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.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

New Ford KA five door concept could be sold in Europe !

Ford Motor may sell in Europe the five-door Ka minicar unveiled by company executives in Brazil.

A Ford of Europe spokesman said the automaker has no made a decision on whether to offer the vehicle in Europe but "it's on the shelf for Ford of Europe to draw down if it decides to."

Top Ford executives, including Chairman Bill Ford, were at the company's Camacari plant in Brazil on Wednesday to showcase a concept version of the global Ka five-door hatchback, which will be introduced in Brazil next year.

Eventually, Ford will bring the global Ka to other emerging markets, including China, where more families are amassing the wealth needed to buy their first vehicle.

Speaking to reporters last week in Detroit, Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said the Ka Concept is "one of the most important product programs in the company in the last few years."

In Europe Ford currently sells the second-generation Ka three-door, launched in 2008. The Ka is based on the Fiat 500 and is built in the Italian automaker's factory in Tychy, Poland, alongside the 500. Ten-month sales of the Ka in Europe fell 18 percent to 40,000, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics.

Last year Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell told Automotive New Europe there was no rush to replace the three-door Ka. "Our contract with Fiat goes well into the second half of this decade, so we are not in a hurry," he said.

Premium look

Designed and built in Brazil, the Ka five-door concept is smaller and less expensive than a Ford Fiesta subcompact. The Ka carries Ford's new global design language, which Ford officials believe give their vehicles a premium look. "It makes it look like a much more expensive vehicle for much less," Ford designer Ehab Kavod said. "It's the smallest car we do, but when you look at it, it exudes premium."

Ford said the concept is a "strong precursor" to the production car, offering class-leading fuel economy and a host of useful technologies, including a a docking station to accommodate a smart phone, allowing the driver to view navigation and other features.

Ford expects global sales of small, low-cost cars to grow 35 percent between 2012 and 2017, outpacing the expected 12 percent rise for the industry as a whole. Ford said 44 percent of the market for "sub-B" cars will be in South Asia and South America.

The automaker now feeds this market with its current-generation Ka and Figo, which are built on older, locally tailored vehicle platforms that Ford is increasingly avoiding.

The Ka Concept unveiled in Brazil is part of Ford CEO Alan Mulally's One Ford strategy of building global models that can be sold in countries around the world. Ford is working to commonize its vehicles around the world on a series of core platforms. In doing so, the carmaker hopes to save money on engineering, purchasing commodities and manufacturing.

The Ka Concept follows the Ford EcoSport subcompact SUV that was developed in Brazil for global markets. As well as Brazil, the EcoSport also goes into production in India from next year with sales in Europe starting in the summer.

Ford's first global vehicle under Mulally was the Fiesta in 2008, but developing a global car as small and cheap as the Ka has been a challenge. Ford studied Maruti Suzuki India, Hyundai and Kia and their approach to the global market for small cars, Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said.

Bradford Wernle, Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report


LATEST NEWS - Volkswagen issues recall on 1.68 million vehicles worldwide.

Volkswagen recalls Tiguan for fuse exchange

• Some of the vehicle lights could fail on the Tiguan

• Gearbox oil change with vehicles with DQ200 gearboxes

Within the framework of the continuous monitoring of vehicles in the field, Quality Assurance at Volkswagen AG has found that, in isolated cases, a fuse may trip in the Tiguan, thus resulting in failure of one of the two vehicle light circuits. This in turn causes individual light functions to fail. However, the vehicle's electric circuitry ensures that some lights remain on all around the vehicle. The driver is immediately informed of this on the instrument cluster. Replacing the fuse with one with a tougher surface coating only takes a few minutes. Approximately 800,000 vehicles, which includes 147.000 vehicles in the German market, built between the beginning of 2008 and the middle of 2011, are affected by this global campaign. The relevant vehicle owners will be informed by Volkswagen accordingly.

Within the framework of further quality monitoring in China and Southeast Asia, it has been discovered that, with vehicles with a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DQ200), electric malfunctions could occur in the gearbox power supply if synthetic gearbox oil is used. This applies in particular if the vehicle is subject to a hot and humid climate, coupled with a high proportion of stop & go driving.

Studies have established that using of mineral oil will rectify this problem. To continue to ensure customer satisfaction amongst DSG, Volkswagen has decided to launch global voluntary campaign and to request all customers with a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DQ200) filled with synthetic oil to visit a workshop for an oil exchange. The vehicle owners will be informed by Volkswagen accordingly.

Subaru Forester names Mid Range SUV of the year by 4x4 magazine

  • Subaru Forester wins prestigious award from 4x4 Magazine
  • Judges praise on-road driving characteristics and off-road ability
  • Subaru UK’s best-selling model, the Subaru Forester, has this week been named ‘Mid Range SUV of the Year’ by 4x4 Magazine.

Subjecting the new Forester to a wide range of tests both on- and off-road, 4x4 Magazine awarded the Forester with class honours in one of the hardest-fought categories in its annual ‘4x4 of the Year’ issue.

