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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Car that covers 1,810km on one tank of petrol here by summer

wf-014The car that can cover a ‘record’ 1,810km on one tank of petrol is due here in the early summer.

 

No price has yet been announced for the 1.2-litre PureTech version of the new Peugeot 308 – the current range starts at €18,990 ex-works.

 

But it does look like this three-cylinder, turocharged 1.2-litre will help change perceptions in the ongoing ‘diesel v petrol’ economy debate.

They drove this for 32 hours and came up just short of 100mpg (99.1mpg to be precise; or 2.85l/ 100km).

 

The test was independently monitored; the car does not appear to have been tweaked in any way and had a 6spd manual gearbox.

The engine develops 130bhp and they are saying it has set a new record. The tank holds 51.4 litres.

 

The test was carried out at the Almeria circuit in Spain and was officially witnessed by the authority UTAC (Union Technique de l’Automobile, Motocycle et Cycle).

 

The Peugeot 308 was recently voted European Car of the Year 2014.

 

Source: Irish Independent
EDDIE CUNNINGHAM

 

 

New Mercedes C-Class aims for the best of both worlds

wf-014For Mercedes-Benz, the new C-Class is the bridge between old and new. It’s a car that is reaching for the old, established order represented by its flagship S-Class and E-Class models, and for the new, younger audience it hopes to lure with models like the new A-Class, CLA and GLA.

 

To please both camps is no easy ask, but the new car makes a valiant effort. In styling terms it reflects the look of the younger camp, with definite lines that are akin to the CLA. Inside it’s a mix of both worlds, with new tech – some of it migrating directly from the recently launched S-Class – housed in smart switchgear that wouldn’t put an S-Class owner off. In fact, it really shows up the E-Class interior as being boxy and outdated for the brand.

 

Technology plays a big part in the new C-Class, courtesy of the seven-inch colour screen that dominates the cabin and is controlled by a combination of the traditional Command dial and a new touchpad. The latter lets you move through features in a similar way to the control of a touchpad, but also allows you to write out the name of places for the sat-nav or songs from the media player using your finger. There is, of course, voice control for most of the features.

 

While it’s a funky new toy, it’s not quite as smart as the likes of the Lexus system, as there is no physical indication when you move from one control to the next. That means you have to look at the screen to see where the cursor is more than you may want to while driving.

 

The big news about C-Class is the introduction of Apple’s new CarPlay system into the car by the end of the year. In the meantime you can access the web and several apps – such as Facebook and some news sites – via the car’s current system.

 

Aside from the infotainment elements, other new tech features include an air suspension system that lets you personalise the ride and handling or choose between two sports modes or comfort. It’s an impressive feature but unlikely to be chosen from the options list by many Irish C-Class buyers.

 

In terms of safety the new car boasts the latest pre-collisions assistance system that will ultimately apply full brakes if the radar senses a collision but the driver doesn’t react in time.
Engines at launch will be the 2.1-litre C220 Bluetec diesel tested here, along with two petrol versions: the 1.6-litre C180 and the 2-litre C200. In September the estate version will arrive along with the C300 Bluetec Hybrid.

 

Next year sees another addition to the range with the plug-in hybrid, powered by an electric motor and a four-cylinder petrol engine. This is expected to feature a range of up to 50km on electric-only power before operating like a more traditional hybrid. At the other end of the scale, next year also sees the arrival of the range-topping full-blooded AMG version.

 

The new C-Class arrives in Irish showrooms at the end of May, with prices likely to start at €40,500 for the C200 Bluetec diesel. It’s expected that the walk-up between larger engine variants will be €2,000. The C-Class will come with four trim levels: a standard version, Avantgarde, Exclusive or AMG Sports pack. While both the standard and Avantgarde come with the badge incorporated in the grille, the Exclusive is aimed at more traditional buyers and so gets a bonnet-mounted badge.

 

Both Avantgarde and Exclusive will cost about €2,500 on top of the standard price and feature 17-inch alloys and leather/fabric interiors. This time, however, you can opt to just have either the interior or exterior upgraded to either Avantgarde or Exclusive. To get only the interior upgraded will cost €1,000, while an exterior upgrade will be about €1,500. Most cars in Ireland are likely to be sold with Avantgarde trim.

 

So does the C-Class offer the best of both worlds? Certainly younger buyers won’t be disappointed, but it does beg the question as to whether they might prefer to save some cash and opt for the smaller CLA. Rear seat legroom is much better in the C-Class but it depends on their everyday needs.

 

Despite being the biggest selling Mercedes-Benz model globally, the C-Class has long been overshadowed on the Irish market by the likes of the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. This new take on the C-Class certainly closes the gap, sheds the rather musty smell that shrouded its image in the past and offers up an interior cabin that is better than the 3-Series and right up there with Audi’s A4. The standard powertrains are competent without sparkling and even the larger 2.1-litre diesel is better at munching through the mileage on motorways than tackling more challenging winding roads.

 

If prices firm up along the expected lines then it will be at the upper price bracket for the segment, something that may also persuade some buyers to opt for the CLA.

 

Source: Irish Times
Michael McAleer

 

 

Car Review – Volvo XC60 D4

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Volvo has refined its XC60 and fitted new Drive-E engines.

XC60 is a mid-sized, five-seat SUV that, on the face of it, is quite pricey, yet it manages to offer good value for money.

 

We took the revised XC60 for a test to see why spending €40,000-plus on the Swedish machine can make sense.

