Motor Industry News
A unique insight into our valuations team (VIP DATA) day to day observations from probably the most accurate vehicle valuation system in the UK.
Audi have launched a 'hot' version of their ever popular A1. The car uses the 1.4 turbocharged and supercharged engine but now with 185 PS. Expect 0-62 mph in 6.9 seconds and a maximum speed of 141 mph.
The order banks are now open and the price is £20705 OTR. Specification is based on the current S Line variants.
The luxury car market is staying remarkably buoyant. Sales are booming for most luxury and exotic models such as Range Rover and Audi R8 etc.
Vast amounts of sales are reliant on finance. Buyers are becoming smarter and rather than opting for the easy option of dealer finance, they are shopping around for the best deal.
Ferrari has announced their first ever four wheel drive production car. The 'FF' has 4 seats and a 4 wheel drive system. The new car will be powered by a 6.3 direct injection V12 power plant which will be front mounted. It will come only with Ferrari’s acclaimed F1 paddle shift gearbox and the engine will produce 651BHP which equates to a 0-62 time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 208mph.
Dealers are still picking out good used stock. There appears to be a problem with ex-daily rental cars hitting the market without the correct service history. This invalidates the warranty.
Down to BMW headquarters in Bracknell to discuss an important range of limited edition models connected to a well-known upcoming sporting event. This involved finalizing the included options that these models will feature and the design, and even the position of the special badging.
We also had the opportunity to drive for the first time some models that we first saw about six months ago. These included the new Mini Cooper S Diesel, a first for the sporty S to feature an oil-burning power unit. With 143 bhp the 2.0 engine launches the car to 62mph in. But it's the incredible 305nm's of mid-range torque that makes the car feel special and the mpg figures of 65 combined, this compared to the petrol Cooper S is some 18mpg better and is bound to make you smile even more.
The down side is the sound of the engine, you are left in no doubt that you are driving something that fills up with the same fuel as a truck, it needs more bulkhead soundproofing.
The low 114Co2 figures which equal £30 a year VED is also a welcome bonus. Priced at £18,400 you may think this sounds expensive, until you look at the price of a VW Polo 1.4 GTI!
The next car is a bit of a bruiser, BMW 1 Series M coupe with a 3.0 twin turbo straight six petrol engine kicking out 334 bhp and acceleration to 62mph in 4.9 seconds. Priced at £40,000 this is £11,000 less than an M3 and only .4 of a second slower to 62mph than the M3.
This car seems a convincing package, if you can ignore the styling of the 1 Series range, which is not to everyone's taste.
Across to Munich and to the Audi design centre for a look at a new edition to the Q5 and Q7 family, this still under secrecy but will be hot property as this is a fiercely contested and rapidly growing sector when it arrives here late summer ready for next winter.
Also here for a first drive in the new A6 saloon due to go on sale in the UK from April this year. The outgoing model has gained a good reputation over the past 16 years since the badge first appeared (formerly Audi 100) as a classy premium end and a practical large saloon car.
This will be the fourth generation of the model, build quality along with superb materials really do move the game on, now it has one of the best interiors available from any manufacturer, either SE or S-Line derivatives. This is also a light car, despite its size, compared to the previous model; the front wings, bonnet, doors and boot lid are all alloy which reduces the overall weight by 70 kilograms.
Co2 outputs are much lower at 137 grams on the 3.0 TDi 204ps front drive auto model and fuel consumption is much lower at 51.4 mpg on the combined cycle. The 2.0TDi 177ps will continue to dominate sales with 129 grams Co2 with a manual box but the multitronic auto box will lower this figure even further.
The Avant estate version will follow later this year around autumn time.
The lead up to the new registration has started. Dealers are gearing up for 1st March handovers.
Order banks are looking good, but supply is strangling handovers and spreading them over the next couple of months.
Jaguar are set to launch a 542bhp variant of its XKR, named the XKR-S. The car will be an even more focused version of the current XKR and will cost a hefty £97000. Order banks open in September.
We’ve had a drive in the Saab 9-3 Convertible using the twin turbo diesel 190 bhp engine this week. First impressions are good. The exterior is stylish, with striking lines for anyone who wants to be 'different'. Internally the car struggles to hide its GM/Vauxhall underpinnings, with some instruments and switch gear instantly recognisable. Equipment levels are good and the car drives well. However it doesn’t drive anywhere as dynamically as its German competition. That said, as a used car it offers great value for money with a lot of fun when the weather allows the roof to come down!
Across to Frankfurt to look at the new Picanto, Rio and the final version of the new Optima. The underlying trends for this sector are lower Co2 outputs, smaller capacity engines and higher specification.
The Picanto has been a great success for Kia since the launch back in 2004, it quickly found its market selling as a bargain basement super mini and the car received a face lift in 2008 just in time for the government scrappage deal to kick in.
The new model has moved the styles stakes up considerably and although it can’t match the image of a Fiat 500, it should now compete with the likes of Ford KA or Toyota Yaris.
The current model has been available only as a 5 door hatchback with either 1.0 petrol 61bhp or 1.1 petrol 64bhp engines. The new Picanto will for the first time feature as a 3 or 5 door with either a 1.0 3 cylinder petrol 69PS 99g Co2 (95g with optional ISG stop/start) or 1.2 4 cylinder petrol 85PS 105g Co2 (100g with optional ISG).
The 3-door model will help the car’s appeal to a younger age group, all manufacturers that produce small cars vie for this young and trendier end of the buying audience, 3 door models do appeal to the younger person but there is a problem, young people don’t have the funds for new cars, simple as that.
The new Rio is a sensation, light years away from the current cars dowdy "it’ll see me out" image. The styling is up there with the best in the sector, Fiesta, Citroen C3, VW Polo to name just a few and this is sure to attract a younger age profile, Peter Schreyer, the head of design, has done Kia proud. Four engines will be offered, 1.2 petrol 114g Co2, 1.4 petrol 124Co2, 1.1 diesel 94 Co2 (85g with ISG) or 1.4 diesel 109 Co2 (94g with ISG).
The new Optima is a Mondeo-sized saloon and again the styling is ultra-modern, this is a very difficult sector to compete in now that SUV’s have gained a strong foothold, any mainstream manufacturers offering has to be outstanding to even get noticed now. There is still a reasonable demand for estates and Kia does have one on the way, but not until next year. Optima will be very well specified and efficient, 1.7 diesel 136ps and with 113g Co2 it will appeal to the fleet buyer for benefit in kind tax reasons.
Audi’s A1 is performing well. It’s pointless shopping around for a heavy discount - it won’t happen. There are however subsidised finance deals available backed by Audi. So it’s just a case of choosing the colour, spec and which dealer to proceed with.... just get ready for a fairy long wait until your new car is delivered!