxhall/Opel.
ADAM is the most flexible car in its class, with 61,000 exterior variations and 82,000 different ways to ‘design’ the interior. And it was this flexibility, said Deputy Chairman of Opel/Vauxhall’s Management Board, Dr. Thomas Sedran, that had posed so many challenges for planning, logistics and manufacturing.

‘Whoever orders an ADAM today can be quite certain that they won’t see an identical car. Almost every ADAM will be unique – that’s how extensive the diverse range is that we are building here. The highly qualified Eisenach team as well as everyone in the company who has worked on this project can be proud of this day.’
Opel/Vauxhall has invested 190 million euros to be able to produce the ADAM at Eisenach, in addition to the current Corsa, the company’s biggest-selling car in the UK.
The Vauxhall ADAM is also full of clever and affordable technologies. The Intellilink infotainment system makes ADAM the best connected small car. It integrates the owner’s smartphone (Apple iOS and Android) in the vehicle, and very soon this will be enhanced by Apple’s voice recognition software, SIRI. ADAM can also be specified with the latest generation Automatic Park Assist, a heated steering wheel, Side Blind Spot Alert and FlexFix, the fully-integrated rear bicycle carrier.
The first ADAM was driven off the line at Opel/Vauxhall’s Thuringia factory by Steve Girsky, accompanied by 2009 European Athletics Indoor Champion, Ariane Friedrich.
First ADAMs will reach UK showrooms on March 8, with buyers benefitting from Vauxhall’s class-leading Lifetime Warranty.
Between 2012 and 2016 Vauxhall will introduce a total of 23 new vehicles and 13 new engines into the market, with the next model in line being the all new Cascada, the first full-size convertible to be designed, engineered and built by the company since before the Second World War.


  • The SEAT Alhambra retains its What Car? Best MPV award at the What Car? Car of the Year 2013 awards
  • Alhambra becomes What Car? Best MPV three years in a row
  • Alhambra 2.0 TDI 140 Ecomotive S version takes the crown
  • Best MPV award becomes twelfth UK gong for the Alhambra
  • New range-topping 2.0 TDI 177 PS engine on sale now
Esteemed motoring consumer publication What Car? has crowned the SEAT Alhambra its best MPV for the third year running, lauding it as a “fantastic all-round package”.

At a glitzy ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, the amazingly practical MPV once again saw off the competition to become the people carrier that What Car? recommends most highly.
It is the 2.0 TDI CR 140 Ecomotive S model specifically that takes the prize, which is priced at £25,035 RRP OTR and boasts CO2 emissions of just 146 g/km with fuel consumption of 50.4 mpg combined.  
What Car? Editor-in-chief Chas Hallett explained exactly why the Alhambra took first place, calling it “a fantastic all-round package, roomy enough for seven adults, good value for money, powerful and economical to run”.
The Alhambra does indeed offer fantastic value for money. Priced from just £23,770 for a 1.4 TSI 150 PS in S specification, it seats seven adults in spacious comfort and features standard equipment including 16-inch alloy wheels, three-zone climate control, Bluetooth audio streaming, sliding rear doors, ISOFIX mountings for all five rear seats, and a Start/Stop System with Energy Recovery to save fuel.
SE specification adds 17-inch alloy wheels, leather steering wheel and gear knob covers, dark tinted rear windows, automatic lights and wipers, and cruise control, among a host of additional comfort and convenience features.
SE Lux specification is, as the name suggests, a luxurious package of equipment that includes leather upholstery, power operated tailgate and rear doors, a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, and SEAT Media System 2.2 – a touch screen infotainment unit incorporating satellite navigation, DAB digital radio and a rear view camera.
Power stretches from 150 PS up to 177 PS, with the previous range-topping 170 PS 2.0 TDI unit now replaced by a 177 PS engine of the same capacity. It is available to order now with SE and SE Lux trim variants, and with DSG automatic as an option.
SEAT UK Managing Director Peter Wyhinny said: “With the quality of the competition in the MPV sector, we certainly weren’t complacent about winning a third What Car? Best MPV award in a row – but we were quietly confident, given how many awards the Alhambra has already won.
“That the Alhambra is still top of the pile is a testament to its outstanding qualities and appeal as an overall package. As the What Car? experts have again recognised, the Alhambra offers family buyers an irresistible mix of performance, practicality and price.
“This is the twelfth award that the Alhambra has picked up in the UK, following its Auto Express Best MPV prize in 2012. That’s an amazing achievement – but hopefully this is not the last prize we’ll put in the Alhambra’s trophy cabinet.”