Commenting on the Forester’s victory, Nigel Fryatt, Editor of 4x4 Magazine, said: “Subaru's latest Forester impressed us both on and off road. This version is fresh, good-looking and a great drive. It has 'good for its class' approach and departure angles and with the automatically controlled X-Mode system, the Forester maintains its competent off-road ability and bad weather credentials. That it is also great to drive on the road is the bonus that grabbed the class victory.”

The all-new Forester went on sale in the UK in May and builds on the model’s established reputation as a tough, likeable and highly capable SUV. At the same time, the new Forester offers improved performance, safety and efficiency and a more spacious and better appointed cabin.

Sales of the Forester are up 75% year on year against 2012. The petrol turbo XT has been in particularly high demand among the Subaru faithful - bucking the trend for strong diesel SUV sales – with its 240ps 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine and clever X-Mode hill descent system. The new model is also available with Subaru’s latest 2.0-litre petrol and diesel Boxer engines, with all versions featuring Subaru’s trademark symmetrical All-wheel drive as standard.

Paul Tunnicliffe, Managing Director of Subaru UK, commented:  “We are delighted with this recognition. The Forester has always been popular with owners who need a car that is highly accomplished off-road but also entertaining on it, and the decision by 4x4 Magazine’s expert judges is testament to the car’s varied abilities. Customers should also take comfort from our enviable reputation for reliability and durability, five-year, 100,000-mile warranty and rock-solid safety credentials.”

To find out more about the Subaru Forester, visit www.subaru.co.uk, or read the full 4x4 Magazine report.

New 308 Chassis gives raft of improvements for future Peugeot products

  • The New 308 is a dynamic tour-de-force, made possible by its outstanding ‘EMP 2’ chassis
  • Design strength makes it possible to be much lighter, thus more efficient
  • Production techniques and build-quality enable size optimisation and future design adaptability

View the New Peugeot 308 from any angle, inside or out, and its pure and contemporary styling is impossible to avoid. But almost every aspect of the hatchback’s audacious design – as well as its compact dimensions, class-leading environmental credentials, innovative PEUGEOT i-Cockpit cabin layout and dynamic drive – can be traced back to one thing.

That vital component is the chassis on which the New 308 is built, the utilisation of its innovative ‘Efficient Modular Platform 2’ (EMP2). It’s the first new Peugeot to benefit from this advanced architecture, a number of designs of which were part of a staggering 116 patented technologies, as were the composite tailgate and rear-floor section panel.

The impact of the EMP2 is most obvious on the overall dimensions of the New Peugeot 308. At 4.25 metres from bumper to bumper, it’s 3cm shorter than the outgoing model. Yet the front overhang has been reduced by a massive 6.3cm, creating a ‘wheel in each corner’ profile and more usable space for front seat occupants and their luggage.

At 420 litres with the rear seats up, the boot of the New 308 is the largest in the segment. In addition, the maximum and minimum adjustability of the driver’s seat has been increased, yet space for rear passengers has been maintained at previous levels. Far from being an impossible magic trick, it’s all due to the innovative EMP2 chassis.

The platform has also been engineered so the New 308 can be a lower and wider vehicle than ever before. The car’s roofline is 40mm closer to the ground than on the predecessor model, and with an increase in track width the centre of gravity is 2mm lower.

The EMP2 chassis has been designed to better accommodate many of the car’s bolt-on components. For example, the right-hand drive pedal box is now a perfect replica of the left-hand drive layout. That’s because the air-conditioning unit behind the dashboard has been repositioned to a more central location when compared with the previous generation car. Such an improvement has only been possible because of the attention to detail which has gone into creating the EMP2 architecture.

One of the features which make the New 308 so desirable is its striking and contemporary PEUGEOT i-Cockpit premium interior. Driver-focused like nothing else in the segment, it offers one of the most technically advanced touch-screen infotainment systems on any new car. The EMP2 platform provides the underpinnings on which everything else is built.

For the future owner of the New 308, the benefits of the EMP2 chassis are obvious. Due to advanced materials and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes – including flexible rolling, hot stamping and laser welding – the car is on average 140kg lighter than the outgoing model.

Coupled with advanced engines and powertrains, the result is segment-leading environmental performance. Depending on the model selected, fuel economy is as high as 91.1mpg with CO2 emissions as low as 82g/km.

The New Peugeot 308 is also an exceptional car to drive, a superbly comfortable place to spend time, and is packed with sophisticated safety and convenience technology. And it’s all because of Peugeot’s EMP2 chassis underpinning the strength of the car.

Needless to say, there is no doubt it will become the foundation for numerous future Peugeot models, each able to offer exceptional eco-motoring, premium features, a sophisticated interior and outstanding handling.

Track only Elise S Cup R added to Lotus range.

