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, 26 October 2013

Bentley awarded the Carbon Trust Water Standard, the 1st auto maker in the world.

  • Bentley awarded Carbon Trust Water Standard
  • 35 per cent water usage reduction at Crewe headquarters

Bentley has become the first automotive manufacturer, and among the first ten organisations in the world, to achieve the Carbon Trust Water Standard. This comes after the company reduced its water usage by 35.7 per cent over the previous year at its headquarters in Crewe, to 109,284 m³ in 2012.

Achieving this reduction, Bentley’s Environmental Team implemented a number of initiatives, after calling on support from the wider workforce. Over 4,000 Crewe-based employees were asked for suggestions on water reduction measures, which resulted in an overhaul of certain parts of the 339,000m³ factory site.  

Commenting on the achievement, Michael Straughan, Member of the Board for Manufacturing, said: “Bentley works hard to continuously improve its overall environmental performance and this achievement recognises our positive commitment to minimising our water footprint. We have further measures planned to increase this reduction, and will continue to listen to and integrate positive ideas from our Colleagues.”

As part of the reduction, Bentley’s Paint Shop and water treatment facilities were renovated, and a dedicated water recycling facility was built. This facility enables Bentley to re-use water efficiently, with little wastage, preparing cars as they enter the paint spraying process.

Bentley also invested heavily in the replacement and modernisation of major sections of both the water main and fire hydrant systems across the site, eliminating many underground leaks that occurred because of the more traditional mains supply pipes.

The domestic services throughout the Bentley factory were also analysed by the Environmental Team, choosing to install automatic taps and low-flush toilets in washrooms, saving over 1,500m³ of water every year.

Darrran Messem, Managing Director of Certification at the Carbon Trust, added: “As the first carmaker to achieve the Carbon Trust Water Standard, Bentley is setting an example for how production efficiency can deliver significant environmental benefits. We would like to congratulate the company and the staff on all they have achieved.”

The Carbon Trust Water Standard is the world’s first water use reduction certificate, measuring and managing water use of organisations. To achieve the Standard, organisations are put through a rigorous assessment.

This involves having an accurate water use calculation, looking at water input and output data, including an independent site assessment. This compares current use against previous performance. There is also a qualitative assessment of good water management practices.

This reduction is just one environmental measure that Bentley has put in place at its headquarters, which manufactured over 8,500 cars in 2012. The company recently installed the UK’s largest roof-mounted solar panel system, with over 20,000 solar panels, reducing CO2 usage by over 2,500 tonnes per year.

Fun, Fast and fully built for £18k, the new Caterham Seven 160

  • Priced from £14,995 or 17,995 fully built
  • Suzuki-powered 660cc Seven with new live-axle will be ultimate in ‘accessible fun’
  • UK variant named Seven 160; EU gets 165

Caterham Cars has opened the order book for the Seven 160 – its new entry-level variant of the iconic sportscar, powered by a super-compact, turbocharged Suzuki engine.

Priced from £14,995 in component form, the car’s live-axle rear suspension, compact engine and low weight embody the pioneering spirit of early Sevens and represent a new entry-point to the Seven range.

The Seven 160 – EU customers will get an altered version, called 165 – produces 80hp from its 660cc, three-cylinder, turbocharged engine, enabling it to accelerate to 60mph in a brisk 6.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 100mph.

With fleet-of-foot charm and handling finesse, rather than outright performance dictating the driving experience, the new car redefines the budget sportscar segment while introducing new levels of efficiency and value for money to the Caterham range.

Caterham Cars CEO, Graham Macdonald, said: “As the Caterham Group as a whole grows and expands into new sectors and industries, our commitment to keep evolving the Seven is very much alive.

“The 160 offers something truly different to the entry-level market. It’s more economical, more accessible and every bit as fun on the road as other Sevens but has its own unique personality.”

The new rear axle, a throwback to early Sevens in terms of simplicity and purity of design, complements the Suzuki Motor Corporation engine and lower overall body weight, while delivering Caterham’s acclaimed, intuitive handling experience and a balanced yet playful chassis.

To meet the desired performance criteria, the Caterham Group’s engineering consultancy, Caterham Technology & Innovation (CTI), fine-tuned engine performance from its standard output of 64hp to 80hp, while boosting fuel economy and reducing vehicle emissions. The vehicle conforms to EU5, EU6 and JC08 emissions regulations.

Macdonald continued: “The engineering challenges we faced when developing the new vehicle were significant. The engine, suspension and the overall dynamics all needed to work in harmony and the various arms of the Group have been successful in pooling facilities and expertise to achieve that.”

The number five at the end of the EU spec car’s moniker signifies that the vehicle complies with the EU5 emissions standards, allowing it to be sold across mainland Europe and beyond.

Production of the Caterham Seven 160 and 165 is expected to begin in January 2014, with first deliveries later that Spring.