  • 2012 becomes SEAT’s most successful year ever with record-breaking sales and market share
  • Sales of 38,798 give SEAT a 1.9% share of the UK market
  • Leon enjoys second best ever yearly sales, despite the second generation car being in its final full year
  • 13,278 Leon registrations almost eclipse the 13,486 sold in 2007
  • Ibiza is once again the company’s best-selling model
The new car sales figures for 2012 from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have confirmed that SEAT UK has just enjoyed a record-breaking year.

With 38,798 new SEAT cars registered in the UK, 2012 has become the company’s best ever year for sales, and one during which it has achieved its biggest ever slice of the overall UK market, with 1.9%.
Those figures both eclipse 2011, itself a record breaking year, and continue the company’s upward trajectory over the last five years; since 2008, SEAT has registered unbroken year-on-year sales increases.
The 2012 sales numbers were bolstered by a remarkable performance from the Leon hatchback, which despite being in its final full year achieved its second best ever sales tally.
The 13,278 Leon cars registered in 2012 is only a couple of hundred short of the model’s best ever sales year across two generations: 2007, when 13,486 left forecourts.
The third generation Leon hits UK roads in March, with order books open now, and with the model’s scope due to expand even further in 2013, comprising  a five-door hatchback, SC coupe and ST estate, 2007 is very unlikely to remain the model’s best year.
The Ibiza continues to be the most popular SEAT overall. Like the Leon, it too enjoyed its second-best year ever in terms of registrations, with 17,786 sold, and it also did so during a year of transition – April 2012 saw the launch of the extensively revised Ibiza.
SEAT UK Managing Director Peter Wyhinny said: “It’s remarkable that we’ve surpassed 2011’s record-breaking performance – it’s a just reward for the hard work put in by our ever-expanding dealership network during the year, and also indicative of the quality, style and value of our entire model range.
“2012 is a year that’s seen our showroom range grow to become the widest and best value we’ve ever offered, with the introduction of the new Toledo and a return to the city car segment with the fantastic Mii, both three- and five-door. 
“And with further growth in 2013 planned, thanks to the arrival of SC coupe and ST estate versions of the Leon, I can genuinely see 2013 becoming another record-breaking year for SEAT.”


  • 1,845,186 BMW Group vehicles sold, an increase of 10.6%
  • Record year for all three brands
  • BMW Group aims for further growth in sales in 2013
The BMW Group achieved its highest ever sales result in 2012, with a total of 1,845,186 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles delivered worldwide. This was an increase of 10.6% over the previous record year in 2011 (1,668,982). All three brands posted record sales for the whole year and the company strengthened its position as the leading provider of premium vehicles worldwide.The BMW Group finished the year on a strong note with 181,571 vehicles sold in December, 14.8% higher than in the same month last year (prev. yr. 158,125).

