SMMT Euro 6

100 days to ‘cleanest ever cars’ mandate

SMMT Euro 6Today (21 May) marks 100 days until Euro 6 emissions-compliant new cars become mandatory across Europe – the cleanest cars in history, says the SMMT.

The Euro 6 emissions standard is a big step on from today’s Euro 5 cars. They emit virtually zero particulate matter and halve dangerous nitrogen oxides over cars built during the past five years.

Disproving the myth: greenest-ever diesel cars revealed

Compared to even older models, Euro 6 emissions mark a huge reduction – and they also emit lowest-ever levels of CO2 as well.

Already, SMMT figures reveal, almost half of all new cars registered meet the Euro 6 standards ahead of the deadline on September 1. More than 70% of the top 10 best sellers are Euro 6 compliant.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “With 100 days still to go until the new Euro 6 standard becomes mandatory, new car buyers are shifting to these next-generation vehicles.

“This is the result of huge investment from manufacturers in clean technology – and the quicker we get these Euro 6 cars onto the roads, the quicker we’ll see improvements in air quality.”

Immigrants found sneaking into UK in boots of Maseratis

Immigrants found sneaking into UK in boots of Maseratis

Immigrants found sneaking into UK in boots of Maseratis

Police have discovered eight suspected illegal immigrants hidden in the boots of Maseratis freshly brought into the UK.

A transporter driver appeared to be making a delivery of the brand new luxury cars to Maranello Maserati in Egham, Surrey, when he found the eight unexpected passengers.

Surrey Police tweeted photos of the discovery, and later added that seven of the immigrants had been returned to Dover.

The eighth, a juvenile, was taken into police custody for social services to assist.

It’s not known where or how the immigrants boarded the Maseratis.

The Maserati Quattroporte costs from £69,235 and has a boot space of 530 litres.

Jaguar F-TYPE Bloodhound SSC

Jaguar reveals F-Type R Bloodhound SSC special

Jaguar F-TYPE Bloodhound SSCJaguar will debut a new F-Type R AWD Bloodhound SSC Rapid Response Vehicle at Coventry MotoFest later this month.

The 550hp supercharged F-Type Coupe will be one of the support vehicles for the Bloodhound SSC World Land Speed Record attempt – and actually shares an engine with Bloodhound SSC.

The 1,000mph target speed record car uses Jaguar’s 5.0-litre V8 to power its hydraulic services and power its rocket fuel oxidisers pump.

Created by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, the special F-Type wears a Bloodhound SSC livery from Jaguar Design.

Jaguar is not revealing any more about the Bloodhound SSC support car at this stage though, preferring to save final details for a rare world debut in the heart of Coventry.

Coventry MotoFest 2015

Held on 30 and 31 May, Coventry MotoFest celebrates the city’s automotive heritage and will see hundreds of special cars being showcased – in action as well as on static display: organisers have, remarkably, arranged for the city’s famous ring road to be closed off for high-speed demonstrations over the weekend.

The Bloodhound SSC Jaguar F-Type R will thus be showcased in hot laps around the ring road during the MotoFest weekend.

Jaguar will also show cars from its heritage fleet (freshly back from Mille Miglia 2015), including:

  • 1938 SS 100
  • 1956 Jaguar D-type Long Nose
  • 1966 Jaguar XJ13
  • 1974 Jaguar E-type Group 44
  • 1976 Jaguar XJ12 Coupe Broadspeed
  • 1988 Jaguar XJR-9 Le Mans winner (in action!)

Motoring Research will be at MotoFest in force throughout the weekend, and may even get a few hot laps in some of the exhibits. Be sure to say hello if you’re there!

Ford Fiesta 2015

New 88.3mpg Ford Fiesta is most economical version ever

Ford Fiesta 2015Ford has launched an updated 1.5-litre TDCi version of the Fiesta Econetic that becomes the most fuel-efficient version ever sold.

Returning 88.3mpg and emitting 82g/km CO2, the new Fiesta Econetic now emits 16g/km less CO2 than the first version launched back in 2008.

The top 10 most economical cars

Ford has achieved the latest eco gains on the nation’s best-selling car ever by replacing the old 1.6-litre TDCi with the new Brit-built 1.5-litre engine. It has “optimised combustion chamber design and cutting-edge turbocharger and fuel injection technology”.

Ford also fits subtle bodywork and under-body aero features, plus low-rolling resistance tyres. It has not, however, fitted a six-speed gearbox; instead it has revised gearing in the existing five-speed gearbox.

