Category Archives: News

The New Audi A5

This evening, Audi released the new A5 and S5 coupé to the public in a live stream video. Nine years after its first launch, the A4 based coupe has received a make over both technologically and in design.

Static photo, Colour: Florett Silver

What used to be a sleek and elegant design has now been given the new Audi-look. Even though the new car is 60kg lighter than the outgoing model, it has bolder lines but still has that sporty look to it. The front grill is now flatter and wider and the rear LED lights will get the swooping indicators found on most of Audi’s new models.

Static photo, Colour: Florett Silver

The new A5 will get a choice of two TFSI petrol engines and three TDI diesels. The S5 coupé will get a 3.0 V6 TFSI producing 354hp. A six speed manual and a 7 speed automatic S-Tronic gearbox will be available. The eight speed S-Tronic will be kept for the higher powered diesel and S5 models.

Static photo, Colour: Misano Red

The new car will be longer and wider therefore increasing cabin space for both the driver and occupants. It looks much like the rest of the new interiors, found in the A4, Q7 and TT, but looks very well. The boot space offers 465l, up 10l on the old model.

Cockpit

Interior

Aswell as Driver Select, Audi Connect and a Bang & Olufsen sound system, the new car will become available with the Audi Virtual Cockpit. Standard equipment includes; Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights, LED interior lights, Audi MMI radio plus with 7-inch MMI colour display, Bluetooth and USB charging function, the three-spoke multifunction steering wheel (including shift paddles with the auto gearbox), height-adjustable belt feeds, the Audi drive select dynamic handling system and Audi pre sense city.

The new Audi A5 and S5 Coupé will be launched in Q4 of 2016 with the pricing to be announced later this Summer.

Dynamic photo, Colour: Florett Silver

Mitsuoka Roadster

Do you know or remember Mitsuoka? That ghastly Mark II Jag lookalike based on a Nissan Micra, yes? Well, it has launched its new Roadster to the UK and Irish market. Thanks to a London Mazda dealership, T.W White and Sons, Mitsuoka will be selling its Roadster Classic, Roadster Brooklands and Viewt to UK and Irish customers.

Set up back in 1968, Mitsuoka Motors started off as a second hand car dealership. Susuma Mitsuoka, the CEO then, had a passion for classic cars but felt it cost too much to run them. It was in 1982 that Mitsuoka decided to produce limited quantity cars. The Viewt is the company’s best-selling car to date with over 15,000 units sold.

Mitsuoka-Viewt
Mitsuoka Viewt

The Roadster is based on the third generation Mazda MX-5 and has the same 2.0 litre petrol unit driven by either a manual or automatic gearbox. The Mazda engine produces 160hp and 188Nm of torque. The CO2 figures range from 181 g/km to 188 g/km so will cost, a hefty, €750 per year to tax.

Roadster rear

In theory the car should drive well, being based on an MX-5 but it is also the previous generation MX-5 so won’t have the agility of the new one. Although, I shall reserve judgment on that until (if) I drive one.

Roadster Interior

The pricing on the Roadster starts at £53,800 for the Classic and £56,700 for the Brooklands. Options include Metallic/Pearlescent Paint (£620/€784), Upgraded Alloys (£1,056/€1,336), Wire Wheels (£2,372/€3,001), Burr walnut veneer dashboard (£972/€1,230), parking sensors (£720/€911) and a bespoke leather interior crafted to your specification. Roughly converting the Pound Sterling price to Euro and adding the price of VRT of a 2015 MX5 (Mitsuoka isn’t on the VRT system…), the starting price would be over €74,000. Need I ask the question, a Porsche Boxster or a Mitsuoka Roadster?…

Looks Good to me

Audi SQ7

Have you ever thought that your Audi Q7 just isn’t powerful or baller enough? Well you’re in luck so. Audi’s SQ7 will soon be available to buy in Ireland.

Dynamic photo, Colour: Sepang Blue
Dynamic photo,
Colour: Sepang Blue

From mid-May, You may be able to see the worlds most powerful diesel SUV on Irish roads. The first S model in the Q7 range, Audi claims the 435hp and the 900Nm diesel engine is the worlds most powerful SUV.

Static photo, Colour: Sepang Blue
Static photo,
Colour: Sepang Blue

The new electric turbo, known as an electric powered compressor, is the first of its kind for Audi. The SQ7 is worthy enough of being Audis first car to have this electric turbo. Audi claim that the new turbo will reduce power lag. Audi have also introduced electromechanical active roll stabilisation to the SQ7 to give it sportier handling and to reduce body roll.