Following the success of the Exige V6 Cup and its hardcore sibling the Exige V6 Cup R, the Lotus Elise S is adorned with the Lotus Motorsport magic to present the track-only Elise S Cup R.
Evolving from the 1.6 litre Elise platform, this is the first time the supercharged Elise S’ mid-mounted, transverse, 1.8 litre 2ZR-FE engine has been used in a Cup variant. Priced at £39,125 + VAT and boasting bespoke livery and aerodynamic body kit, the Elise S Cup R showcases the marriage of form and function perfectly so that performance is optimised yet retains its stylish and iconic aesthetic.
Performance is enhanced over the road-going Elise S thanks to a motorsport-specific engine control module (ECM) and a CFD proved aero pack comprising; front splitter, barge boards, winglets, rear diffuser, floor extensions and rear wing. Despite the extra body kit and race-ready additions, Lotus Motorsport manages to maintain the road car’s light weight of just 924 kg. These modifications and the clever manipulation of air-flow to create extra downforce, combined with adjustable damper and springs, reduces lap times by 4 seconds on a 5 km lap over the standard Elise S.
The Lotus S Elise Cup R is eligible for entry to the production class in the 2014 Lotus Cup series which operates under the banners Lotus Cup UK, Lotus Cup Europe, Lotus Cup Italia, Lotus Cup USA, Lotus Cup Japan, Lotus Cup Thailand, Lotus Cup China and Lotus Ladies Cup.  The Lotus Cup is open to all Lotus owners and their Elise, Exige, Evora, 340R and 2-Eleven. To make a statement on some of the best tracks in the world, the Elise S Cup R has a selection of bespoke colour and trim options courtesy of the Lotus Design team.
The Elise S Cup R at a glance:
Enhancements:  FIA Compliant Rollcage ( As previous Cup versions)
FIA Compliant Fire Extinguisher
Motorsport Mapped ECU
Electronic Battery Isolator
6 Point Race Harness (Driver Seat)
Hans Compliant Race Driver's Seat
TrackSpecification Front Tow Eyes
Quick Release Steering Wheel
Body Kit
Brake Pad Upgrade
Single way adjustable Dampers
Motorsport specification triple-pass radiator
Polycarbonate Rear Screen
Forged Alloy Wheels
Options:FIA Fuel Cell
Air Conditioning
Race Passenger Seat (with 4 point race harness fitted)
Ultra-lightweight Motorsport Wheels
Powertrain:All alloy, 1.8 litre DOHC 4 cylinder, dual VVT-i, 16 valve with Magnuson R900 supercharger utilising Eaton TVS™ technology;
Torque:181 lbft / 250 Nm
Transmission:6-speed manual gear box as standard
Suspension:Up Rated TCA Kit
Brakes:Twin-piston fixed aluminium alloy front brake calipers. Single-piston sliding rear brake calipers.  288 mm diameter, 26 mm thick front and rear cast-iron cross-drilled & ventilated brake discs
Wheels:Forged Alloy
Tyres: Yokohama Advan Neova AD07 LTS tyres F: 175/ 55 R16 & R: 225/ 45 R17
Safety systems:Lotus ABS/ EDL

TESLA, welcomed to London with flair and style.

London Store marks the arrival of Model S in the UK, Model S to be priced from £49,900*

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) has now opened its first retail design store in the UK at London’s Westfield Shopping Centre in White City, one of the capital’s most popular shopping destinations. The new store features interactive displays and design studios enabling more and more people to design their own Model S and learn all about the award winning and critically acclaimed electric vehicle.

The opening was marked by Tesla Motors’ Co-Founder and CEO Elon Musk, who hosted a special opening evening for UK customers:

“Tesla is taking the UK market very seriously, and there are more stores and service centres to come. We’re also going to establish a Supercharger network so Model S customers will be able to drive long distances anywhere in the UK using our network for free, forever. The first Supercharger will be energised next quarter and we’ll aspire to have the entire country covered by end of next year. Most importantly, we are hard at work with Right Hand Drive Model S, and we aim to deliver the first one by the end of March 2014.”

See opening video here

Model S and Pricing Announcement for the UK

Model S is the world’s first premium saloon to be built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, meticulously engineered to elevate the public’s expectations of what a premium saloon can be. The five-door premium saloon competes with the top cars in its class in spaciousness, handling and style, yet produces zero tailpipe emissions. Because there is no internal combustion engine or transmission tunnel, the interior of the car allows for additional luggage space in the front of the vehicle and one of the most spacious cabins in its class.

The heart of Model S is its efficiently-packaged electric powertrain that delivers a superior driving experience while setting a new NEDC record for electric vehicle range of 310 Miles. Model S comes with two battery options – 60 kWh and 85 kWh. The battery’s floor-mounted position gives Model S an incredible low centre of gravity and ideal weight distribution for exhilarating performance and superior handling. Model S has many similar features, including immediate responsiveness, instant torque and smooth acceleration that made the Tesla Roadster famous.

Following the launch of the new London Store Tesla has now announced that the official on-the-road price for Model S in the UK will start from £49,900*.

Aside from the competitive starting price of Model S within the luxury saloon segment, there are numerous financial benefits applied to Model S as an electric vehicle that should be considered that  affect the “total cost of ownership”, making Model S even more compelling in the UK. These include incentives such as zero showroom tax, zero Vehicle Exercise Duty (road tax) and exemption from London’s Congestion Charge1. Model S owners can also look to save thousands of pounds in fuel cost over the life of their car with there being no more expensive trips to the petrol station; instead Model S can simply be plugged in and charged from any electrical outlet.