Ford Fiesta range tweaks

Ford’s tweaked other models in the Fiesta range too. The Zetec Z model is now available with the sporty 140hp 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine, and all Zetec S derivatives get a new 17-inch alloy wheel.

LED daytime running lights are standard on all versions above based Style, and there are two new colours – Magnetic metallic grey and Candy Red metallic.

DAB radio is also a no-cost option on the Zetec S.

Free-flowing motorway traffic

Highways England to lift roadworks for Bank Holiday

Free-flowing motorway trafficAs many roadworks on motorways and major roads in England will be lifted this Friday to help Bank Holiday travellers.

By 6am on Friday 22 May, around 400 miles of roadworks will be removed or suspended.

Furthermore, because of planned industrial action on the rail network, they will not be reinstated until 6am, Thursday 28 May.

By lifting 155 sets of roadworks currently operating, 96.9% of the 9.534 miles of major road across England will be free from roadworks.

Director of customer operations at Highways England, Simon Sheldon-Wilson, said: “We will be doing everything possible to manage traffic.

“We’ll have extra traffic offer patrols and recovery vehicles on standby, and we’ll keep customers informed with real-time travel information online and via variable message signs.

“Motorways and major routes are likely to be even busier than usual if the planned industrial action goes ahead,” he added.

“We anticipate that customers may start noticing a difference in traffic during Friday afternoon and evening.”

To help travellers plan ahead, Highways England has also created a list of potential traffic hotspots, and vows to broadcast the latest travel information on its main website.

The government agency did add that, for safety purposes, roadworks will remain at 63 locations – and it’s created a map showing where they’ll be left in place.

Zenos E10 S 2015

Buy a Zenos E10 for £399 a month

Zenos E10 S 2015Startup British sports car firm Zenos has teamed up with innovative peer-to-peer lender RateSetter to launch a £399 per month finance offer for the new E10.

The five-year finance deal requires a £5,000 deposit and has a representative APR of 6.3%.

On the entry-level Zenos E10, which costs £25,595 once on-the-road costs are added on, the total finance amount payable would be £23,940 on top of the £5,000 deposit.

The £399 monthly payment offers is open to all UK residents aged over 21, and the introductory offer runs until 31 August 2015.

Zenos Cars co-founder Ansar Ali said: “We are delighted to have been recently approved by the FCA to enable us to broker such competitive finance offers in conjunction with RateSetter.

“We already knew that our customers would benefit from a great finance package but wanted to make sure we selected a partner whose commercial approach was well matched to our own brand values.”

Silverstone Classic 2015 Silver Anniversary

Silverstone Classic parade lap for ALL silver car owners!

Silverstone Classic 2015 Silver AnniversarySilverstone Classic organisers are to hold a special parade lap for silver car owners to celebrate the event’s 25th anniversary – for classic AND new cars.

The Silver jubilee parade will be held on Sunday 26 July and organisers are hoping several hundred silver cars will take to the British Grand Prix circuit.

Retro racing at Silverstone Classic: what’s in store for 2015

It will cost £25 to take part in the parade lap – and all those taking part will get access to a special ‘Silver Zone’ parking area on the circuit’s infield, plus a special 25th anniversary car sticker.

“Right from the very first event in 1990, the Classic has always set out to commemorate important motoring anniversaries with track parades but this is something a little bit different,” said event director Nick Wigley.

“For once it’s not limited to those lucky enough to own an E-type, 911 or F40 – it’s open to all those millions of motorists who simply have a silver car.

“We want as many people as possible to participate in our 25-year celebrations and this is the perfect way to allow lots more to join the party.”

Organisers hope for a fulsome entry: they point out that 1 in 4 cars registered in the UK is silver, according to DVLA data – that’s 7,250,300 cars.

“More than 440,000 of those alone (are) Mercedes models.”

Silverstone Classic 2015 runs between 24-26 July and organisers are already hopeful of their first 100,000-plus attendance during the event.

Metro

The British car to beat the world: 35 years of the Metro

We head to Gaydon for a special gathering of the Metro Owners’ Club

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Ford Mondeo Vignale

Ford Mondeo Vignale review: 2015 first drive

Ford Mondeo Vignale

Ford attempts to take the Mondeo upmarket with its Vignale. Don’t mention Ghia.

Andrew Brady | May 2015

The Ford Mondeo has an image problem. It’s not that it’s a bad car – we liked it when we drove the latest model for the first time last year. But it’s just a bit… generic. And no one wants generic anymore.

