SUV, Family Car, Diesel, News

MINI launches limited edition Countryman

MINI is launching a new Countryman Special Edition for the UK.

Developed by the MINI's Special Order programme, the Countryman Special Edition features exclusive Space Grey Metallic roof and mirror caps, teamed with 18" 5-Star Double Spoke alloy wheels in black and Absolute Black Metallic body paint.

Only 250 Countryman Special Edition models will be available for customers in the UK. The latest edition to the range comes with standard equipment including MINI Navigation System, Voice Control, MINI Connected, Enhanced Bluetooth with USB audio and multi-function steering wheel. Front Seat Heating, Automatic Air Conditioning and Xenon Headlights are also included as standard.

Inside, the Special Edition has been styled to match the exterior, with interior surfaces in Piano Black and leather upholstery in Gravity-Carbon Black.

Customers can choose between two model variants - the Cooper S ALL4 Countryman or the Cooper SD ALL4 Countryman in either manual or automatic transmissions. Both model options are paired with MINI's ALL4 all-wheel drive system which provides 'excellent traction and quickly reacts to changes in road conditions'.

The MINI Countryman Special Edition is available to order now.

Diesel, Estate Car, News

Audi adds Sport trim to A6 allroad

Audi has added a Sport trim to its A6 allroad quattro.

The Sport specification adds full LED headlights, replacing the bi-xenon units of standard A6 allroad models to further enhance visibility. A high beam assist function is also added as standard to automatically dip the beam when oncoming traffic is approaching. At the rear in Sport models, dynamic LED turn signals that operate in a sweeping motion have also been added.

New 10-spoke design, 19-inch alloy wheels with a matt titanium finish, privacy glass and heated and folding mirrors round out the exterior enhancements, while inside sports seats in upgraded Valcona leather with full electric adjustment are complemented by 'luxurious' Alcantara door inserts.

Adaptive air suspension is fitted to every A6 allroad, helping in all-terrains while a dynamic or comfort mode can be selected using the Audi drive select system.

A choice of three EU6-compliant six-cylinder TDI engines power the new A6 allroad quattro in standard and Sport specification. The 218 PS and 272 PS engines are mated to a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission, while the 320 PS and 650Nm output of the BiTDI is fed to the wheels via an eight-speed tiptronic transmission.

The latter delivers a 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds and a 155 mph limited top speed. Up to 43.5 mpg is achievable, linked to CO2 output of 172 g/km. Combined fuel efficiency increases to a possible 50.4 mpg for the 218 PS and 51.4 mpg for the 272 PS, while CO2 drops to 149 and 145 g/km respectively.

Available to order now, pricing starts from £49,455 OTR for the A6 allroad Sport V6 TDI 218 PS to £55,825 OTR for the V6 BiTDI 320 PS model.

Diesel, Hybrid, Family Car, Saloon

Kia confirms all-new Optima pricing and spec

Kia has revealed its all-new Optima will cost from £21,495 OTR.

On sale from today there are four versions available, all powered by an upgraded EU6 version of Kia's 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine, now paired with either a six-speed manual or a new seven-speed (7DCT) dual-clutch auto transmission.

The 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine develops an improved 139bhp and increased torque of 340Nm. This represents increases of 5bhp and 15Nm over the previous version. With the Idle Stop & Go (ISG) engine stop/start system as standard, CO2 emissions of manual models are 14 per cent lower at 110g/km, while fuel economy improves to 67.3mpg. An even bigger improvement, says Kia, is the new 7DCT dual-clutch auto gearbox, which replaces the previous six-speed torque converter unit. Emissions drop by 25 per cent, to 116g/km, while fuel economy is now 64.2mpg.

As a result, benefit-in-kind taxation in manuals falls by three tax bands, while for the 7DCT the reduction is 42g/km and eight tax bands. With fuel consumption improved by almost 10mpg for manual models and more than 17mpg for the 7DCT automatics, fleet running costs will be 'dramatically lower'.

A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Optima, offering a commuter-friendly all-electric drive range with even lower emissions and greater taxation advantages, will be added later in 2016.

The first car in its class with a wireless charger for mobile devices, located in the base of the centre console, the Optima is also available with a 360-degree Around View Monitor for a bird's-eye view when manoeuvring, while a Smart Park Assist System automatically steers the car in and out of parallel or perpendicular parking slots.

There are initially three trim levels - badged 2, 3 and 4 - with GT-Line and GT versions to be added later in 2016. All versions are 'extensively equipped'. ISG - Kia's fuel-saving, emissions-reducing engine stop/start system, is standard.

Prices range from £21,495 OTR for the 1.7 CRDi 6-speed manual ISG 2 to £28,895 for the 1.7 CRDi 7-speed DCT ISG 4.