Subaru XV Black edition, looks, quality and rugged, go anywhere appeal.

  • Limited run model with a choice of petrol or diesel engines and manual and Lineartronic transmissions
  • Visual changes boost the XV’s rugged, go-anywhere appeal
  • XV retains the highest Euro NCAP safety rating in its class
  • XV Black Limited Edition priced from £24,495 (OTR)

Subaru has today announced the launch of the Subaru XV Black, a new limited edition variant of the manufacturer’s popular compact crossover. The ‘XV Black’ models will be available with either Subaru’s 2.0-litre Boxer diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission, or the 2.0-litre Boxer petrol unit and a Lineartronic automatic transmission.

Exclusively finished in Crystal Black Silica paint, the XV Black offers a number of visual additions unique to the special edition model, which are designed to boost the car’s rugged, go-anywhere appeal.  These include front, rear and side silver-resin underguards, front and rear mudflaps, a cargo step panel and a foldable cargo tray.  Inside, the Black model is fitted with heavy-duty rubber floor mats.

The All-Wheel-Drive XV Black is priced at £24,495 (on-the-road) for the 2.0i Lineartronic and £24,995 for the 2.0 Boxer diesel, and is based on the existing SE model.  Motorists will pay just £1,000 for all the extras fitted as standard to the XV Black, which – if fitted separately as options to other models in the range – would total over £1,600, meaning the new Limited Edition model offers both exclusivity and value for money.

The XV enjoys a class-leading five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating and at 90%, one of the highest scores for child occupant protection ever recorded, making it ideal for young families.

Perfectly suited to everyday use in an urban or out of town environment, the ‘go anywhere’ XV combines the highest ground clearance of any vehicle in its segment with the lowest centre of gravity.  Efficient engines and lightweight body mean the XV is able to return a 50.4mpg on the combined cycle and emits only 146 g/km CO2 (2.0-litre diesel models).

The new XV Black Limited Edition features Subaru’s typically generous standard equipment levels, including Subaru’s standard-fit Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system, providing world-class hazard avoidance capabilities.  Other standard features include front, side, curtain and knee airbags, 17-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, heated front seats, wiper de-icers, cruise control, folding door mirrors, dual-zone air-conditioning, rear view safety camera, Bluetooth, HID headlamps, and rear privacy glass.

Subaru XV Black Limited Edition

Mclaren P1™ facts and figures as first car handed over.

  • 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in just 2.8 seconds
  • Braking from 100 km/h to zero takes just 30.2 metres – less than a third of the recognised stopping distance
  • The McLaren P1™ reaches 300 km/h (186 mph) in 16.5 seconds – a full 5.5 seconds quicker than the iconic McLaren F1
  • Bespoke tyres and braking system, developed in conjunction with technical partners Pirelli and Akebono, ensure optimised performance
  • First customer takes delivery of groundbreaking McLaren P1™ from company’s headquarters in Woking, England

Following an extensive testing and development programme, McLaren Automotive has now confirmed the performance figures for the McLaren P1™ in the latest stage in the launch of the groundbreaking model. These figures show that the third model in the range accelerates to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.8 seconds, 200 km/h (124 mph) in 6.8 seconds, and 300 km/h (186 mph) in just 16.5 seconds.

Groundbreaking levels of performance

The McLaren P1™ has been designed from the outset with one clear goal: to be the best driver’s car on road and track. The confirmation of the performance figures underlines this, and gives further insight into the potential of the latest model from the Woking-based firm.

Fitted with a twin powerplant powertrain generating 916 PS (903 bhp) from the highly efficient 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 petrol engine and the lightweight electric motor, the McLaren P1™ storms from a standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 2.8 seconds, and hits 200 km/h (124 mph) in 6.8 seconds – quicker than many hot hatches reach half that speed.

The relentless acceleration, delivered as a result of the instant torque offered by the electric motors and the optimised turbos, sees the McLaren P1™ reach 300 km/h (186 mph) in just 16.5 seconds. By way of a benchmark, this is a full 5.5 seconds quicker than the legendary McLaren F1. Top speed is electronically limited to 350 km/h (217 mph).

Despite these impressive figures, the McLaren P1™ still returns 34.0 mpg (8.3 l/100km) on the EU combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 194 g/km. The electric motor offers a range of 11 km (6.8 miles) in full electric mode on the NEDC cycle, which sees emissions drop to zero.

The braking figures are equally as impressive for the McLaren P1™, with the levels of performance provided by the bespoke Akebono system. The specially formulated carbon ceramic discs, coated in silicon carbide, can bring the McLaren P1™ to a halt from 62 mph (100 km/h) in a distance of just 30.2 metres. This figure is even more impressive when compared to the recognised stopping distances, which suggests that more than three times the distance – 102 metres – is required to bring a car to a halt from 100 km/h (62 mph).