“2012 was a very successful year for us. The BMW Group achieved its best ever sales result for the second year in a row and expanded its lead in the premium segment. Our success can be attributed to our attractive model portfolio, the strength of our premium brands, as well as a strategy of balanced sales across all continents,” said Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing BMW. He continued “We enter the new year with positive momentum and despite the prevailing headwinds in some markets, we aim to achieve another record year in sales in 2013. This year marks the beginning of a new era for the BMW Group, as we launch the all-electric BMW i3 towards the end of the year.” 
BMW sales rose 11.6% in 2012 to reach a total of 1,540,085 vehicles, the best sales level in the history of the brand (prev. yr. 1,380,384). In December, a total of 152,286 vehicles were delivered – an increase of 18.8% (prev. yr. 128,182). One of the frontrunners in terms of growth was the highly successful BMW 1 Series, with a total of 226,829 vehicles sold in 2012, an increase of 28.6% over the previous year (176,418). The BMW X1 also continued to report strong gains in 2012 with a total of 147,776 vehicles sold (+16.9%; prev. yr. 126,429). The BMW 3 Series Sedan claimed the position of segment leader with 294,039 vehicles delivered, an increase of 22.4% over last year (240,278). Sales of the BMW 3 Series rose by 5.8% to a total of 406,752 vehicles (prev. yr. 384,464). Demand for the BMW X3 remained high with sales climbing 27.1% to 149,853 units sold last year (prev. yr. 117,944). The BMW 5 Series solidified its position as segment leader, with a total of 337,929 vehicles delivered to customers in 2012 (+9.0%; prev. yr. 310,050).Strong gains were also achieved by the BMW 6 Series, with 23,193 vehicles delivered to customers (+146.8; prev. yr. 9,396).
MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad achieved record sales in 2012.
Harald Krueger, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, MINI, Motorrad, Rolls-Royce, Aftersales BMW Group stated, “The sales records for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad show that our products and services are fit for the future in the face of increasingly challenging market conditions, owing to the strength of the brands, fascinating technology and a globally balanced distribution strategy.” 
Global sales for MINI reached a new milestone by climbing to a record 301,526 vehicles in 2012 (+5.8%; prev. yr. 285,060). In December, sales remained around last year’s level with 28,751 vehicles sold (-2.4%; prev. yr. 29,467). The MINI Countryman recorded double-digit growth, with a total of 102,250 deliveries in 2012 (+14.8%; prev. yr. 89,036). Further momentum for the brand is expected with the launch of the MINI Paceman in spring this year. The U.S. remains the largest market for MINI, with a record-breaking 66,123 cars sold last year, followed by the U.K. with 50,367. 
Rolls-Royce remains the clear market leader in the ultra-luxury-class segment. Sales for the full year 2012 reached a record sales result of 3,575 motor cars, the highest annual sales in the 108-year history of Rolls-Royce and the third consecutive record. Rolls-Royce also reported 534 deliveries in December (+12%). Demand for all Phantom and Ghost variants was strong. Phantom Series II was unveiled in March at the Geneva Motor Show to worldwide acclaim and production has been increased at the company’s Goodwood manufacturing plant to cope with customer demand. Bespoke sales in 2012 reached record levels.
With a total of 106,358 motorcycles (+2.0%; prev. yr. 104,286), BMW Motorrad delivered more vehicles in 2012 than ever before in its nearly 90-year history. In December, 6,069 Motorcycles were delivered worldwide, which reflects an increase of 43.4% over the same month in 2011 (4,232). Husqvarna delivered 10,751 motorcycles in 2012 (+15.8%; prev. yr. 9,286). December accounted for 1,267 deliveries (-4.7%; 1,330).
The BMW Group underlined its strategy of a balanced distribution of sales worldwide by achieving growth on all continents in 2012. Despite the challenges in Europe, the BMW Group increased sales of its vehicles in its largest sales region to 864,812 last year (+0.8%; prev. yr. 857,792). In the region, the company achieved its best ever sales in the U.K. with a total of 174,215 vehicles (prev. yr. 167,108; +4.3%) and BMW once again claimed the title of number one premium brand in the market. BMW Group sales in the dynamic market of Russia climbed by 33.1% to a record 40,144 vehicles (prev. yr. 30,167).
In Asia, BMW Group sales soared by 31.6% last year to 491,512 vehicles (prev. yr. 373,613). Mainland China accounted for 326,444 deliveries of BMW and MINI vehicles, an increase of 40.4% over the previous year (232,586). The BMW Group posted double digit growth in several other Asian markets including South Korea (33,500; +22.3%), Middle East (21,314; +14.2%) and Japan (56,607; +18.9%).
In the Americas, the BMW Group also achieved double-digit gains in 2012 with 424,379 vehicles delivered, an increase of 11.9% on the previous year (379,332). In the U.S., BMW Group sales climbed by 13.8% to 347,583 units (prev. yr. 305,418) and BMW once again claimed the title of number one premium brand in the U.S.
Sales on the continent of Africa climbed by 14.5% in 2012 to 37,649 units (prev. yr. 32,890) and the region of Oceania increased sales by 8.0% to 23,000 vehicles (prev. yr. 21,297).