Hybrid, News, Coupe, Diesel, Supercars

Audi unveils new R18 Le Mans racer

Audi has revealed its 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours car - the R18.

The most powerful and efficient race car Audi has ever built has been 'fundamentally re-designed' by Audi Sport. Featuring 'innovative aerodynamics' representing the next stage in lightweight design and a modified hybrid system with lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, there is also an efficiency-optimised TDI engine.

"With our new Audi R18, we're setting a clear signal: Audi continues to put the pedal to the metal in motorsport, deliberately relying on TDI - the world's most successful automotive efficiency technology - at Le Mans," says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.

In the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) that will start at Silverstone (Great Britain) on April 17, Audi Sport Team Joest will be fielding two new Audi R18 cars. In the interest of maximum cost efficiency, Audi and its Group sister brand Porsche, have both agreed to each compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the WEC season's pinnacle event, with only two instead of the most recent three cars.

"We're proud about being able to again represent the Audi brand in 2016 with such an extensive commitment in motorsport," says Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "The new Audi R18 marks a major step that we're expecting a lot of at Le Mans and in the WEC. In the DTM, we already had the strongest car in 2015. That's what we'd like to build upon. Plus, the high demand for the new Audi R8 LMS is equally gratifying as the many young talents that are interested in the Audi Sport TT Cup."

Diesel, 4x4, News

New Jeep 'Night Eagle' Cherokee

Jeep has added a new 'Night Eagle' version to its Cherokee line-up.

The new Night Eagle model is limited to just 350 examples for the UK and is based on the Longitude 'Plus' mid-trim level.

The new model features black styling cues and a 'bold' new appearance with satin-finished grey elements on the front grille-mounted Jeep badge, the fog light frames and black gloss roof bars. A dedicated Night Eagle name badge has also been added along with deep tint sunscreen glass, while the 4x4 also runs on exclusive 18-inch black gloss alloys.

Inside, a leather steering wheel joins exclusive leather upholstery, heated front seats with electric lumbar adjustment on the driver's side, Uconnect with 8.4-inch screen, navigation system, Bluetooth and TFT instrument panel.

Other standard equipment on the Cherokee Night Eagle includes a nine-speaker sound system with subwoofer, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, electric tailgate, rear parking sensors, automatic headlamps with washer, rain sensing wipers, and auto-dimming rear mirror. This edition comes in four colours: Brilliant Black, Bright White, Billet Silver and Granite Crystal.

Power comes from the new 2.2-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel engine delivering 200 hp which, combined with Jeep's nine-speed automatic transmission and rugged Active Drive I 4x4 system, gives the car a top speed of 127 mph and 0-62 mph time of 8.5 seconds, while returning up to 49.6 mpg on the combined cycle.

The new Jeep Night Eagle Cherokee will cost £36,795 OTR when it goes on sale later this week.

Pick-up, Diesel, News

New Fiat Fullback pick-up revealed

Fiat has unveiled a new pick-up called the Fullback.

The new pick-up truck is named after the cornerstone Fullback position in rugby and will be available in the UK in autumn 2016.

Unveiled at the 2015 Dubai International Motor Show, the new, medium-duty pick-up will join Fiat's Professional range and will be available in double cab body style configuration only for the UK, making it an 'ideal vehicle' for both commercial and leisure time activities, says Fiat.

Measuring up to 1,780mm in height, 1,815 mm in width and 5,285mm in length, with a wheelbase of 3,000mm, the Fullback will offer a 'competitive payload' of 1,045 kg and will be powered by a 2.4-litre, aluminium, turbo-diesel engine with a power output of either 150hp or 180hp. Two transmissions will be available, a new six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic transmission with sports mode, and both will be combined with a four-wheel drive system.

The Fullback is Fiat Professional's first contender in the medium-duty pick-up truck segment in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region. Visitors to the 2015 Dubai International Motor Show will also be able to see the Fiat Fullback equipped with a selection of special accessories currently under development by Mopar, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' brand for after-sales service.

Available in the UK in two trim levels, pricing and specifications will be announced closer to the vehicle's launch in autumn 2016.

Hybrid, Diesel, News

New Toyota RAV4 pricing confirmed

Toyota has released pricing and specification for the new RAV4.

Introducing hybrid power to the line-up, the new model range includes a choice of powertrains ranging from the 2.5-litre full hybrid, to a new 2.0-litre D-4D diesel and a revised 2.0-litre Valvematic petrol with improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Both front-wheel and all-wheel drive versions are available.

At the same time Toyota is upgrading equipment specifications across the board and introducing Toyota Safety Sense - a package of integrated active safety and driver assistance features - as an option on all versions of RAV4 beyond the entry-point model. The new five-grade line-up also introduces Business Edition Plus trim and changes the flagship designation from Invincible to Excel.