An overview of the performance figures for the McLaren P1™ is as follows:

In a year of celebration for McLaren, this week has seen another significant milestone in an important chapter of McLaren Automotive with the first customer delivery of the groundbreaking McLaren P1™. Series production of the latest addition to the McLaren range commenced over the summer, and the first car, finished in a striking Volcano Yellow and contrasting visual carbon fibre, rolled off the bespoke production line at the end of September – a fitting tribute during the month of the 50th anniversary celebrations.

The first example of the McLaren P1™ was collected from the McLaren Technology Centre by its UK-based owner.

“We designed the McLaren P1™ from the outset with one clear goal: to be the best driver’s car on road and track. The confirmation of the performance figures underlines this.

“I am very proud of our Woking based team and everything they have achieved with this ambitious project.  The handover of the first McLaren P1™ is another milestone in our 50 year history,” commented Mike Flewitt, CEO, McLaren Automotive Ltd.

The production process

A total of 375 examples of the McLaren P1™ will be produced, and will be hand-built in the state-of-the-art McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, England. This £40 million Foster + Partners designed facility is an ultimate embodiment of McLaren values, fusing precise production techniques with hand craftsmanship and incredible attention to detail.

The McLaren P1™ is custom-built by a carefully selected team of 82 technicians in a four-stage assembly process. From start to finish, the build takes 17 days of skilled work. Once running at full capacity, the McLaren P1™ line will see one car completed each day, with production due to run until mid-2015.

Stage 1: Structural Assembly

The bespoke manufacturing process commences with the preparation of the carbon fibre MonoCage chassis. The one-piece MonoCage weighs just 90kgs, and includes the integrated roof structure, an integral roof snorkel and air intake ducts, as well as providing a fully sealed compartment for the battery.

Stage 2: Painting

In total the McLaren P1™ consists of seven lightweight panels, all of which are made from carbon fibre – front and rear clamshells, bonnet, doors, front and rear bumpers. Due to the extended painting processes involved, and to minimise disruption to the facility within MPC used for the 12C and 12C Spider, each McLaren P1™ is prepared and hand painted in a dedicated paintshop in the McLaren Technology Centre while the chassis structure is being prepared.

The complete set of body panels for each McLaren P1™ is painted together to ensure a perfect colour match. This process takes three days, including surface preparation of the carbon fibre panels to ensure flawless paintwork on every single car.

Stage 3: Trim Assembly

The fully prepared carbon fibre MonoCage chassis and the hand-painted carbon fibre body panels are brought together on a dedicated production line within the MPC. This ten-stage process is the most recent addition to the MPC, and sees the sub-assembly of battery, front sub-frame, doors, rear clamshells and bumpers fitted as it moves along the line.

Two dedicated McLaren technicians work on each of the production stages for the McLaren P1™, with each step taking a full working day to complete.

Stage 4: Final Assembly

As each car reaches the end of the McLaren P1™ line, it is then subjected to the same rigorous testing regime and sophisticated quality control procedures as the 12C and 12C Spider models to ensure it meets the required quality and performance levels. This phase of production takes a total of seven days to complete.

For the McLaren P1™, this includes a full day shakedown at a proving ground, testing every element of the car’s performance. The McLaren test drivers and a team of technicians run through the different settings and modes to examine and verify the performance ahead of final delivery to the customer.

Each example of the McLaren P1™ is then put through the Monsoon Test, in which 16,000 litres of de-ionised recycled water is released on to the car to ensure all seals are correctly finished. A complete underbody check and diagnostics review is then carried out, before the final dispatch audit confirmation.

Triple success for Ford in Sunday Times awards

A hat-trick of Ford models scooped ‘best in class’ honours in the Sunday Times’ annual Top 100 review of Britain’s best cars.

Ford’s three category wins are unprecedented in the Sunday Times Top 100, and build on Ford’s double success last year.

The Sunday Times and its Driving.co.uk website voted Ford Fiesta the best supermini, Ford Fiesta ST number one hot hatch and Ford S-MAX winner of its Multi-Purpose Vehicle category.

The Ford Fiesta, the UK’s top-selling car, has already taken a dozen major UK awards this year.  The Sunday Times said of the Fiesta in Titanium trim with its innovative turbo-powered 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine:  “It’s really very hard to say whether the car’s greater appeal is its looks, or the fact that it is far and away the best car to drive among its rivals. No wonder that ever since it came out, the Fiesta has been Britain's best-selling car.”

Its performance derivative, the Ford Fiesta ST, features a lowered chassis, more aggressive styling and turbo-powered, direct-injection 180PS 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine – a unique combination that takes Ford’s famous dynamics to a new high.

“For people who live in the real world, where budgets are micro-managed and journeys are often long and boring, it’s possible this Ford could be the most significant hatchback of recent years,” concluded the Sunday Times.  “Fast, comfortable and frugal, it is the best of all worlds wrapped up in a car that costs less than any number of rivals.”