  • Striking new Sicilian Yellow body colour with Santorini Black contrast roof or, Santorini Black body colour with Sicilian Yellow contrast roof and door mirrors
  • New interior finish with yellow contrast stitching and unique yellow horizontal finisher
  • Debut of the new Black Design Pack for Range Rover Evoque Dynamic derivatives
The Range Rover Evoque is gearing up for spring with the Sicilian Yellow Limited Edition model which makes its debut at the Brussels Motor Show on 10 January. Based on the 2013 Evoque Dynamic derivative, the Limited Edition sports a number of unique features giving it a truly striking appearance. Orders are being taken now with deliveries beginning in May.

The Range Rover Evoque has asserted itself as Land Rover’s most desirable model, selling in excess of 100,000 vehicles in its first full year with sales continuing to show rapid growth worldwide. The new Sicilian Yellow Limited Edition offers customers highly desirable styling features which will build on the Evoque’s success and reinforce its global appeal.
Available in coupé and 5-door, customers can choose from two exterior colour schemes, each one unique to the Limited Edition model and based on a new Black Design Pack. Choices include a Sicilian Yellow exterior body finish with a Santorini Black contrast roof, or a Santorini Black exterior body finish with a Sicilian Yellow contrast roof and door mirrors. Unique interior finishes include yellow contrast stitching on seats, central storage area, door trims and fascia mid-section, plus an anodised yellow horizontal finisher.
This limited edition model debuts the Black Design Pack which will be available independently of the Limited Edition from April 2013. The Black Design Pack will be available exclusively on Dynamic models and includes rear sport spoiler, darkened front headlights and fog lamps, black Range Rover lettering, clear rear lamps, 20-inch Gloss Black forged wheels, Santorini Black painted bumper sections and dark exhaust finishers.
“The Sicilian Yellow Limited Edition is the perfect opportunity to introduce the Range Rover Evoque into 2013 and build on what is already a tremendous success story. Such a striking colour combination attributes itself to the already unique styling of the Evoque. This, combined with the release of the Black Design Pack in April, will provide customers with yet more appealing and unique choices,” said John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director.
In the UK the Range Rover Evoque is powered by three different powertrain options. Land Rover's powerful, efficient and lightweight 2.2 litre diesel engine, in SD4 190PS guise, combined with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. The two-wheel drive eD4 is powered by the 150PS TD4 version of the engine combined with a six-speed manual gearbox and produces just 129g/km CO2. The lightweight Land Rover Si4 petrol engine delivers 240PS and is combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.


  • Growth in all international regions
  • Americas retains position as largest market
Bentley Motors today announces global growth of 22% in 2012 as deliveries to customers increased to 8,510 cars (7,003 cars in 2011).  This maintains Bentley’s position as the leading manufacturer of luxury vehicles in the world.  Deliveries were up in every international region as Bentley increased its global sales network by 10%.

