Top Gear's Chris Evans prangs his McLaren at Carfest

Top Gear's Chris Evans prangs his McLaren at Carfest

Top Gear's Chris Evans prangs his McLaren at Carfest

Future Top Gear host Chris Evans regretted taking his McLaren 650S to Carfest this weekend – as a hapless driver reversed a trailer into it.

According to The Sun, Evans was about to pull away in the supercar on Monday morning when a car towing a trailer reversed back into it.

Witnesses said the television and radio presenter seemed unperturbed by the collision, leaving his passenger to exchange details as he drove off.

Evans is a well-known petrolhead, but is planning to auction off a number of his cars at Goodwood Revival later this month.

It’s not the first time he’s been involved in a prang – in 2005 he crashed a Ferrari 550 Maranello near his home in Surrey, and in 2001 Radio 2 presenter Vanessa Feltz reversed her Mini into his Ferrari 599 GTO.

MR Breakthrough Blogger

Motoring Research Breakthrough Blogger Award 2015

MR Breakthrough BloggerThe Guild of Motoring Writers’ Motoring Research Breakthrough Blogger Award is BACK for another year – and entries are now open via the Guild website.

Are you an aspiring motoring writer with a thriving motoring blog? Do you want to take the next step towards becoming a professional motoring journalist?

Then this award is for you!

The prize is a professional one: we offer you paid work experience at Motoring Research, so you can sample what it’s like being a professional motoring journalist.

We’ll mentor you, offer chances to get your work published and try to help you make the next step towards doing this as a career.

Last year’s winner, John Redfern, scooped the prize for his thriving blog,

Since then, his career in motoring journalism has stepped up a gear: he’s written features, attended first drives and has recently become MR’s newsletter editor too.

Fancy entering? You’ve got until the end of September to tell us why you should be Breakthrough Blogger 2015. So get your thinking caps on and head over to the Guild website for more…

And, good luck!

Citroen Cactus M Concept revealed ahead of Frankfurt

Citroen Cactus M concept revealed ahead of Frankfurt debut

Citroen Cactus M Concept revealed ahead of Frankfurt

Citroen will be bringing this open-topped version of its C4 Cactus crossover to Frankfurt, when the show opens later this month.

Its design harks back to the Citroen Mehari utility vehicle and light off-roader, which was produced from 1968 to 1988.

Unlike the C4 Cactus, the M concept has two doors, and the rear seats are only accessible by climbing over the sides of the car using the built-in steps.

The whole interior is totally waterproof – everything can be hosed down as drainage holes have been put in the footwells.

Inside the cabin, equipment includes the Touch Drive interface and Easy Push gearbox system.

The roof canvas can be completely removed, and even erected as a tent, which is big enough for two 1.8m tall people to stand inside.

Tall and narrow 19” wheels have been fitted, to give it more ground clearance and better off road traction.

Citroen insists the Cactus M is nothing more than a concept for now – one we’ll see in the metal for the first time at the Frankfurt motor show later this month.

Citroen Cactus M Concept revealed ahead of Frankfurt

Mercedes-Benz S-Class cabriolet revealed ahead of Frankfurt debut

Mercedes-Benz S-Class cabriolet revealed ahead of Frankfurt debut

Mercedes-Benz S-Class cabriolet revealed ahead of Frankfurt debut

Mercedes-Benz has released details of an open-top version of its S-Class Coupe, the S-Class Cabriolet. The new model will be on show at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show this month.

It will be displayed in S63 4MATIC guise, which, thanks to a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 585bhp and four-wheel drive, can accelerate to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds.

Use of materials such as aluminium and magnesium in key areas improve the rigidity that is often lost when the roof goes, while impressively keeping the weight to the same of that of the coupe version.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class cabriolet revealed ahead of Frankfurt debut

The S-Class Convertible also features what Mercedes-Benz calls ‘Aircap’, which integrates a neck-level heating system, heated armrests, front and rear heated seats and climate control. It also features a wind deflector set into the roof frame and a ‘draught-stop’ behind the rear seats, as well as double-glazed windows.

The soft-top can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 37mph, and, when lowered, is separated in the boot by an electrically operated retractable cover.

The car will be on sale from December, with deliveries starting in spring of next year.

We’ll see it for the first time at the 2015 rankfurt Motor Show, from where Motoring Research will be reporting live.

Brits more revved up by their first motors than their partners

Brits more revved up by their first motors than their partners

Brits more revved up by their first motors than their partners

More Brits found their first car more exciting than their first girlfriend or boyfriend, a survey has discovered.

Two-thirds of women said they were thrilled by their first car, while only 60% were enthused by their first man. For men, it was a similar story, with 57% revved up by their first car, but just 55% feeling equally excited by their first girlfriend.

In fact, only 27% of men and women felt they could rely on their first partner, while nearly twice as many (52%) thought their first car was dependable.