UK residents who purchase Model S as a company car can also benefit from a 0% Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) rate until April 2015, after which the BIK is set to a rate of 5%.  Compared to the standard BIK rates of 24-28% for a typical premium ICE saloon, this incentive helps make Model S even more attractive to corporate clients.

*Price quoted is for the 60kWh Model S after £5000 deduction from the UK Plug-in grant which Model S is eligible (inclusion of Model S in this incentive is in progress)

1.Congestion Charge exemption subject to registration with TFL and £10 annual fee.

Happy Birthday SEAT, 60 years and counting

  • Today marks 60 years since the first SEAT car, a 1400, was produced
  • SEAT 1400 saloon became an instant hit, with 10,000 orders after its debut
  • 98,000 1400 models were produced over a decade
  • SEAT has gone on to produce 16,000,000 vehicles and counting

Yesterday was a very special day for SEAT: exactly 60 years ago to the day, the company’s first car rolled off the production line at its Zona Franca factory in Barcelona. That car was the SEAT 1400, an elegant and luxurious saloon designed in the spirit of the most popular American sedans of the '50s.

SEAT had been established only three years earlier, and had developed the 1400 with a focus on the transport needs of government officials. Initially available as a saloon, SEAT would also create estate, seven-seat and commercial versions of the 1400; Spanish cabbies loved the 1400, and it remained a popular taxi well into the following decade.

With a price tag of 121,875 pesetas (€41,735 or £35,200 today), SEAT initially produced five cars per day, built by a workforce of 925 employees. The rear-wheel drive 1400 was powered by a front-mounted, water cooled 44 PS engine and came equipped with a four-speed manual gearbox.

It wasn’t until June of 1954 that SEAT gave the model its official debut, at the Barcelona Trade Fair. And with petrol rationing in Spain having come to an end in 1953, the company received a staggering 10,000 orders. That allowed SEAT to both increase production and drop the price, reducing it to 117,000 pesetas.

By the end of 1954, SEAT had delivered 945 1400 models, but by the end of the following year, annual production was closer to 3,000, with almost all of the 1400’s components manufactured in Spain. One year later and production had more than doubled, to 7,000 units, and by the end of the following year SEAT was producing 10,000 1400 models annually, with 42 leaving the factory every working day. By that stage the workforce had increased to 5,000.  

Production of the 1400 ended in 1964, with 98,000 cars having been produced in Zona Franca and Spain going from strength-to-strength economically. SEAT was at the forefront of that growth, and remains a key player in the Spanish economy today, designing, developing and manufacturing its cars in the ultra-modern Martorell facility on the outskirts of Barcelona; since 2010, SEAT has invested €35m in the ‘SEAT al Sol’ project, which has reduced factory CO2 emissions by 7,000 tonnes per year using solar panel technology.

Since the launch of the 1400, SEAT has built more than 16,000,000 vehicles, including icons like the 600, the 127, the Ibiza and the Leon. Today the company exports over 80% of its production, and has over 1,800 points of sale worldwide.

2013: a year of significant anniversaries

The SEAT 1400 was replaced by the 1500, which began production 50 years ago in 1963. Ten years later in 1973, its successor, the SEAT 132, came to market. A truly luxurious car, the 132 was the first SEAT to feature an automatic transmission, and later in its lifecycle it became the first available with air conditioning.

Forward another ten years to 1983 and the SEAT Ronda came to market, and ten years after that, SEAT introduced the second-generation Ibiza - the first car ever produced in SEAT's Martorell factory and a model that, now in its fourth generation, remains SEAT’s most popular car.

VW Golf records near 100mpg run on normal road conditions

  • New Volkswagen Golf TDI BlueMotion uses less than three litres per 100 kilometres on the “Think Blue. Eco Ride.”
  • 1,602 kilometres – from Nantes to Copenhagen without refuelling
  • DEKRA-supervised test value shows: actual consumption figures below the standard value are possible

On a DEKRA-supervised test run, the Volkswagen Golf TDI BlueMotion has proved itself to be a real three-litre car. On the trip from Nantes to Copenhagen, the Golf with the 110 PS TDI engine used only 2.92 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres (equivalent to 97 mpg). The distance between the two cities – 1,602 kilometres (995 miles) – was completed on a single 50 litre tank of fuel.

Simon Thomas, Head of Marketing of the Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand: “This is a really impressive result. The trip shows that the interaction between fuel-saving BlueMotion efficiency technology and a well thought-out proactive driving approach allows economy figures that are hard to match.”

The highly varied route of the trip went from Nantes in the West of France, the “European Green Capital 2013”, via Paris, Antwerp, Bremen and Hamburg to the Danish capital Copenhagen, situated on the Baltic, “European Green Capital 2014”. The “Think Blue. Eco Ride.” shows that the standard consumption figure based on the NEDC driving cycle, which is already extremely low at 3.2 litres per 100 kilometres (88.3 mpg) and 85 grams of CO2 per kilometre, can even be beaten. Drivers from the Volkswagen Driving Experience succeeded in reaching a verified value of 2.92 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres in normal traffic over a driving time of 20 hours and 45 minutes. The standard 50-litre tank was filled in Nantes, where it was sealed by a DEKRA inspector. At the end of the trip, 46.92 litres of diesel were filled into the same tank under the supervision of the same inspector.