Commenting on the results, Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive Wolfgang Schreiber said:
“2012 has been an excellent year for Bentley.  This strong performance was possible due to our continuing investment in new models and the hard work and commitment of a highly motivated Bentley team.  We expect the luxury market in 2013 to continue to be challenging but, with significant new model introductions, we believe we have the potential to maintain growth throughout the year.”
The Americas finished 2012 as Bentley’s largest global market, with 2,457 cars delivered to customers in the region, a 22% increase on 2011 (2,021 cars).  China followed closely with 2,253 cars delivered, Bentley’s largest ever volume in the region and a 23% increase on 2011 (1,839 cars). 
In Europe deliveries grew by 12% with 1,333 cars delivered to customers (1,187 in 2011).  The increasing popularity of the Bentley brand in growing markets like Russia, where deliveries were up 37%, contributed to the strong performance of the region.  In the UK 1,104 cars were delivered to customers, a 7% increase on the previous year (1,031 cars). 
The Middle East region performed very well with deliveries up 44% to 815 cars (566 in 2011). Asia Pacific also increased its deliveries by 44% to 358 cars (249 in 2011).  Finally Japan saw exceptional growth of 73% with 190 deliveries (110 in 2011)
The new 500hp V8 engine has been extremely successful with customers, accounting for almost a fifth of total sales and attracting a large number of new customers to the brand. The W12 Continental GT and GT Convertible also maintained strong support, jointly accounting for over a third of all sales.
The flagship Mulsanne saw sustained growth of 10%.  Four out of every ten Mulsannes built in Crewe were sold in China, where the popularity of the pinnacle limousine was boosted by the Diamond Jubilee special edition. The Flying Spur also continued to sell well, particularly in China, Bentley’s largest four door market.


Suzuki is pleased to announce that the Swift Sport has been awarded a ‘Best Buy’ accolade at the prestigiousWhat Car? Magazine awards for the second year in a row. The performance flagship of the Swift model range was comprehensively judged by the editorial team against some very strong competition and the final vote resulted in it again receiving the ‘Best Buy Hot hatch for less than £15,000’.

In fact the Swift Sport is a lot less than £15,000 as it is available for £13,749 in a choice of five standard metallic paint finishes and with a very high standard equipment specification including seven airbags, auto air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and USB port, rear privacy glass and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Chas Hallett, What Car? Editor in chief comments: “The Suzuki Swift Sport is proof that you don’t need a lot of money to have an awful lot of fun. It scores well on insurance costs and real world fuel economy – but it will also put a huge grin on your face.” 
The Swift Sport’s 1.6-litre engine has an impressive maximum output of 136PS at 7,000rpm and is achieved through optimisation of the intake VVT (Variable Valve Timing) and increased valve lift. 
The engine’s high output is combined with excellent fuel economy of 44.1mpg on the EC Combined Cycle; CO2emissions are 147g/km and a bespoke exhaust system yields a sporty note. The Sport is fitted with a six speed manual transmission as standard.
HID Projector headlamps for low and high beam are also fitted as standard. This safety feature is often listed as a cost option by its direct competitors as well as on much more expensive cars.
The Sport has already proved to be very popular with customers, achieving well over 100 per cent of target in 2012. To help widen the market as well as assist younger buyers aspiring to own one, Suzuki has now included it in its latest PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) offers with a special low deposit of just £1,409 required followed by 42 monthly payments of £239 and an optional final payment of £4,698.


Ford, the UK’s favourite car brand, triumphed at the 2013 What Car? Awards, winning an unprecedented four trophies.
While the acclaimed Ford Mondeo took Best Family Car and Best Estate awards for the third year running, the new Ford Fiesta and Focus ST also received accolades from What Car?.