The stylish Ford S-MAX has sold more than 6,000 units in the first nine months of this year, proving its unique character as the most sporty seven-seater available. The Sunday Times said:  “The S-MAX is unique among cars of this type. Why? Because ever since it was launched in 2006 it has been both a first class people carrier and a genuinely rewarding car to drive ─ something that no other MPV has managed.”

Ford’s new small MPV, the B-MAX, also impressed, taking second place within a year of going on sale:  “Just as the S-MAX calls the shots among large MPVs, so the B-MAX does at the other end of the category.”

Mark Ovenden, Ford Britain chairman and managing director, said:  “We are proud that Ford has earned so many Sunday Times Top 100 accolades, reflecting some of the many stars in our best-ever product range.  The UK team and its dealers appreciate this huge endorsement from the Sunday Times.”

Latest A8 hits the salesroom starting at £58k

Flagship Audi featuring a host of technological advances and engine upgrades becomes available for UK ordering

  • New generation A8 range now available to order priced from £58,800 OTR – first UK deliveries in January 2014
  • Even more power, greater fuel efficiency for the majority of models – all now comply with EU6 emissions regulations
  • Increased use of cylinder on demand technology
  • Unique new MatrixBeam LED headlights improve safety

Confirmation of UK pricing this week has paved the way for even more elegant, more technologically sophisticated and more fuel efficient new generation Audi A8 models to plot a course for the UK. Available to order now starting at £58,800, and due to arrive here in January, the latest Audi luxury flagship range combines revisions to its weight-optimised, predominantly aluminium Audi Space Frame (ASF) body with a raft of technological advances including new MatrixBeam LED headlights and an upgraded line-up of EU6-compliant engines.  

Subtle resculpting of the bonnet, the single frame grille, the bumper and the lower edge of the headlight units has sharpened the frontal view of the new generation A8. At the rear, the design of the LED tail lamps has been revised and the bumper in all models bar the S8 now incorporates two rhomboid tail pipes. New chrome elements, new high gloss black window surrounds and five new colours also mark out the updated car.

The visual appeal, visibility and active safety of the new generation A8 can also now be enhanced by new headlights employing MatrixBeam Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology which sets new benchmarks.

The high-beam function in these unique headlights uses 25 individual LEDs per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation. This enables the headlight system to react extremely precisely to other vehicles while always brightly illuminating the road. When the on-board camera detects other vehicles ahead, the Audi MatrixBeam LED headlights mask the relevant sections of the high-beam by dimming or shutting off individual diodes. Very bright illumination is preserved in the remaining zones.

The lighting system in the A8 uses predictive route data from the navigation system with MMI Touch to adjust the distribution of light in response to the current driving situation, and can recognise and act on route data, such as corners and road classifications.

New dynamic indicators boost safety

Additional features of the new headlights are the intelligent cornering lights, new-look daytime running lights and dynamic indicator lights, the latter comprising blocks of LEDs arranged in a strip which are sequentially illuminated at 20 millisecond intervals, from the inside outwards, in the desired turning direction. This ‘sweeping function’ makes it even clearer to surrounding road users that the A8 is about to turn.

The even sleeker new standard and long wheelbase bodies house a choice of seven petrol and TDI engines linked to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission, all of which now comply with forthcoming EU6 emissions regulations, and the majority of which have been revised to improve performance and efficiency. The supercharged 3.0 TFSI petrol engine is boosted from 290PS to 310PS, the V8 twin-turbo 4.0 TFSI moves from 420PS to 435PS and now incorporates fuel-sparing Cylinder on Demand technology, the highly efficient 3.0 TDI increases from 250PS to 258PS and the 4.2 TDI gains 35PS, taking it to 385PS. Its already mighty torque output is also increased by 50Nm to a prodigious 850 Nm (626.93 lb-ft).

Thanks to significant modifications to components such as the injection and exhaust gas recirculation systems and the turbocharger, and the integration of an active exhaust gas aftertreatment system using AdBlue exhaust treatment solution, both TDI engines are now classified as ‘clean diesels’.

Cylinder on demand now also for W12

The luxuriously equipped Audi A8 L W12 quattro with its 6.3-litre, 500PS petrol engine continues to occupy the top rung in the A8 line-up. It boasts best-in-class combined fuel consumption of  24.1 mpg, corresponding to 270 grams CO2 per kilometre, thanks in part to a newly adopted version of the cylinder-on-demand system developed especially for this model. At low loads, it deactivates the fuel injection and ignition for six cylinders.