The Golf TDI BlueMotion is one of the technical highlights of the Golf family. Like all the other Golf models, it has a standard start-stop system and regenerative braking mode. In addition, the perfected aerodynamics, the low weight of the vehicle, the modified six-speed manual gearbox and especially the tires, which have been optimised for low rolling resistance, contribute to the high efficiency of the Golf TDI BlueMotion.

“Think Blue.” Is the internationally-based holistic environmental sustainability strategy of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand. The initiative includes innovative, environmentally compatible products with various powertrain technologies and is intended to encourage people to rethink and join in. Simon Thomas: “Through ‘Think Blue.’, we show that low consumption driving can be combined with driving pleasure. This is why Volkswagen offers fuel saving training in a number of countries, for example ‘Think Blue. Ecotraining’ in cooperation with ‘Naturschutzbund Deutschland in Germany.’”

* 96.74 mpg – converted from 2.92 l/100 km

All new Nissan Qashqai, prices and spec

  • All-new Nissan Qashqai priced from £17,595
  • Premium quality interior, materials and specification
  • Four trim grades: Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium and Tekna
  • Suite of technologies brings maximum convenience, comfort and driver engagement to the crossover segment
  • Outstanding efficiency with CO2 emissions from only 99g/km-132g/km
  • On sale from January 2014
Prices and specifications have been announced for the new Nissan Qashqai – the car that redefines the crossover sector. Combining innovation and exciting technology with intelligent design, the new Qashqai will build on the success of its two-million selling predecessor.

Yet despite setting new standards for technology, comfort and practicality, the Qashqai remains accessible to buyers considering a conventional hatchback or crossover. With prices starting from just £17,595, buyers can benefit from premium quality and some of the most advanced features on the market.
Nissan’s philosophy of bringing premium features to the family car market is tried and tested. The exceptional success of the original model proves that buyers now expect Nissan to deliver sector-first innovations and fresh thinking in every key area.
Four grades – all packed with standard equipment
The new Qashqai, which goes on sale in January 2014, is available in four familiar grades: Visia, Acenta, Acenta Premium and Tekna.
Visia models, priced from £17,595, come with a range of new features including automatic air conditioning, Hill Start Assist, a five-inch colour HD infotainment screen, Chassis Control, TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) and Speed Limiter/Cruise control all fitted as standard.

Acenta models continue the generous theme with a further list of premium features fitted as standard. Priced from £19,145, these include dual-zone automatic air conditioning, premium leather steering wheel and gear knob, 17-inch alloy wheels and a Luggage Board System. Safety equipment includes front fog lamps, auto headlamps and rain-sensing wipers.
Both the Visia and Acenta models come with the option of a Smart Vision Pack (£450) that adds Nissan’s advanced Safety Shield system among other driver aids. Designed to enhance the safety of occupants, the pack incorporates Front Collision Avoidance, Driver Attention Support and Traffic Sign Recognition.
Acenta Premium models start from £20,995 and feature a raft of comfort and safety technologies. These include new-generation NissanConnect infotainment system with DAB radio. A rear view camera is also fitted as standard, along with i-key Start Push Button, parking sensors and a panoramic glass roof. Safety features include Front Collision Avoidance, High Beam Assist and Lane Departure Warning.

Range-topping Tekna models – which start from £23,145 – feature an array of new-to-sector technologies that further highlight Nissan’s lead in the crossover market. For safety, Tekna models benefit from Bi-LED headlamps, Safety Shield with Traffic Signal Recognition and High Beam Assist. 
Tekna models also excel when it comes to design and technology features. All models are equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, part-leather seats, a large glass roof, heated seats, front and rear parking sensors and Intelligent key with engine start button. The latest-generation NissanConnect system is also standard, including a seven-inch touchscreen display, DAB digital radio, Around View Monitor and smartphone connectivity.
A range of supremely efficient and refined petrol and diesel engines allows the new Qashqai to exceed the expectations of drivers no matter which powertrain is chosen.
The line-up consists of four engines: two petrol and two diesel, with the option of two- or four-wheel-drive. Customers can also choose between manual and all-new Xtronic automatic transmissions.

Driving through a six-speed manual transmission, the entry-level 1.2 DIG-T delivers 115PS and generates 190Nm of torque. Despite its modest size, the 1.2-litre engine packs a real punch, offering sharper acceleration and greater flexibility than the outgoing 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine.
Its lower weight and more fuel-efficient operation also mean it is considerably cleaner and more economical than the model it replaces. The 1.2 DIG-T engine emits 129g/km of CO₂ (15g/km less than the outgoing 1.6-litre petrol unit), and has a fuel consumption figure of 50.4mpg.
Like all engines in the new Qashqai range, the 1.2 DIG-T is equipped with Start/Stop ignition as standard.
Set to join the Qashqai range in Autumn 2014, the most powerful petrol engine will be the 1.6 DIG-T engine with 150PS.