Ford’s trophy haul of four awards is the most the top-selling car brand has won in the event’s 25-year history.  Ford’s success at the 2013 What Car? Awards comes in the same week as latest industry figures confirm the company has sold the most cars in the UK for 36 consecutive years and been top commercial vehicle brand for 47 years.
Mighty Mondeo
The Ford Mondeo remains both the UK's Best Family Car and Best Estate according to What
Car?, the leading car buyer’s guide.  In reaffirming the flagship Ford’s 2012 and 2011 achievements in both categories, What Car? said:  “The Mondeo is rewarding to drive, with agile handling and a comfortable ride.  It will satisfy the family man and the business user, being as assured on twisty lanes as it is on motorways.
“The Ford Mondeo estate is spacious enough to keep even the tallest adults happy, while its boot can cope with everything from the family dog to furniture.”
Award-winning new Fiesta
As the new Ford Fiesta goes on volume sale this month, What Car? has already declared it Best Supermini.  Fiesta has been the UK bestseller for four consecutive years and saw sales rise by 14 per cent to almost 110,000 cars in 2012.
“If ever a car feels like it has been touched by greatness, it’s the Ford Fiesta,” said What Car?  “Freshly facelifted for 2013, it now comes with sweeter engines and improved safety credentials.”
Sporty ST
The 154mph Ford Focus ST, available as both a five-door and an estate, is Ford’s first global performance car.  Yet its turbo-charged, direct-injection 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine returns 39mpg while delivering CO2 emissions of 169g/km.
In making it Best Hot Hatch, What Car? said:  “Fast and thrilling when you want it to be, yet also perfectly happy pottering around town or trundling along the motorway.”
Chas Hallett, What Car? editor-in-chief, said:  “Ford really deserves its four What Car? category awards, it’s a fantastic achievement.  It’s great to see a mainstream volume car maker building award-winning cars.”
Mark Ovenden, Ford Britain managing director, said:  “Ford’s flying start to 2013 has been accelerated by winning so many What Car? Awards.  Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo are the most familiar models in Ford’s line-up, so What Car? recognising each of them is a fine testimony to our latest range.”

  • New Porsche Boxster awarded ‘Best Sports Car of the Year’ by What Car?
  • Latest generation of benchmark roadster is judged to be “simply brilliant in every way”
  • Recognition builds on strong UK performance by Porsche in 2012, with sales of 7,998
  • 2013 will see introduction of new Cayman, plug-in hybrid Panamera and 918 Spyder super sports car
The new Porsche Boxster – the latest generation of the benchmark roadster -- has been named ‘Best Sports Car of the Year’ at the annual What Car? Awards held in London last night.