 

Obviously, XC60 has a commanding and highly recognisable road presence – Volvo has carefully crafted its cars’ exteriors over the years. The once-boxy lumps have turned into more graceful, streamlined machines.

 

XC60 is also a very safe machine – you’d expect nothing less from Volvo. When launched in 2008 it was the first car to offer ‘City Safety’, an autonomous braking function that at low speeds helps prevent frontal collisions without driver input.

Apart from the minor exterior and interior revisions, the most significant changes are under the bonnet.

 

Volvo has streamlined its engine production from eight to just two, four-cylinder turbo-charged units, one diesel and one petrol, with varying outputs. The units are also prepared for future EV integration.

 

The latest Drive-E, D4, ‘i-Art diesel’ engine is the main reason why the XC60 commands our attention. The tax band ‘A4’ – yes, ‘A4’ – two-litre, four-cylinder unit pushes out 181hp and an even more impressive 400nm of torque. Torque (nm) is basically the muscle that shifts the car about, while horsepower (hp) is the flashier figure that delivers high speed. Without decent torque you’d need to shift gears a lot more to keep up momentum, so the higher the nm figure the better.

 

Volvo has made an engine using state-of-the-art injector technology with an extremely high 2,500 bar pressure (under licence from Denzo, Japan). Most diesel engines have an ECU (Electronic Control Unit or ‘brain’) that controls the flow of fuel to the cylinders. Volvo’s ‘i-Art’ D4 engine is more efficient as each cylinder has its own ECU also.

 

Each cylinder’s injector has its own microchip that can learn and adapt the fuel injection process to deliver the maximum performance out of that cylinder. Hence, the D4 engine delivers great performance figures (181hp/400nm) but also very low CO2 of just 99g. Volvo has also introduced a new eight-speed ‘Geartronic’ gearbox that does bring the CO2 figure up a bit (‘B1’) but is worth it for ease of use.

 

We took an extensive range of D4-equipped Volvos for a test in the UK recently and found the unit worked brilliantly in everything from the S60 up to the big old S80 flagship cruiser, in both manual and Geartronic versions. The manual gearbox has long fifth and sixth gears, so delivering great fuel consumption on longer runs was effortless. The eight-speed Geartronic box is a revelation and rivals BMW’s eight-speed automatic for drivability.

 

Back in Ireland, our XC60 D4, with its standard front-wheel drive and manual six-speed gearbox, proved every bit as impressive. During the recent storms it was planted on the road and very stable in crosswinds. The linear power delivery made driving relaxing and uncomplicated.

 

The simple cabin remains understated and classy. ES, SE, SE Lux and R-Design are the specification levels. AWD is available with again only a slight CO2 penalty (‘B2’ manual). As always, Volvo’s leather, heated seats are both comfortable and well-built.

 

Across the range, the new D4 engine is allowing the Geely- (Chinese for ‘Lucky’) owned firm to be highly competitive on price with the premium players like Audi and BMW. XC60 is a fine car.

 

Source: RTE – Michael Sheridan

18 February 2014

 

 

Peugeot 308 Awarded Car of the Year 2014

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The new Peugeot 308 was crowned “Car of the Year” yesterday, awarded by a jury of 58 journalists, representing 22 European countries.

 

The major announcement was made on the eve of the 84th Geneva Motor Show, which opens its door to the world press tomorrow. A total of 30 new models from American, Korean, European and Japanese manufacturers, which went on sale in Europe during 2013, were eligible for the Car of the Year 2014 award.

 

The jury has just now delivered its verdict on the seven finalist models, pre-selected in December. The final votes were: Peugeot 308 – 307; BMW i3 – 223; Tesla Model S – 216; Citroën C4 Picasso – 182; Mazda3 – 180; Skoda Octavia – 172; and Mercedes-Benz S-Class – 170. Receiving the award from Hakan Matson, the president of the jury, Maxime Picat, Peugeot Brand CEO declared: “With the new Peugeot 308, we were convinced that we had achieved a leap in concept, technology and quality, which would soon allow it a place on the podium for the category in Europe.

 

The prestigious 2014 “Car of the Year” award, which I receive today in the names of all of those that contributed towards the development and launch of the model, is the best confirmation of this”. The new 308 is the 4th Peugeot model to be distinguished by the European Car of the Year award. It comes after the Peugeot 307 in 2002, the 405 in 1988 and the 504 in 1969. Produced at Sochaux, the brand’s historic cradle, the new 308 was launched in Europe during the last four months of 2013 and arrived in Irish Dealerships in late December.

 

The epitome of style, elegance, efficiency and innovation, sales success has already been achieved, with more than 55,000 orders recorded since the launch of the model. The new 308 is a clear example of the Peugeot brand’s continued move up-market, confirmed by the mix of the orders: 48 % of orders are for the upper trim levels 3 and 4 in the range.

 

From this spring, the new 308 range will be expanded with the introduction of a second body style, the classy and spacious Peugeot 308 SW and with the arrival of new petrol and diesel engines. The exceptional PureTech 3-cylinder 1.2 e-THP 130 bhp turbo petrol engine will arrive at the same time as three BlueHDi engines, including the new BlueHDi 1.6 litre 120 bhp version with CO2 emissions of just 82g/km, a record in the segment. The new Peugeot 308 is available from Airside Peugeot starting from €19,790. Contact us on 01 870 3800

 

 

 

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