The entry level Active grade is powered by the new 2.0 D-4D diesel engine and starts from £23,695 OTR. The RAV4 Business Edition - also powered by the 2.0-litre diesel engine starts from £24,595 OTR. A new Business Edition Plus model launches as a hybrid/front-wheel drive-only grade and comes with LED front and rear lights, a power tailgate, keyless entry and push-button start, priced from £26,195.

All three powertrains and front and all-wheel drive options are offered in Icon trim. Key additional features include 18-inch machined-finish alloy wheels, LED headlamps, combination leather and Alcantara upholstery. The Icon diesel costs £26,995, petrol £28,295 and the 2.5 Hybrid comes in at £29,795 OTR.

The Excel models adopt the full Toyota Touch 2 with Go package, plus leather upholstery, roof rails and front and rear parking sensors with pricing ranging from £27,995 for the diesel and £29,295 for the petrol to £30,795 OTR for the range-topping Excel 2.5 Hybrid AWD. Two new exterior colours are available for RAV4: Blue Crush and Barcelona Red. 

The new RAV4 range is available to order now with first customer deliveries of petrol and diesel models expected from late December. Hybrid versions will arrive from mid-January.

News, Diesel, Vintage Car

Rolls-Royce chauffeurs stars to MOBO awards

Rolls-Royce chauffeured some of the biggest names in music to the 2015 MOBO Awards.

Arriving on the red carpet in the ultimate style at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, Winner of Best Male Act and Best Grime Act; Stormzy, producer and performer Naughty Boy, singer songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae and soul singer Lianne Le Havas all stepped out from their bespoke Rolls-Royce Phantoms.

Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain also took the opportunity to arrive in the finest style to the glittering ceremony.

"The MOBOs recognise and celebrate the craft that goes into creating the music that ensures the UK's position as the most vibrant creative centre in the world," said Kanya King MBE, founder of the MOBO Awards. "In the same spirit, a Rolls-Royce affords our stars the ultimate red carpet arrival by expressing the very best in contemporary British design, craftsmanship and style. We were delighted that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars agreed to be our partner for the event."

Diesel, Supercars, News

Limited edition Ferrari F12tdf unveiled

Ferrari has revealed a new limited F12tdf - paying homage to the Tour de France road race.

The legendary endurance road race was dominated by Ferrari in the 1950s and '60s, particularly with the 1956 250 GT Berlinetta which won four consecutive editions. A race that rewarded cars that combined maximum performance with the driveability and ease of use, the new F12tdf is described as 'the ultimate expression of the concept of an extreme road car that is equally at home on the track'. Only 799 will be built.

Powered by a 780 cv, naturally-aspirated V12 engine, derived directly from the F12berlinetta's engine. The car's 'exhilarating' dynamic behaviour, specifically its lateral acceleration in corners, is due to an 8 per cent increase in the ratio of the front tyres compared to the rear ones. The car's natural tendency to oversteer as a result of the change in tyre sizes is compensated for by the rear-wheel steering system - known as the Virtual Short Wheelbase, which is integrated with the other vehicle dynamic control systems.

Cornering speeds are also higher thanks to the significant increase in downforce, +87 per cent. A redesign of the bodywork, interior, engine, transmission and running gear, along with the abundant use of carbon-fibre inside and out, has slashed 110 kg off the car's overall weight. All of these factors combine to produce 'record performance figures' of 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds and 0-124mph in 7.9 seconds.

The F12tdf's specification is completed by lightweight alloys with five twinned spokes that are designed to have the narrowest section possible to reduce unsprung weight. Behind the alloys, stopping power comes from new 'Extreme Design' one-piece brake callipers already seen on the LaFerrari. This new-generation system means the car can brake from 62-0mph in just 30.5 metres and from 124-0mph in 121 metres.

Prices have yet to be announced.

Diesel, News

Volkswagen to recall 8.5 million vehicles in Europe

Volkswagen has confirmed it will recall a total of approximately 8.5 million vehicles in Europe (EU28 markets).

The German brand says it welcomes the 'swift decision' by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to implement the timetable and plan of measures submitted last week by issuing a recall. This decision gives customers clarity with regard to the continued unrestricted use of the vehicles, with the vehicle owners set to be notified.

The 8.5 million european vehicles include some 2.4 million vehicles in Germany, according to KBA. Outside the EU28, each individual country will clarify in detail which emissions classes of the EA 189 engine are in fact affected.

In addition, every VW customer can visit the recently set up www.volkswagen.de/info website and enter the chassis number of their vehicle to find outstraight away whether they are affected. Similar customer websites are active in the other EU countries and for the Audi, SEAT and Skoda brands.