Static photo, Colour: Sepang Blue
Static photo,
Colour: Sepang Blue

The starting price of the SQ7 is €119,900 and comes with the same standard equipment as the regular Q7. This is includes; LED headlights, Audi connect, Audi MMI navigation plus, virtual cockpit, and a larger 85-litre fuel tank and 24-litre Adblue tank.

Making the SQ7 stand out, electrically adjustable, heated Valcona leather sport seats with S Logo embossing, 20-inch wheels, and flat-bottomed sports steering wheel will come as standard.

Gumball 3000 – Dublin to Bucharest

Have you ever heard of a little super car event called the Gumball 3000? No? Well its huge! Gumball 3000 2016 starts its journey from Dublin to Bucharest this Saturday. With over 100 cars including Supercars, Hypercars and all round expensive machines, the Gumball 3000 is certain to be an exciting event.

Gumball 2015 AMG GT

Driving the cars are not only very rich people but also pretty famous. David Hasslehoff, Afrojack and Josh Cartu are some of the celebrities that will be waltzing around the streets of Dublin over the next couple of days. Also among the drivers are Youtubers and Carspotters like Shmee150 and Marchettino.

Gumball 2015 Shmee150

Gumball kicks off from Merrion Square in Dublin from 10am on Saturday morning with the cars departing on Sunday morning at 10am for Belfast, from there they will head to Edinburgh. Be sure to check it out, you never know when they’ll be back again!

Did we learn from Diesel Gate?

While scrolling through some car adverts recently, I was noticing a lot of diesels for sale. Not that this is new to me, practically every new BMW 5 series on the road is a 520d. But it got me thinking, did Dieselgate turn anyone against diesels?

I decided to go and do a little bit of research and found some interesting results. The figures below are sales figures from May 2015 to December 2015, the 152 plate.

  • SEAT sold 434 diesels equaling 57.79% of its sales and 371 petrols, 42.21% of sales. This doesn’t seem to bad, no? Thats what I thought, but just wait.
  • Audi sold 1,944 diesels, 91.57% of their sales. 91.57%! This leaves it with 173 petrols sold, only 8.15%.
  • Skoda sold 2,111 diesels, 66.32% of total sales, and 1,072 petrols, 33.68%.
  • I’m saving the mother ship for last, Volkswagen. Volkswagen sold 1,736 petrol cars, 27.92% of sales. It sold 4,474 diesels, equaling to 71.85% of total sales. Four thousand, four hundred and seventy four cars. I should mention, however, that 8 electric/petrol plug in hybrid electric vehicles were sold, only 0.13%.

Although these figures are quite surprising to some, I am not surprised. We, the Irish motorists, were persuaded by the Irish government’s strategy of basing the vehicle tax on the vehicles emission’s. This meant that in 2008, an Audi A4 2.0TDI (diesel) cost €280 per year to tax and a 1.8 TFSI (petrol) cost €570. So it made sense to save the €290.

But it was in mid 2015 that the buyers of these diesels had realised that they had made quite a big mistake, through no fault of their own however. Volkswagen reported that more than 15 million of its cars, including Audi, Skoda, SEAT and VW, had been programmed with software that when the car was being tested for emissions it would give a false figure, much lower than the actual figure. So therefore, VW cheated on their emissions.

Recently, Volkswagen published news that it had a €1.4bn (after tax) loss in 2015. This is compared to an €11bn (after tax)profit 2014. Are Volkswagen worried about this loss? Most definitely not. It is one of, if not the, most powerful car manufacturers in the world. It has €24.4bn in liquid assets, €1.4bn means nothing to it. It has set aside €16.2bn to deal with the cars affected by the diesel gate. So if this loss in 2015 doesn’t worry the company, what is it worried about? Reputation. It should be worried that if sales keep falling, that this €1.6bn could turn into €16bn.

The forward thinkers among us will have already come to the conclusion that diesel is on its way out, and you would be right. VW are improving its electric and hybrid systems with new cars coming out almost every year. The Golf, for example, has 2 electric variants; the e-Golf and the GTE. The Passat also has a GTE variant. Moving away from VW for a second, Toyota offer every car in its range as a hybrid. It is the only car company to offer diesel, petrol and hybrid/electric on each car in its line-up. Although almost 60% of its sales in 2015 were diesel, they push its hybrid technology more and more. Take Lexus for example, Toyota have been doing hybrid technology for years.