The 520PS S8 fulfils a different brief as the ultimate Audi sports saloon. Its 4.0 TFSI engine blasts it from 0 to 62 mph in 4.1 seconds, yet cylinder on demand technology also permits up to 29.4 mpg, corresponding to 225 grams CO2 per kilometre.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a technology that is now also employed in the A8 4.0 TFSI quattro, the A8 L W12 quattro and the A8 hybrid, ensures excellent acoustic comfort by using precise antiphase noise to combat intrusive noise in the cabin while cylinders are deactivated. Active engine mounts also dampen vibration.

At the other end of the spectrum, the overtly efficiency-focused A8 hybrid combines a 2.0 TFSI engine and electric motor to produce a system output of 245PS and system torque of 480 Nm (354.03 lb-ft). The lithium-ion battery in the rear enables purely electric driving at up to 62 mph with a range of roughly 1.9 miles. Available in standard and long-wheelbase body styles, the A8 hybrid returns up to 44.8mpg and as little as 144 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

The saloon owes its sporting character as much to its sophisticated chassis as to its responsive engines and its lightweight shell. The Audi drive select system, which adjusts the operating characteristics of various controls and functions, is standard. It also influences the standard adaptive air suspension, which is available with sport settings on request. The power steering uses an efficient electromechanical drive, and can be enhanced by a dynamic steering option which varies boost as a function of the speed driven. Carbon fibre ceramic brake discs are available for V8 models and the A8 L W12 quattro. These can also now be combined with new high-tech 20-inch alloy wheels with high-strength polymer spokes.

In the lavishly trimmed and very comprehensively equipped interior, customers can choose from a new range of upholstery and inlays in new colour schemes. Additions include the woods Fine grain poplar brown-silver and Fine grain ash brown-gold natural as well as the leather Unicum, which is particularly natural-looking, soft and breathable.

Enhanced specification for UK models

In the UK, the A8 is offered with a choice of three specification levels – SE, SE Executive and Sport Executive – all of which not surprisingly already include the many luxuries expected at this level. SE models have now been further enhanced by 18-inch alloy wheels in a new design, electromechanical power steering and all-LED headlights with a high-beam assist function. The lighting and steering upgrades carry over into the SE Executive variants, while the top ranking Sport Executive models gain the new MatrixBeam LED headlights and Mobile Phone Preparation – High with Audi connect. This feature brings internet-based services such as Google Earth, Google Street View and online traffic information to the car, and also establishes a wi-fi hotspot for connection of multiple handheld devices to the internet.

Particularly indulgent interior options include a Bang & Olufsen audio system, front seats with ventilation and massage settings, relaxation seats with powered footrests, electrically adjustable, individual rear seats, a continuous, leather-covered centre console (exclusively for A8 L models) and power-assisted door closure. The Audi exclusive personalisation range offers additional options for particularly discerning customers.

On a more practical footing, the options list also includes an advanced new ‘Technology wheel’, which through silicone foam bonding of a forged alloy for the inner section and injection moulded, impact-resistant plastic for the outer cladding, reduces the weight of each wheel by around 25 per cent, or approximately 4.4kg to boost agility and efficiency still further.

The portfolio of advanced optional assistance systems has also expanded to include Audi active lane assist, which makes slight steering adjustments when necessary, the park assist system with 360° display, which handles steering when parking, and the head-up display, which projects important data in the driver's field of vision on the windscreen. The night vision assistant can now also recognise larger animals in addition to pedestrians.

The new generation Audi A8 – UK OTR Pricing

Sunday, 20 October 2013

2014 Alfa MiTo available to order in the UK now.

  • New model year Alfa MiTo now on sale in the UK priced from £14,350 OTR
  • Highlights include revamped interior and new 105hp TwinAir engine
  • Streamlined model range with new colours and more equipment
  • Uconnect™ five-inch, colour touchscreen infotainment system as standard

The 2014 Alfa MiTo has gone on sale in UK offering customers higher specification, revised interiors, subtle styling enhancements and even more advanced technologies, including the Uconnect™ five-inch, colour touch-screen infotainment system as standard equipment and the addition of the new 105hp TwinAir engine to the range.

Externally the 2014 MiTo benefits from a new, chromed front grille; titanium grey headlamp and tail lamps surrounds; tinted rear windows and a sports rear bumper, as well as a revised colour palette that now includes a new “Matte Magnesio Grey” finish.

The interior is thoroughly revised with new dashboards, upgraded plastics and a new Uconnect™ five-inch, touch-screen infotainment system with voice recognition, Bluetooth, steering wheel remote controls, USB/Aux ports and optional satellite navigation.

A comprehensive array of traction, braking and stability control systems is standard on all Alfa MiTo models and these systems, along with steering effort and throttle response, can be adjusted via Alfa Romeo’s trademark ALFA D.N.A. three-mode selectable driving mode system. Where fitted, ALFA SDC adaptive suspension and ALFA TCT transmission settings are also adjustable via the ALFA D.N.A. system.