Instead, we want executive saloon cars such as the BMW 3 Series. Or funky crossovers such as the Nissan Qashqai. That’s why both now outsell the humble Ford Mondeo in the UK.

And that explains why Ford taking its Mondeo upmarket with the launch of its new Vignale.

Vignale takes its name from the Italian coachbuilder Alfredo Vignale, who was responsible for creating stylish, one-off designs for cars built by Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Lancia and Maserati.

The Mondeo Vignale is the first in a line of production cars that’ll get the Vignale treatment – the next being the S-Max, due next year.

For around £4,500 more than the Mondeo Titanium, the Vignale gets a lot of extra leather. It’s everywhere – on the dashboard, covering the armrests and most places you touch. Even the seats have 110% more leather than the regular Mondeo leather seats. It’s premium Windsor leather, too, from the same factory as that found in the Bentley Continental GT.

3_Mondeo_Vignale

But the Mondeo Vignale is much than just a top-spec trim level, Ford insists.

For a start, the Vignale goes through extra quality checks at Ford’s Valencia factory. Extra attention is paid to paint quality and panel gaps… something you wouldn’t normally expect to be an issue on cars built by Ford in the 21st century, so make of that what you will.

The buying experience will be just a little more special, too. Rather than buying a Mondeo Vignale from your local dealership, you’ll need to visit one of 55 new Ford Stores that’ll be launched in the UK by the end of 2015.

There, you’ll find a special Vignale corner of the showroom, with furniture designed by the same designers behind the car. And you’ll be shielded off from the common or garden Ford customers.

Rather than a salesman, you’ll get your own ‘relationship manager’, who you’ll be on first-name terms with throughout the buying process and even as long as you own the car.

Once you’ve bought the car, you’ll have access to a 24-hour Vignale owners’ phone number should you need emergency breakdown cover or to book a service. When you do book a service, your dealership will collect the car from your home or office, and return it to you (freshly cleaned).

If you buy a used Vignale a few years down the line, you’ll be entitled to exactly the same perks. You can even (for a cost) ask your Ford dealership to detail it, so it’ll be returned to as-new condition.

What’s the Ford Mondeo Vignale like to drive?

2_Mondeo_Vignale

The Ford Mondeo Vignale drives in exactly the same way as the regular Ford Mondeo. That’s not a bad thing – there’s an engine for everyone, while the handling is typical Ford in that it’s direct and a touch sporty, if comfortable.

But, on the launch of the Vignale, we did get the opportunity to drive a hybrid for the first time.

Ford says, out of the 2,000-3,000 Mondeo Vignales it expects to sell in the UK, only around 2% will be hybrid.

Often, in a hybrid, the extra power provided by the batteries combined with instant torque means you put your foot down and scarper towards the horizon in a comical way.

But, while the Mondeo is happy to make a lot of noise when you accelerate (the curse of the CVT ’box), not a lot seems to happen performance-wise.

The Mondeo’s normally compliant ride appears to be upset by the extra kilos added by the batteries. Bumps in the road are transferred to the cabin, especially on the 18-inch alloys of our test car. We suspect smaller alloys might be a better choice, but then the handling will be even more numbed.

Is the Ford Mondeo Vignale a BMW 3 Series rival?

5_Mondeo_Vignale

No. Even Ford says the Vignale isn’t a BMW 3 Series rival. We suspect that secretly it’d like to think it is, but if it openly said so it’s opening itself up for mocking. Which we’ll do anyway.

Think of the Vignale as a top-spec Mondeo trim-level and it starts to make a bit more sense. Sure, the leather seats are very nice, as is the extra stitching.

But the interior isn’t as special as it ought to be. If anything, the upmarket additions make the rest of the interior look cheaper than it did in the first place. When the plastic centre console is surrounded by succulent leather, the centre console is suddenly no longer up to scratch.

We get the impression that accountants stopped designers really going to town on the interior in the way they probably ought to for it to be taken seriously as a properly upmarket Mondeo.

We want ambient lighting and Vignale badges everywhere. Trying to find the Vignale emblem is impossible inside the car, until you open the doors and find them on the treadplates. It’s the same reason people buy designer labels – they want to be reminded constantly that they’ve spent extra money on something premium.

Even the radio proudly boasts it’s a Sony unit. Its sound quality is excellent, sure, but you can spec the same radio in the regular Mondeo. For the full premium experience, we want to see names like Bose.

Verdict: Ford Mondeo Vignale (2015)

4_Mondeo_Vignale

When we drove the latest Ford Mondeo we gave it a four star rating.