So the question still remains, have we learned from Dieselgate? From the way things going, no. Volkswagen Ireland has sold 8,555 cars this year, 6,139 of which have been diesel. Are Irish consumers putting their trust into diesel again? Are they just so tempted by the, slightly, lower cost of tax?

Let me know:

  • Are you a diesel car driver? Why?
  • Would you buy a diesel again? Why?

2016 Mercedes E-Class – Launch

Mercedes launched the E-Class to the Irish Press yesterday. Priced from €50,550, it may be appealing to a lot of Irish buyers.

With expectations to pass BMW in 2016 and claiming to have passed Audi last year as Irelands highest selling premium brand, Mercedes hope to continue to sell the E-Class as their best selling model.

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Three trim levels will be available – Avantgarde, Exclusive and AMG Line. Prices for the E220d will start from €52,850 and €50,550 for the E200d, arriving later this year. An estate model will also be available from July onwards, just in time for the 162 registrations. The car will only be available with a 9-speed automatic.

The E220d is €850 cheaper than the outgoing model but has €7000 worth of extras as standard. This includes full leather interior, 64 colour ambient lighting, keyless start, sat nav, reversing camera, parking pilot, Comfort Seat pack with heated seats and Dynamic Select.

Coming soon – Our first drive in the new Mercedes E-Class 220d AMG Line with Nightpack.

Ian

Audi A3 – Facelift

One of Audis best selling  cars is the A3. Now into its third generation, the A3 has received another facelift.

Dynamic photo, Colour: Tango Red
Dynamic photo,
Colour: Tango Red

The A3 has been given the A4/R8 treatment so now it looks like its more mature siblings. The headlights are flatter, with distinctive outer contours.

Though, the biggest update to the A3 is the new 1.0 petrol engine. It will be given a 1.0 TFSI, 3-cylinder engine with a 115hp and 200Nm output. This could be the pick of the bunch for the updated A3.

Static photo, Colour:Tango Red
Static photo,
Colour:Tango Red

Now also available in the A3 is the virtual cockpit. Read about my experiences of the virtual cockpit in the A4. A new 7-inch display is as standard now and can be equipped with MMI Navigation or MMI Navigation plus. By equipping the on-board internet, users can use navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View traffic information in real time. They can also see real time info on parking, destinations, news or the weather.

The facelift A3 is due to go on sale in August.

Static photo, Colour: Ara Blue
Static photo,
Colour: Ara Blue

Volkswagen up! – Geneva Motor Show 2016

Many exciting things are due to arrive at the Geneva Motor Show 2016. It takes place from the 3rd-13th of March and will hold exhibits from over 150 exhibitors.

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But from Volkswagen, they have announced a new up!. The up! is the brands supermini which rivals the likes of the Skoda Citigo, SEAT Mii, (Well, they’re actually all the same car), the Opel Karl and the Hyundai i10.

220216-vw-ie-a

But the new up! is given a new 90hp engine and there are hints of electric varieties in there too. Could be step closer to a hot supermini, an up! GTI or even an up! GT?

Der neue Volkswagen up!
Although we could be waiting a while for these versions, VW have given us a Cross and a 2 seater version. They have also spruced it up a bit by adding new exterior paint colours, seat fabrics, dashpads and decals, all giving the up! and individual feel. Occupants can now use more features on the infotainment system allowing access to Sat Nav, music and vehicle data when used with the Volkswagen app. Something else we’re particularly interested by is the new sound system. VW have teamed up with BeatsAudio to give the up! a 300 watt sound system. Now THAT, we have to hear!

Der neue Volkswagen up!

Mini JCW Convertible – Launched

Looking to combine power, cheap running costs and open top driving? Well you’re in  limited market so.

Lucky for you though as Mini have just launched a Mini Cooper John Cooper Works Convertible. The new Mini JCW Convertible is powered by a twin turbo 2 litre petrol engine pumping out 231hp and 320nm or torque. If that wasn’t enough numbers for you, the JCW can get from 0-100km/h in just 6.5 seconds and can reach a top speed of around 240km/h.