The model line-up has been streamlined with four trim levels now available: Sprint, Distinctive, Sportiva and Quadrifoglio Verde (QV). In addition to the features listed above, all models are equipped with Start& Stop; air conditioning; a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob; electric windows and mirrors; seven airbags; front fog lamps, a rear spoiler and alloy wheels.

“Distinctive” highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels; cruise control; rear parking sensors and a front centre arm rest, while “Sportiva” includes 18-inch QV sports alloy wheels; a QV steering wheel and hand-brake lever (trimmed in black leather with green stitching); satin-effect exterior highlights and special badges. The high-performance QV adds red, four-piston Brembo brake callipers, SDC active suspension system, bespoke sports seats with uprated upholstery and special QV wing badges.

The MiTo engine range now comprises five turbo-charged engines, all with Start&Stop as standard – three petrol and two diesel units. The 0.9 TwinAir Turbo engine benefits from a 20hp boost in performance – now 105hp – which translates to a 0-62mph time that’s 1.1 seconds faster than the previous 85hp version. Despite the additional performance, the MiTo TwinAir remains impressively efficient, with a combined fuel economy figure of 67.3 mpg and CO2emissions of just 99g/km.

The 1.4 TB MultiAir 135hp (available with a manual or the Alfa TCT twin dry clutch transmission) and the 1.4 TB MultiAir 170hp QV engine complete the petrol line-up, while the diesel range consists of the 1.3 JTDM-2 85hp and the 1.6 JTDM-2 120hp powerplants.

Prices for the 2014 Alfa Romeo MiTo start at £14,350 for the 105hp TwinAir Sprint.


Paceman and Countryman comes with new Black finish

  • Striking body colour available in limited edition for the MINI Countryman and the MINI Paceman - elaborate surface treatment highlights the powerful proportions of the two models.

MINI is extending its program of exterior paint finishes for current models to include an exclusive new variant. Frozen Black metallic paint is now available as a limited edition colour for the top of the range MINI Countryman and MINI Paceman models. This innovative paint which has a textured, shimmering matt finish, gives the car a striking and expressive appearance. The new colour and finish is available for the MINI Cooper S Countryman, MINI Cooper SD Countryman, MINI Cooper S Paceman, MINI Cooper SD Paceman, MINI John Cooper Works Countryman and MINI John Cooper Works Paceman.

The Frozen Black metallic paint finish is created using a complex manufacturing process exclusive to the BMW Group. This special painting procedure, which involves not just innovative technology but also a high level of manual craftsmanship, is now being applied for the first time by Austrian production partner Magna Steyr in Graz where the MINI Paceman and MINI Countryman are produced. The special surface treatment encompasses the base layer for grip and corrosion protection, the colour layer as well as the clear lacquer finish which has added silicates to create the matted impression as well as the velvet effect which can be seen and felt.

Attached exterior parts such as the model-specific front and rear aprons and the exterior mirror caps are finished separately in the paint finish Frozen Black metallic. Due to the labour intensive process used to apply this exclusive body colour during production it is limited to a restricted number of cars.

Frozen Black metallic is of the same high quality as the other paint finishes available for MINI in terms of abrasion resistance and colour fidelity. The finish is completely weather resistant and car wash resistant, however hand washing does require special care as spot cleaning of the surface using wax or polish can leave an unwanted gloss effect. For this reason the BMW Group offers care products developed specially for treating the Frozen Black metallic paint finish.

Alfa Romeo breaks Nurburgring record with stunning 4C Supercar

  • New Alfa Romeo 4C supercar completes a lap of the Nordschleife in just 8 minutes 04 seconds
  • The lap time represents a new all-time record for all cars with engines producing less than 250hp
  • Performance is in line with times set by sports cars with much higher prices and more powerful engines
  • More than 250hp/tonne, 4.5 seconds from 0 to 62mph, 137hp/litre and 1.2g of deceleration: Alfa Romeo 4C guarantees even the most expert driver extraordinary performance and sensations
  • The supercar was shod with special Pirelli Zero Trofeo tyres, the most sporty version in the Pirelli P Zero line, also type‐approved for road use on the German track
The new Alfa Romeo 4C has lapped the legendary Nordschleife at the historic Nürburgring circuit in Germany in a record-breaking time of 8 minutes 04 seconds, the fastest time of cars with engines under 250 HP and in line with times set by sports cars with much higher prices and more powerful engines. Driver, journalist and Nordschleife expert Horst von Saurma was behind the wheel when the record lap-time was set on September 12, 2013.

The test conducted at the ‘Green Hell’ in Germany is one of the countless tests that the Alfa Romeo supercar had to face in every part of the world, from the ‐35°in Sweden to the +40°of Abu Dhabi; from the Arizona (USA) deserts to the slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily and from the Balocco test track in Italy track, where all Alfa Romeos have been developed, perfected and tested since 1962, to the one at the Nürburgring.
Used by car manufacturers the world over as a test and development track, the Nordschleife offers a unique configuration that alternates slow and fast curves, as well as straight stretches and undulations, to make it an outstanding testing ground for determining the soundness of a project.