As a car, it retains that four star rating. But Ford is so adamant that the Vignale is more than just a top-spec Mondeo – more of a lifestyle choice (cringe), and for us, it just doesn’t really work. Especially with a starting price of £29,045.

The company needs to go further if it’s to properly embrace going upmarket. The interior needs to be more special. And the service needs to be even more exclusive – we want a longer warranty and better residual values (early predictions aren’t looking good). A free wash just doesn’t cut it.

Save your money and, if you really want a Mondeo, buy a Titanium instead. If you ever find yourself longing for posher leather and brown metallic paint, think of that £4,500 you’ve saved.

Rivals: Ford Mondeo Vignale

  • Audi A4
  • BMW 3 Series
  • Lexus IS300h
  • Skoda Superb
  • Volkswagen Passat

Ford denies that it’s targeting the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series with its Mondeo Vignale, but there’s no denying that both are uncomfortably in reach for the money. The Lexus IS300h is actually slightly cheaper than the Mondeo hybrid, and is definitely a much more sensible choice if you want to go down that route. The Skoda Superb is due to be replaced and the new one makes a much more convincing case as an affordable upmarket car than the Mondeo Vignale. The Volkswagen Passat is slightly upmarket from the regular Mondeo, but stacks up well against the Vignale.

Specification: Ford Mondeo Vignale

Engine 2.0-litre diesel, 2.0-litre petrol, hybrid

Gearbox 6-speed auto, 6-speed manual, CVT

Power 180 – 240hp

Torque 128lb/ft – 332lb/ft

0-62mph 7.9 – 9.2 seconds

Top speed 116 – 149mph

MPG 38.7 – 67.3

CO2 99 – 176g/km

Tesla Model S P85D 2015 review

Tesla Model S P85D review: 2015 first drive

Tesla Model S P85D 2015 reviewTesla gives the Model S another engine, makes it even faster. How fast? Try McLaren and Ferrari fast. The results are extraordinary.

Richard Aucock | May 2015

Tesla is being good to Britain. We drive on the left, yet we’re not denied factory-built right-hand-drive versions of its extraordinary Model S full-range EV. It officially launched here in 2014 and sales are, from a standing start, already in the hundreds, growing by the week as the dealer network grows too.

We even enjoy Tesla Superchargers here, those ultra-fast (and free) recharge points that can fill the 300-mile-range battery in the time it takes to drink a latte and check some emails. London to Edinburgh in a zero-emissions EV? Not a problem if it’s a Tesla.

Now, we’re getting an upgraded model – an all-wheel-drive Model S, with two electric motors; an additional one joins the existing rear-mounted motor, sitting up front (and munching into, although not devouring, the front luggage compartment). Soon, a Tesla spokesperson told us, there will be just a single rear-drive Tesla Model S; the rest of the range goes all-wheel drive, courtesy of Dual Motor tech and signified by the ‘D’ in the name.

Why? Several reasons. One being, surprisingly, it’s more efficient. This clever car can juggle between motors, using one or both when it’s most efficient, and also flipping between front and rear motors on long trips to ensure they’re always operating at the most efficient temperature.

But the other significant reason is traction. Or, rather, the challenges of not breaking it when deploying the Tesla’s monster power and torque. The top-line P85D we’re testing here has supercar power. Genuinely. How does 701hp strike you?

Sending this through just two wheels can, at times, be sub-optimal (as McLaren’s Ron Dennis might say). Four-wheel-drive traction means grip between four wheels, not two – so more can be transferred to the road without being pegged back by traction control.

The key acceleration figure bears out the logic of this thinking: 0-62mph takes just 3.1 seconds. We have checked it, and it is correct. Extraordinary, no? This modern but unassuming saloon car is Porsche 911 Turbo S fast, yet with local emissions that match a Nissan Leaf. With deliveries about to start in the UK, and with prices starting from £85k (before the Plug-in Car Grant is taken off), what do lucky owners have in store? We found out.

What’s the Tesla Model S P85D like to drive?

Tesla Model S P85D 2015 review

We found the rear-drive Tesla Model S jaw-dropping for acceleration, response, intensity and energy. The P85D takes it to another level, one barely believable for what’s still a luxurious and urbane BMW 5 Series rival. It’s incredible.

This isn’t acceleration, it’s hyperdrive. You have two acceleration modes: Sport and Insane. Insane was our default. It really is insane. It’s claimed to generate 1G of acceleration force and, using a smartphone app, we confirmed this. It is also the only road car I can remember that ‘rollercosters’ your stomach each and every time you give it the full beans: it’s a thrilling, incredible sensation that has you shaking with excitement.