With 240Nm of torque on offer, the 1.6 DIG-T delivers impressive low and mid-range pull, with excellent in-gear flexibility. Yet despite its strong performance, the range-topping petrol option retains impressive efficiency. Fuel consumption is 50.4mpg on the EU combined cycle, while CO₂emissions are 132g/km.
The latest evolution of the award-winning 1.5 dCi 110PSdirect injection diesel engine is the cleanest and most fuel-efficient engine ever offered in a Qashqai with CO₂emissions of just 99g/km and an EU combined fuel consumption figure of just 74.3mpg. The sixth-generation 1.5-litre dCi unit is smoother, more efficient and more refined than the outgoing engine. Thanks to a substantial re-engineering programme, the 1.5-litre dCi engine offers greater in-gear flexibility thanks to a 20Nm increase in torque.
Positioned at the top of the Qashqai’s diesel range, the 1.6 dCi 130PSis offered with the option of two- and four-wheel-drive. This unit is one of the most advanced diesel powerplants in its sector, with a number of technical innovations designed to maximise fuel consumption and reduce CO₂ emissions.

In two-wheel-drive manual form, the 1.6 dCi has CO₂ emissions of 115g/km and an EU combined fuel consumption figure of 64.2mpg. The Xtronic automatic version emits 119g/km and returns 61.4mpg, while the four-wheel-drive manual version has figures of 129g/km and 57.6mpg.
New Qashqai – reinventing the crossover
Redesigned from the ground up, the new Qashqai has been created to meet the demands and expectations of next-generation crossover buyers. Using feedback and ideas generated by the two million owners of the first-generation model, Nissan has created a car that perfectly matches form with function.

Every element, from the new cabin that offers more space, higher quality materials, greater practicality, to the new, all-turbocharged engine range that is wider and more efficient than ever, has been rethought, re-engineered and re-imagined.
Designed and engineered in Europe, for Europe, the new Qashqai has been created by Nissan’s experts at Nissan Design Europe (London, UK) and Nissan Technical Centre Europe (Cranfield, UK and Barcelona, Spain), and it will be built in Sunderland, UK. 
Note to editors:
  • For the full new Nissan Qashqai story, please visit www.nissan-live.com/newqashqai
  • See the development of the new Nissan Qashqai brought to life in the first of three innovative Nissan films. “The New Nissan Qashqai by the people who created it – part one” will be released tomorrow, 14/11/2013 at 10am CET.
Equipment summary
4 speakers
Audio w/ CD & USB
Heated body-coloured mirrors incl. directional indicator
Chrome glass surround
16-inch steel wheel
Hill Start Assist
Cruise Control
Speed Limiter
Remote Central Locking
Thatcham Alarm
5-inch Colour TFT Combimeter
LED Signature Daytime Running Lights
Front, Side, Curtain Airbags
Rear folding bench 60/40
Manual Air Conditioning
Stop Start System (ISS)
Tyre repair kit
Visia Smart Vision Pack (+£450 over Visia trim)
Auto anti-dazzling rear view mirror
Traffic Signal Recognition
High Beam Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Front Collision Avoidance
Front and Rear Parking Sensors
Acenta (additional equipment over Visa):
Dual Auto Air Conditioning
Rain sensing wipers
Auto headlights
6 Speakers
17-inch alloy wheel in Silver
Luggage Board System
Front fog lamps w/ chrome ring
Interior Ambient Lighting
Higher grade seat fabric
Rear armrest w/ cupholder
Leather steering wheel & gear knob
Acenta Smart Vision Pack (+£450 over Acenta):
Auto anti-dazzling rear view mirror
Traffic Signal Recognition
High Beam Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Front Collision Avoidance
Front and Rear Parking Sensors
Acenta Premium (additional equipment over Acenta):
New Nissan Connect (with DAB radio and 7-inch colour screen)
Rear View Camera
Panoramic Glass Roof
Privacy glass
Start Push Button
Front Collision Avoidance
Auto anti-dazzling rear view mirror
Traffic Signal Recognition
High Beam Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Front and Rear Parking sensors

Tekna (additional equipment over Acenta Premium):
Roof rails
19-inch Alloy wheels
Bi-LED headlamps
Automatic headlamp leveling
Full Leather seats
Power seats & manual lumbar adjustments
Heated Front Seats
ThermaClear Heated Windscreen
Intelligent Parking Assist
Safety Shield including:
•      Around View Monitor
•      Blind Spot Warning
•      Moving Object Detection
•      Driver Support Assist
New Qashqai price range
OTR includes VAT, first registration fee of £55 and first year VED.

New ECO A-Class and B-Class CDi SE variants give lower CO2 and higher MPG

With the introduction of all-new ECO models, the A 180 CDI ECO SE and B 180 CDI ECO SE, Mercedes-Benz UK now offers even better economy, with CO2 emissions from just 92 g/km.

The ECO SE vehicles, available from January 2014 production, both feature weight-saving measures, powertrain refinements, improved fuel consumption with no impact on performance, and improved aerodynamics, with the A 180 CDI ECO SE offering a class-leading coefficient drag of 0.26.