In short, the 'Green Hell' proved to be the ideal place to put the performance features of the Alfa Romeo 4C to the test. This true, uncompromised driving machine delivers its best on the track, where speed, short braking distances and transverse acceleration are essential to get first‐rate lap times:  0 to 62mph in 4.5 seconds; 160mph of top speed; deceleration peaks in the range of 1.2 g; lateral acceleration peaks of over 1.1g and optimum weight distribution ‐40% over the front axle and 60% over the rear, not to mention a power-to-weight ratio of over 250hp per tonne, values worthy of true supercar.

In addition to its superb agility and phenomenal grip, credit must also be apportioned to the new 240hp 1750 Turbo Petrol engine, the latest‐generation 'ALFA TCT' dry twin clutch gearbox and the advanced Alfa D.N.A. selector with its newly-introduced “Race” mode. The new four-cylinder 1750 Turbo Petrol - with direct injection at 200 bar and an aluminium block - sets new records for torque and specific power for this size of engine, at over 200 Nm/litre (147.5 lb ft/litre) and 137hp/litre respectively, while maximum power of 240hp is reached at 6,000 rpm. The maximum torque of 350Nm (258 lb ft) ensures extraordinary elasticity and sportiness since it is maintained constant between 2,100 and 4,000 rpm with 80% of the torque already available from just 1,800 rpm.

Also contributing to the Alfa Romeo 4C's performance at the Nürburgring were the special Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tyres, the sportiest version in the Pirelli P Zero line. A record was set not only on the track, but also in the development of the tyres: It took less than one year of collaboration between Pirelli and Alfa Romeo engineers to develop of the best solution for guaranteeing grip and precision while driving of the Alfa Romeo 4C. These special 'AR' P Zero tyres, available in two sizes, 17" front and 18" rear or 18" front and 19" rear, ensure grip, performance, sportiness and precision. The 'AR Racing' tyres, offered only in 18" front and 19" rear sizes, have been developed not only with road driving in mind, but also for use on the track.

Green Car Journal names five finalists for Green Car of the Year award.

 Green Car Journal has identified its five finalists for the magazine's high-profile 2014 Green Car of the Year® program. The five 2014 models include the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla. These five finalists are also honored as Green Car Journal's"Top 5 Green Cars for 2014" and earn the magazine's "Green Car Product of Excellence" honors.

An increasing number of vehicle models are considered for the Green Car of the Year® program each year, a reflection of the auto industry's expanding efforts in offering new vehicles with higher efficiency and improved environmental impact. Green Car Journal has been honoring the most important "green" vehicles every year at the LA Auto Show, since its inaugural award announced at the show in 2005.

"The diversity of this field of finalists illustrates not only that 'green' has gone mainstream, but also that there is no single approach to achieving ever higher levels of fuel efficiency and environmental performance," says Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. "There's something for everyone in this year's field of finalists, including clean diesel, high efficiency gasoline, and hybrid/plug-in hybrid power featured in mainstream, sporty, and executive models."

Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Availability to the mass market is a factor to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact, and finalists must be available for sale by January 1st of the award year.

Green Car of the Year® jurors include auto enthusiast and Tonight Show host Jay Leno, plus leaders of the nation's major environmental organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA. Green Car Journal editors round out the 2014 Green Car of the Year® jury.

The Finalists:

Audi A6 TDI

Audi's 2014 A6 TDI blends excellent "green" credentials with unexpected levels of performance in a high efficiency vehicle. Its 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder TDI clean diesel engine with tiptronic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive provides 240 horsepower and 428 lb-ft torque, achieving 0-60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. A start-stop system aids efficiency, as does a lightweight body that makes extensive use of aluminum body panels. This sedan features an EPA estimated 38 highway mpg that enables over 700 miles of highway driving range.

BMW 328d

Featuring the first 4-cylinder BMW diesel engine in the U.S., the new 328d combines exceptionally high fuel efficiency with the performance expected of BMW models. EPA estimated 45 mpg highway fuel economy is achieved with this sedan's 2.0-liter TwinPower clean diesel powerplant, which produces 180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft torque. Efficiency is enhanced with engine auto start-stop and brake energy regeneration. A 328d Sports Wagon is also available. The models are offered in rear wheel drive or with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system.

Honda Accord

Honda's popular Accord sedan aims to lead in the efficiency space with an array of efficient powerplant choices including four-cylinder, V-6, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions. Even the V-6, the largest engine option, nets 34 highway mpg with the four-cylinder rated at up to 36 highway mpg. The bar raises considerably with the Accord Hybrid at 50 city and 47 highway mpg, and the Accord Plug-In with its 47 city and 46 highway mpg on hybrid power. The Plug-In also offers an EPA rating of 115 MPGe, the highest of any mid-size hybrid sedan in the country.