Just as amazing is the traction you sense when deploying this. There is no metering of power or torque, no restrictions from the physical grip of the tyres; the P85D bites and drives hard, on all surfaces, at all angles. Floor it out of a gravelly dual carriageway layby and you can be up to the speed of the traffic in an eyeblink – faster than either you or the traffic around you can comprehend. It’s warp drive that, thanks to all-wheel drive, now comes to virtually any situation.

It’s not all about just straight-line acceleration though. All-wheel drive makes it more tenacious on British B-roads, too. The Model S was already a surprisingly wieldy thing for one so large (4,978mm long), heavy (2.5 tonnes) and wide (1,984mm), largely thanks to the sense of a lack of mass at the front end.

The P85D further enhances this with the ability to deploy ridiculous drive forces, instantaneously, in virtually any situation. Electric drive means power is delivered hesitation-free, and 701hp means said power is colossal: distribute it between all four wheels for ample stability and you’ve something almost peculiarly tenacious on tight UK roads.

Should you buy a Tesla P85D instead of a sports car?

Tesla Model S P85D 2015 review

So, all this performance, delivered so uniquely, with added practicality, eco saviourness and standard-setting onboard tech: surely the Tesla P85D’s a smarter buy than a slower, dearer and less practical Porsche 911?

We can see why some would think so. For £85k (or, with options, £105k for the test car – reduced to £100k with the government grant), it offers supercar pace that has already led to umpteen YouTube videos showing the P85D taking on all comers in acceleration races. Y’know, Lamborghinis, McLarens, Ferraris, that sort of thing.

This is why those who like the idea of an everyday supercar such as the 911 may steer towards the Tesla as a leftfield alternative. So it would be unfair to point out the EPAS doesn’t have anything like a 911’s feel or feedback, that you notice its considerable size in a way you never would with the compact 911, and it feels decidedly saloon car-like behind the wheel rather than like a low-slung sports car. Buyers would get all that.

The fact it performs so well, offers so much practicality and has the world-saving kudos that comes from it could just clinch it in this sector that buys cars just as much for how they look and what they say about them as how they drive.

And it’s here where the Tesla could do a bit more. The interior is great, with real wow-factor, so it’s a pity the exterior can’t quite match it. A touch more finesse, a bit more sharpness of the lines, a bolder front end, all would help the Model S’ potential to sway supercar buyers. It’s a big car but could do more to hide it – and could do a lot more to shout about the fact it’s so high-tech and groundbreaking.

Oh, and why do the visual changes for the P85D amount to little more than a different badge, bigger wheels and red brake calipers? This car is a rocketship, Tesla – shout about it!

Verdict: Tesla Model S P85D (2015)

Tesla Model S P85D 2015 review

The Tesla Model S P85D is a striking, memorable car that you’ll talk about for months for one reason: acceleration. Extraordinary acceleration. The pace, and the forces it generates, are astounding and the fact this is combined with an EV range of nearly 300 miles is even more amazing. It’s an other-worldly achievement.

Buy it for these reasons and you’ll be delighted. Buy it instead of a Porsche 911, or a BMW i8 PHEV supercar, and you might yearn for just a touch more sophistication of style and final chassis tune. Here’s where Tesla’s youth arguably shows through – not in a stark way, but it’s now competing in an exalted sector, and these tiny differences matter.

But the fact many will still consider the Tesla instead of a premium alternative shows just what the firm’s achieved. And, with the P85D’s almighty acceleration bettering almost anything else on the road, it’s now far more than just a quick EV with a big range. It’s a quick EV with a big range and warp drive as standard.

Rivals: Tesla Model S P85D

  • Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
  • BMW i8
  • Porsche 911
  • Audi R8 e-tron
  • Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

We’ve mentioned the Porsche 911; for many buyers, the Panamera S E-Hybrid is likely to be a more obvious challenger. And if they really do want a supercar, there’s also the BMW i8 and forthcoming Audi R8 e-tron. But maybe the Tesla’s practicality is the big win for you? Then the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid might appeal – as might the £30k list price saving…

Specification: Tesla Model S P85D

Engine Two electric motors

Gearbox Single-gear electric, four-wheel drive

Price from £85,000

Power 701hp

Torque 442lb ft (600Nm)

0-62mph 3.1 seconds

Top speed 155mph

MPG n/a

CO2 0g/km