These practical changes include the use of an aerodynamic grille element, coupled with underbody panelling and lowered suspension (-10 mm front and 15 mm rear for A-Class, and 20 mm at the front and 15 mm at the rear for B-Class).

Both vehicles feature manual transmissions with longer ratios in the higher gears, an improved energy recuperation system and make use of a lightweight fuel tank to save on weight.

Replacing the current A 180 CDI SE and B 180 CDI SE manual variants, CO2 emissions on the A 180 CDI ECO SE have been reduced by six per cent to 92 g/km, with combined fuel consumption increased to 78.5 mpg, compared with 74.3 mpg on the outgoing model. B 180 CDI ECO SE emissions have also reduced to 98 g/km CO2, a reduction of nine per cent, with the combined mpg increasing by eight per cent to 74.3 mpg. Despite the focus on economy, for both models the power, torque, top speed and 0-60 mph acceleration, remains unchanged.

Both vehicles are free from road tax and the Benefit In Kind company car tax band for the A-Class is just 13 per cent, with qualification for 100 per cent capital allowance until 2015.

In addition to the new ECO SE models, the advanced four-wheel drive system first seen on the CLA 250 4MATIC, comes also comes to the A- and B-Class from January 2014.

4MATIC all-wheel drive ensures optimum traction and driving dynamics in all road conditions, with torque ideally distributed between front and rear axles by an electro-hydraulically controlled multi-disc clutch with variable torque distribution, which allows as much as 50 per cent of power to be sent to the rear wheels.

The A 250 4MATIC is available in both AMG Sport and Engineered by AMG trim, with the B 220 4MATIC exclusively in Sport trim.

The A 180 CDI ECO SE is priced from £21,965 on the road, with the B 180 CDI ECO SE from £22,950 OTR. The A 250 4MATIC is available from £28,985 OTR for the AMG Sport trim and £30,905 for the Engineered by AMG trim, whilst the B 220 4MATIC stars at £28,135 OTR.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Classic 1959 Mini barn find - re-Born in the Netherlands.

Car number 983 is back on the road, heralding a revival of MINI production in the Netherlands in the near future. A 54-year-old classic Mini has been fully restored at the VDL Nedcar car manufacturing plant in the town of Born, the precision work lasting around six months. The historic Austin Seven with production number 983 dates back to 1959 and was one of the first examples of the classic Mini to be assembled in the Netherlands. The car was unearthed last year in an old barn in Groningen, ravaged by the passage of time and as such an ideal candidate for the “reBorn” mission.

The classic machine has since been imbued with a fresh injection of sparkle, making it the perfect scene-setter for a new chapter in Dutch-British car making relations. Next year VDL Nedcar will begin production of MINI models under contract; MINI will be the only manufacturer having vehicles series-produced in the Netherlands.

And so MINI is poised to retrace the steps of its historic forebears. Just a few months after its launch in August 1959 – in Morris Mini-Minor and Austin Seven form – the classic Mini found itself an additional birthplace in continental Europe, the Amersfoort-based firm J.J. Molenaar’s Car Companies turning its hand to assembly of the classic Mini between 1959 and 1966. More than 4,000 units were built over this period, using components delivered from the United Kingdom, plus one or two special additions only found in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Among the select group of 30 cars built in that first year in Amersfoort was the Austin Seven now making its post-barn comeback. This may therefore be the oldest example of the Dutch-built classic Mini currently in roadworthy condition; it is absolutely one of the oldest representatives of the brand anywhere in the world. But to top it all, it is a genuine “barn find” having been hidden away in said abode for almost a quarter of a century before being re-discovered and examined by BMW Group Netherlands employees.

The decision to restore the car was taken quickly, aided by the certainty regarding its origins. The car’s chassis and production numbers were easily identifiable and the seats were upholstered – in traditional Dutch style – using real horsehair.

A five-strong team from VDL Nedcar took on the restoration challenge, stripping the classic Mini down to its bare bones before gradually piecing it back together again. The quintet were able to tap into a reliable well of experience and specialist knowledge in the fields of body and engine construction and apply this expertise extensively. The small 34 hp four-cylinder engine  and the gearbox were given a total overhaul and some body parts and the door panels had to be rebuilt by hand.

The restorers used faithful replicas of original parts wherever possible and enjoyed valuable assistance from the MINI Community in tracking them down. The restoration process was documented in full at www.facebook.com/Mini.reBorn1959, and that attracted a flood of helpful tips – not to mention the odd long-lost part – from sources around the world. The classic Mini set off on the first test drive of its second life like it was 1959 all over again; the “reBorn” mission had been accomplished. Another contributory factor in the freshness of the car is its new paintwork in the original shade Farina Grey.

Around 1,500 employees will be responsible for building MINI cars when production starts in Born in summer 2014, and among their number will be the five “midwives” who helped deliver the forgotten Mini back into the world. Their efforts are now concentrated squarely on preparing for the future of MINI production at the plant. But they are given daily reminders of their journey back into the brand’s past as car number 983 – “reBorn” in the Netherlands – looks over them from pride of place in the foyer of the new MINI focused production facility.