The all-new third generation Mazda3, this automaker's best-selling model worldwide, is lighter, more efficient, and packed with advanced electronics. The 2014 Mazda3 features an appealing new design and has been built from the ground-up with Mazda's award-winning SKYACTIV technology. The 2.0-liter powered Mazda3 four-door sedan offers best-in-class 41 mpg highway fuel economy, with the five-door hatch coming in at up to 40 mpg. A more powerful 2.5-liter engine with an i-ELOOP capacitor-based regenerative engine braking system gets 38 mpg.

Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla has long been a best-seller due to its blend of efficiency and affordability. With the all-new 2014 Corolla, Toyota adds visual excitement, improved driving dynamics, and even greater efficiency to its popular compact sedan, achieving up to 42 highway mpg delivered by the model's Eco version. This level of efficiency is achieved with a 1.8-liter, 140 horsepower engine featuring the first use of Toyota's Valvematic technology in this country. A driver selectable ECO function moderates acceleration and optimizes on-board systems to enhance mpg.

About Green Car of the Year®

The GCOY award is an important part of Green Car Journal's mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. Since 1992, Green Car Journal has focused on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment. Today, the magazine is considered the premier source of information on high fuel efficiency, low emission, advanced technology, and alternative fuel vehicles. CarsOfChange.com presents 'green car' articles online along with a focus on infotainment and connectivity. Green Car of the Year® is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc.

About the Los Angeles Auto Show and Connected Car Expo

Founded in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show is the first major North American auto show of the season each year.  Press Days for the 2013 LA Auto Show® will be held on Nov. 20 and 21. The show will be open to the public Nov. 22 - Dec. 1. The Connected Car Expo (CCE) will be the first expo to unite automotive and technology professionals in an effort to increase development and foster relationship-building in the connected car industry, providing attendees with access to the key players and top media constructing the future of the connected car. CCE will debut on Nov. 19, and continue in conjunction with the 2013 LA Auto Show Press Days.  The LA Auto Show is endorsed by the Greater L.A. New Car Dealer Association and is operated by ANSA Productions. To receive the latest show news and information, follow LA Auto Show on Twitter at twitter.com/LAAutoShow or via Facebook at facebook.com/LosAngelesAutoShow and sign up for alerts at www.LAAutoShow.com. For more information on CCE please visit www.connectedcarexpo.com.

Volvo develops better battery packs to power new generation of cars.

Volvo Car Group has developed a revolutionary concept for lightweight structural energy storage components that could improve the energy usage of future electrified vehicles. The material, consisting of carbon fibres, nano structured batteries and super capacitors, offers lighter energy storage that requires less space in the car, cost effective structure options and is eco-friendly.

As part of an EU-funded research project, including nine other major participants, Volvo Car Group was the only car manufacturer in the project. The project identified a feasible solution to the heavy weight, large size and high costs associated with the batteries seen in hybrids and electric cars today, whilst maintaining the efficient capacity of power and performance. The research project took place over 3.5 years and is now realised in the form of car panels within a Volvo S80 experimental car.

The breakthrough

The answer was found in the combination of carbon fibres and a polymer resin, creating a very advanced nanomaterial, and structural super capacitors. The reinforced carbon fibres sandwich the new battery and are moulded and formed to fit around the car’s frame, such as the door panels, the boot lid and wheel bowl, substantially saving on space. The carbon fibre laminate is first layered, shaped and then cured in an oven to set and harden. The super capacitors are integrated within the component skin. This material can then be used around the vehicle, replacing existing components, to store and charge energy.

The material is recharged and energised by the use of brake energy regeneration in the car or by plugging into a mains electrical grid. It then transfers the energy to the electric motor which is discharged as it is used around the car.

The breakthrough showed that this material not only charges and stores faster than conventional batteries can, but that it is also strong and pliant.

The results so far

Today, Volvo Car Group has evaluated the technology by creating two components for testing and development. These are a boot lid and a plenum cover, tested within the Volvo S80.

The boot lid is a functioning electrically powered storage component and has the potential to replace the standard batteries seen in today’s cars. It is lighter than a standard boot lid, saving on both volume and weight.

The new plenum demonstrates that it can also replace both the rally bar, a strong structural piece that stabilises the car in the front, and the start-stop battery. This saves more than 50% in weight and is powerful enough to supply energy to the car’s 12 Volt system

It is believed that the complete substitution of an electric car’s existing components with the new material could cut the overall weight by more than 15%. This is not only cost effective but would also have improvements to the impact on the environment.

Volvo Car Group lead the way

Electrified cars play an important role in Volvo Car Group’s future product portfolio and the company will continue to find and develop innovative and advanced technical solutions for the cars of tomorrow.