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Phew, now with all that out of the way we can talk about the Minis menacing looks.  The hard top version of the JCW is definitely handsome thing indeed, hell the the whole Mini range is quite handsome overall. The JCW Convertible is covered with air inlets to the engine. This helps with aerodynamics and keeping the engine cool allowing the driver to get the most out of the JCWs punchy little engine. The bonnet retains the air scoop and the bulge, a signature look on all sporty Coopers like the old JCW and Cooper S. To cater for the revised engine, the suspension, braking and cooling systems of the JCW Convertible has been suitably upgraded.The MINI John Cooper Works Convertible runs model-specific suspension settings, with a bespoke braking system and larger intakes to increase cooling capability. It is specced with Brembo brakes protected by either 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels. It has an attractive ride height thanks to the specially designed sports suspension set up by McPherson.

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Aesthetically, the JCW Convertible looks very similar to the regular convertible. It keeps the same cloth roof, that can be opened or closed in just 18 seconds and be done at speeds up to 30km/h.  From the rear, the only things to set it apart form the regular car are the added grills and vents and the mean looking twin centre exhausts.

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Inside, the car gets sport bucket-style seats with integrated head rests. Standard trim includes; a newly designed JCW multifunctional leather steering wheel, the JCW door sill cover strips, the JCW gear or selector lever, stainless steel pedals including driver footrest and cockpit displays with dark dials.

Infotainment/Electronic Equipment is strong in the Convertible range. Coming as standard are; MINI Visual Boost Radio with a 6.5-inch screen, MINI Connected, Bluetooth connectivity with USB audio, Rear Parking Distance Control and a Reversing Camera. Options can include; Other optional enhancements include MINI Navigation XL which features an 8.8-inch version of the central display, the MINI Touch Controller with a touch-sensitive surface and optional Harman Kardon hi-fi speaker system.

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The 2.0 petrol emits Co2 figures of between 138 g/km and 152 g/km, depending whether you opt for the 6-speed manual or the 6-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox. This puts in the B1(€280/annum)  and C(€390/annum) tax brackets, respectively. Mini claims the JCW can achieve between 6.6l/100km(43mpg) and 5.9l/100km(48mpg). Of course, drivers with a keen foot will find this to drop but who cares when you’re having fun!

Although not launched in Ireland yet, the JCW Convertible sounds like an attractive package. Prices have not been announced yet but we will update this once they have been.

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Volvo S90 – NAIAS Launch

The NAIAS, North American International Auto Show, in Detroit is just kicking off and Volvo has decided that it would be the place it would launch is new premium saloon, the S90. Due to hit Ireland next year, Volvo aims the S90 at rivals like the Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6 and BMW 5-Series. Volvo has been known for making large, boxy, luxury saloons in the past. Take the 740 for example.

volvo 740

 

Although the S90 is far from boxy. Starting in 2015 with XC90, Volvo is giving its line-up a whole new look. Volvo says that the S90s face pays homage to the P1800 and that the “T-Shaped Thor’s Hammer ” lights give it an aggressive look. It certainly does look well from the pictures we’ve seen and the XC90 definitely did not disappoint. But, we shall hold off all judgement until we see it in the flesh.

Front Quarter Volvo S90 Mussel BlueRear Quarter Volvo S90 Mussel Blue

It is said that the S90s interior takes after the success of the XC90s with a dashboard and instrument panel  inspired by it.

“We created our new flagship sedan, the Volvo S90, as a real game changer. It is classy and cool. The exterior is exceptionally well surfaced with a fantastic stance and the sort of clean lines that are singularly appropriate of a Scandinavian design. The interior masters the art of blending innovative technology and natural materials into an elegant, welcoming and tasteful ambience, Swedishness at its best,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President, Design at Volvo Car Group.

Front Volvo S90 Mussel BlueRear Volvo S90 Mussel Blue

The S90 offers semi-autonomous drive as standard. This includes  Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert and the advanced semi-autonomous drive feature, Pilot Assist. The Pilot Assist helps with steering by keeping it in lane at up to speeds of 130km/h. Volvo says that this is another step closer to full autonomous drive, which is a huge innovation in itself.

The S90 will be offered with the plug-in hybrid T8 engine that is also available in the XC90. This engine produces 410 hp and around 640Nm of torque with the help both petrol and electric motors.

The S90 also introduces a world first function to City Safety – large animal detection – a feature capable of detecting large animals such as large deer, horses or moose/elk, night or day. This won’t be necessary in Ireland but hopefully it will warn you of loose sheep or cows on the road, eh?

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