New AUDI A3 ready to order now for Spring

Advanced premium compact range adds another string to its bow as soft-top versions open for order in time for April 2014 deliveries

  • A3 Cabriolet available to order now, priced from £25,790 to £32,420 OTR
  • Engines include the ultra-efficient 1.4 TFSI with Cylinder-on-Demand, the powerful 1.8 TFSI and the frugal 2.0 TDI
  • SE, Sport or S line specification available
  • First customer deliveries expected in April 2014

Thoughts of spring 2014 may be fleetingly sprung this week by the news that the all-new A3 Cabriolet has just become available to order in readiness for first deliveries next April. Priced from £25,790 OTR, the latest soft-top A3 takes the recently introduced A3 Saloon as its foundation, meaning that its proportions are now not only more beautifully balanced, but also make provision for complete concealment of the fast-retracting powered fabric hood within the sleek new body. A comprehensive choice of engines and an array of technological innovations adopted from the larger Audi models also transfers from the four-door A3.

A soft but extremely hard-wearing fabric roof stretched over a lightweight kinematic mechanism made of magnesium-steel opens the new Cabriolet to the elements fully automatically in a little under 18 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph, and complements the design of the A3 perfectly. When retracted at the touch of a button, the top – complete with heated glass rear window – rests in a tray that barely affects luggage capacity, which amounts to 275 litres.

A second, even more sound-absorbent acoustic soft top with three-layer inner padding is fitted as standard to UK Sport and S line versions of the new A3 Cabriolet and offered as an option for SE models. It is available in black, grey and brown, and its roof liner can be specified in black or lunar silver. In all versions, an active rollover protection system consisting of two spring-loaded plates that are recessed into the body protects occupants in case of a rollover accident.

In entry level form, the A3 Cabriolet weighs just 1,365 kilograms – around 50 kilograms less than its equivalent predecessor despite its increased dimensions and improved comfort. Even taking into account special reinforcements to maximise torsional rigidity, the body-in-white weighs 30 kilograms less than previously, helped by its aluminium bonnet. Weight has also been significantly reduced in the interior and in the engines.

In common with A3 hatchback models, the new Cabriolet will be available with a choice of SE, Sport or S line specification. Standard equipment at entry level includes the fully automatic hood finished in black, plus 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, the MMI radio incorporating an 11 millimetre-thick powered folding screen, Audi Music Interface iPod connection, DAB digital radio, a Bluetooth interface, preparation for SD card-based navigation and a light and rain sensor package.

Three no-cost suspension options

Sport and S line versions upgrade to the acoustic hood and sit 15mm lower on their respective 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheels thanks to sports suspension. Both can also be equipped at no extra cost with the SE version’s more comfort-oriented standard suspension, while S line models can be taken to the other extreme with S line sports suspension lowered by 25mm and also available at no cost.

Shared Sport and S line features also include sports seats, the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system with five operating modes to fine-tune driving characteristics, dual-zone climate control and a high-resolution colour driver’s information system.

Interior highlights of the S line specification include part-leather-upholstery embossed with the S line logo and an S line sports steering wheel with perforated leather grips and shift paddles where S tronic is fitted.  Outside, 18-inch alloy wheels, S line body styling and xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lamps set the top model apart.

Cylinder-on-Demand technology

In the first phase, the petrol engine range powering the new A3 Cabriolet kicks off with the highly efficient 140PS 1.4 TFSI linked to six-speed manual transmission. It powers the new premium compact soft-top to 62mph in 9.1 seconds, yet achieves up to 56.5 mpg with CO2 emissions of just 114 g/km. A key contributor to this impressive efficiency is Audi Cylinder-on-Demand (CoD) technology, which imperceptibly deactivates two of the engine's cylinders under part-load.

The next step up is the 1.8-litre TFSI, which features impressive headline figures including a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.8 seconds, a top speed of 150mph and a 180PS peak output. Despite the robust performance, state-of-the art technologies including dual injection into the combustion chambers and induction manifold help to maintain a high level of efficiency.

This engine is initially linked exclusively to a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission, which can make further fuel savings by switching into a free-wheeling mode during coasting where the Audi drive select system is fitted and its efficiency mode is selected. According to the combined cycle test this engine and transmission combination is capable of delivering up to 48.7 mpg with CO2 emissions of 133g/km.

The economy champion in the launch range will be the manual transmission-equipped 2.0 TDI with 150PS, offering combined fuel consumption of 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 110g/km. It complements this frugality with an impressive 8.9-second 0-62 mph time and a 139 mph top speed.

From February next year, A3 Cabriolet customers will be able to choose from an extended list of engines, transmissions and drivetrains. Highlights will include the 1.6 TDI, which in other versions of the A3 already delivers up to 74.3mpg with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, and a more powerful version of the 2.0 TDI with 184PS, which will be available with either front wheel-drive or quattro all-wheel-drive. It will also be possible to specify this world-renowned all-weather driving aid in conjunction with the 1.8 TFSI engine, and it will of course feature as standard in the forthcoming 300PS S3 Cabriolet.

The all-new Audi A3 Cabriolet – UK OTR Pricing