Chas Hallett, Editor-in-Chief of What Car?, commented: “The Porsche Boxster is simply brilliant in every way – it’ll cope with the greyness of mid-winter commutes and it’ll feel great when the road opens up and the roof comes down on summer evenings. It’s also a relative bargain and won’t cost too much to run.”
This success follows the “brilliant” Boxster being awarded first place in the ‘Best Sports Car’ category in the annual motoring awards of the Daily Express. Shortly after going on sale last May, the Boxster also triumphed in the 2012 Auto Express New Car Honours, scooping the prize for ‘Best Roadster’.
New Porsche Boxster in detail
With an all-new lightweight body, new flat-six engines with direct petrol injection, a completely revised chassis and evolutionary yet utterly distinctive styling, the Boxster defines what an open-top sports car should be. Core to its enduring appeal is the mid-engined layout that delivers renowned poise and balance combined with precise, agile handling.
Up to 35 kg lower weight, a 60 mm longer wheelbase, widened track on the front and rear axles, and larger wheels and tyres combine to significantly enhance the performance of the new car by notably increasing its chassis responsiveness. These attributes clearly result in the new Boxster offering a superior level of performance, but also help to deliver -- in combination with many other new features -- up to 15 per cent greater fuel efficiency.
The Porsche Boxster is powered by a choice of charismatic mid-mounted, flat-six engines. The 2.7-litre fitted in the Boxster delivers 265 hp (195 kW). The 3.4-litre of the Boxster S produces 315 hp (232 kW). Both models feature a manual six-speed gearbox as standard, with the seven-speed dual-clutch Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) available as an option.
The philosophy of Porsche Intelligent Performance not only makes this Boxster the fastest ever, but also the most efficient roadster in the company’s history. When fitted with the PDK transmission and Sport Chrono Package option, the 2.7-litre Boxster sprints from 0-62 mph in 5.5 sec, the Boxster S in just 4.8 sec. Combined fuel consumption for the Boxster with PDK is 36.7 mpg, while CO2 emissions of 180 g/km place the model in Band I for Vehicle Excise Duty purposes. The Boxster S with PDK returns 35.3 mpg combined (188 g/km CO2).
The new Porsche Boxster is priced from £37,589, and from £45,384 for the Boxster S. Every new Boxster customer can also explore the potential of their car by participating in a complimentary course at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone.
Porsche Cars Great Britain business update
With the new Boxster and new 911 reaching UK and Irish showrooms in 2012, Porsche Cars GB recorded sales of 7,998 – up by 25 per cent versus 2011. This strong performance was supported by all models in the range.
New Cayman due in March
The next chapter in the Cayman story opens this year when deliveries begin of the latest version of the mid-engined Porsche coupé. The new Cayman aims once more to set the class benchmark for driving performance; its longer wheelbase, all-new chassis and lower weight further optimising the established dynamic credentials of the coupé.
Since its debut in 2005, the Cayman has earned a particular reputation as a driver’s car. For the latest model, the two-seater coupéhas been completely re-developed and – after the 911 Carrera and Boxster roadster – is the third sports car model series from Porsche to feature innovative lightweight body design.
S Diesel builds on Cayenne success
Ten years after UK sales of the Cayenne began, the five seat, four-wheel drive Porsche is firmly established in the range line-up. With a wide choice of petrol, diesel and hybrid engine variants, the Cayenne combines sports car handling on the road with the added versatility of being able to cover ground quickly and safely, regardless of the terrain.
Arriving in Porsche Centres this month, the new Cayenne S Diesel offers a compelling combination of dynamic performance and efficiency. Featuring a 4.2-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine developing 381 hp and 850 Newton metres of torque, the S Diesel provides the most pulling power of any Cayenne currently on sale.
The new addition to the range can sprint from 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 157 mph. This is balanced by fuel consumption of 34.0 mpg on the NEDC and emissions of 218 g/km CO2. Aiding efficiency and comfort is the auto start/stop function; the Cayenne S Diesel is the world’s only V8 diesel SUV to offer this feature.
Cayenne Turbo S makes Detroit Auto Show debut
With the power output of its twin-turbocharged 4.8-litre V8 engine increased by ten per cent to 550 hp (and torque boosted from 700 to 750 Nm), the forthcoming Turbo S is the definitive Porsche Cayenne in which to cover ground quickly. With its advanced active chassis dynamics, the supreme four-wheel drive five-seater surpasses the driving performance of many sports cars.
The Cayenne Turbo S – which makes its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in America on January 14 – has been carefully configured for maximum dynamic performance. From the already highly-capable Cayenne Turbo it takes the combination of air suspension and active PASM damping control. To this is added Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which reduces the roll angle in curves to improve agility and comfort equally. Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) is also a standard feature, combining torque vectoring on the rear wheels with an electronically-controlled rear differential lock to improve traction.
Plug-in hybrid extends Panamera range
Combining the sporting performance of an eight-cylinder engine with the economy of a six-cylinder – with the added versatility of being able to drive in pure electric mode -- the technically-sophisticated Cayenne S Hybrid and Panamera S Hybrid models embody the Porsche Intelligent Performance philosophy. This year sees the introduction of ‘plug-in’ hybrid technology making its debut on the Panamera, which will become the first car in the premium segment to offer this function.
918 Spyder from September 18
In September, production of the 918 Spyder super sports car begins in Stuttgart with first customer deliveries scheduled for November. As a technology showcase, the plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder features a high performance 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine coupled to cutting-edge electric motors offering extraordinary performance.
The Porsche 918 Spyder has the potential to break many records. Already, it has lapped the challenging Nürburgring Nordschleife in 7:14 minutes; which is over 15 seconds faster than the Porsche Carrera GT. However, the 918 Spyder sets new standards in its efficiency as well. As a plug-in hybrid, it systematically combines the dynamic performance of a racing machine with over 795 hp with fuel consumption of around 94 mpg (three litres/100 km) and approximately 70 g/km CO2.
The 918 Spyder breaks further new ground with spectacular solutions such as the full carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque with unit carrier, fully adaptive aerodynamics, adaptive rear axle steering and the upward-venting ‘top pipes’ exhaust system. In the process, the 918 Spyder is offering a glimpse of what Porsche Intelligent Performance may be capable of in future.