Work on the technical solutions detailed in the plan of measures is currently 'proceeding at full speed' according to the German car giant. Remedial action on the vehicles will begin in January 2016 - at no cost to the customer. The technical solutions can involve software as well as hardware measures. These are currently being developed for each affected series and each affected model year. All measures will first be presented to the responsible authorities. Volkswagen will subsequently inform the owners of these vehicles over the next weeks and months.

Customers now have clarity with regard to the continued unrestricted use of the vehicles. All of the vehicles affected remain technically safe and roadworthy. The current successor generation of EA 288 diesel engines (in use since 2012) is not affected.

Coupe, Diesel, Sports Car, News

Mercedes confirms C-Class Coupe pricing and spec

Mercedes has confirmed the new C-Class Coupe will be priced from £30,955 OTR.

Available to order now ahead of first UK deliveries in December, the new C-Class Coupe comes with four engine options and two model lines. The new Coupe builds on the specification of the Saloon and Estate variants, and starts with the C 200 petrol engine, which produces 184 hp and is available with a six-speed manual (123 g/km of CO2) or 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox (125 g/km). The new C 300 engine produces 245 hp and comes only with the 7G-Tronic gearbox, with CO2 from 146 g/km.

Two diesel engines are available: the 170 hp C 220 d, with a six-speed manual (106 g/km) or 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic gearbox (106 g/km), and the C 250 d, which produces 204 hp and comes with a 9G-Tronic gearbox (109 g/km).

The two model lines are the Sport and AMG Line. Standard equipment includes LED headlights and tail-lights; Active Park Assist; PARKTRONIC parking sensors; a reversing camera; sports seats with ARTICO upholstery including heated front seats; 7-inch colour screen; Garmin navigation; electrically folding mirrors and Collision Prevention Assist Plus automatic braking system. The C 300 model also features, as standard, a sports exhaust system with switchable sound.

The Sport model comes with a gloss black interior trim with aluminium inlays in the doors, 17-inch alloy wheels and a 'diamond grille with black-painted pins'.

The AMG Line includes black ash wood trim, an AMG sports steering wheel with flat bottom, brushed steel sports pedals and a black roof lining. The exterior features an AMG bodystyling kit, 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, the diamond grille and 15mm lowered sports suspension.

Two options packages are available: Premium and Premium Plus. The £1,695 Premium Package includes a panoramic glass roof, keyless go, seat memory package and ambient lighting. To this the £2,995 Premium Plus Package also adds a Burmester surround sound system and COMAND online with 8-inch screen. A £1,695 Driver's Assistance Package includes DISTRONIC Plus with stop and go (adaptive cruise control); Active blind spot and lane-keeping assist, Pre-safe with pedestrian detection (anticipatory safety system).

Topping the range is the £61,160 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe. With a 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 engine and AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed automatic gearbox, the C 63 produces 476 hp and 650 Nm, and can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 4.0 seconds. The £66,910 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S produces 510 hp and 700 Nm, with 0-62 mph taking 3.9 seconds.

From launch, a limited-edition C63 S Edition 1 is also available. It features unique details including diamond-stitched nappa leather upholstery with contrast yellow stitching; carbon fibre interior trim; graphite AMG decals on the bonnet, roof and sides; an AMG aerodynamic package and bespoke 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, and is available for £76,900. The Edition 1 motorsport package adds to this yellow AMG decals, designo selenite grey magno paint, AMG high-performance ceramic composite braking system and exclusive 19inch front and 20-inch rear wheels with yellow detailing for an extra £3,000.

4x4, Diesel, Hatchback, Estate Car, News

Skoda Octavia vRS adds 4x4 option

Skoda is giving its sporting flagship Octavia vRS line-up a specification boost with a new 4x4 transmission option.

Offered with the 2.0 TDI 184PS diesel engine and mated to a six-speed direct-shift gearbox (DSG) as standard, the vRS' four-wheel drive system constantly monitors traction at each wheel, directing power to whichever axle requires it.

The vRS 4x4 models can sprint from zero to 62mph in 7.6 seconds and deliver peak torque of 380Nm between 1,750-3,250 rpm.

From 1 November, prices for the Octavia vRS range start from £24,230 OTR for the Hatch and £25,430 OTR for the Estate, an increase of £400, however, buyers will get the Amundsen satellite navigation system as standard (previously £755), offering a customer saving of £355.

With a capacitive touchscreen display and SD card slot, the Amundsen unit joins a specification list that includes 18-inch Gemini anthracite alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, sports suspension and dual-zone climate control with humidity sensor.

Engineering highlights include multi-link suspension and electronic differential lock XDS+ for dynamic cornering, progressive steering and numerous assistance systems for enhanced safety and comfort. The vRS also features a bespoke design package that includes unique bumpers, spoiler and interior.

The updated Octavia vRS 4x4 range hits showrooms later this year, priced from £27,315 OTR for the Hatch and £28,515 OTR for the Estate.