But while women apparently think about sex every 64 seconds, men have their motors on their mind even more often – every 55 seconds. However, 40% of the women questioned said they’re impressed by a flash car.

RAC Cars spokesman, Pete Williams, said: “Our research shows that whether male or female, old or young – we all appear to love cars.

“Both men and women admit to getting hot under the collar when they think about their dream set of wheels and many of us hold more endearing memories of our first motor than our first partner.

“However, the time we spend on our cherished vehicles can be a source of marital tension.

“With 64% of men admitting to cleaning, polishing and tinkering with their car at least once a month, and a further 24% confessing they think about changing their partner just as often, you’d be forgiven for thinking men would prefer to spend more time with their cars than their partners.”

65-plate sales boom expected – but will sales match figures?

65-plate sales boom expected – but will sales match registrations?

65-plate sales boom expected – but will sales match figures?

On the day 65-plate registrations are released, reports are predicting a record month for new car sales in the UK.

However, experts are warning that the real number of cars being driven off the forecourt may not match up to the figures claimed.

The forecasted rise in new car registrations for September comes after a 9% year-on-year increase in new car orders for July and August.

Experts believe this will be the 42nd consecutive monthly increase in new car registrations – but the situation is being complicated by the number of the pre-registered cars.

‘Growing distortion’

Glass’s head of valuations, Rupert Pontin, said: “Pre-regs are not a bad thing in themselves but they do create a growing distortion in the market.

“Customers need to see a sensible pricing difference between new cars, nearly new pre-regs and older vehicles.

“The flood of pre-regs creates substantial downward pressure on older vehicle values, which are falling.”

Finance deals on new cars have fuelled sales, but there may now be little room left for growth in this part of the market.

The boom in PCPs at risk?

The increasingly popular Personal Contract Purchase finance scheme, or PCP, may also be at risk, added Pontin.

“We have seen an ongoing explosion in PCPs but manufacturers are having to make them ever more attractive in order to continue to sustain growth in the market.

“At some point, we will reach a situation where no matter how much manufacturers provide support in terms finance, customers will stop signing new leases.”

It is also thought that government cuts will leave buyers will less to spend on new cars, although this effect will take time to filter down.

“It could be that in the final quarter of this year, we start to see the new Government’s austerity policies take effect,” said Pontin.

“There was some interesting sleight of hand in the Chancellor’s Summer Budget but most people will find themselves with less disposable income, which could affect their next car choice.”

Police forced to respond to 999 calls without sirens

Police forced to respond to 999 calls in Vauxhall Corsas without sirens

Police forced to respond to 999 calls without sirens

Police say they are having to respond to emergency calls in Vauxhall Corsas not equipped with sirens following budget cuts made by the Government.

West Midlands Police have had to use the Vauxhalls – which are kitted with blue lights but no sirens – to reach emergency calls over 100 times in the last 12 months, according to reports.

The force has 109 Vauxhall Corsa patrol cars on its fleet, intended for non-emergency use only. Budget cuts, however, mean they’re being used to respond to urgent 999 calls.

Officers are told they’re not allowed to break the rules of the road without sirens – leading to ‘huge frustration’ as they struggle to make their 15 minute target to reach crime scenes.

Superintendent Kerry Blakeman, from the West Midlands Police’s operations department, told local newspaper the Express and Star: “Any officer can respond to an incident if they are suitably trained to drive at speed and are in an appropriate vehicle – with lights and siren.

“Officers who are not appropriately trained and/or driving an appropriate vehicle can attend an incident as quickly and safely as possible while complying with the Road Traffic Act just as members of the public should.

“Incidents graded as ‘immediate’ are responded to as soon as possible, usually in a matter of minutes and on many occasions require the use of lights and sirens.

“At no point was the Corsa intended for response work as it is a low performance vehicle.”

Renaultsport Megane 275 Cup-S

Big price cut for Renaultsport Megane range

Renaultsport Megane 275 Cup-SRenault has revised the Renaultsport Megane hot hatch range for 2016 – and cut prices to a bargain-level starter from £23,995.

The firm has rationalised the range down to a single 275 variant, replacing the outgoing 265 model. It’s offered in two guises, 275 Cup-S and 275 Nav.

As its name suggests, the 275 Cup-S has a 10hp power boost to 275hp, using the engine from the Nürburgring record-setting 275 Trophy-R limited edition car.

It also gets the more focused Cup chassis as standard: that’s a mechanical limited-slip differential, red-painted Brembo four-pot brake calipers, stiffer springs and dampers plus an uprated anti-roll bar.

The engine normally delivers 250hp, with the full 275hp being released in Renaultsport Dynamic Management mode: this delivers 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds and a 158mph top speed.

And all for £23,995 – a true bargain, that almost makes it rude not to indulge in an options list that includes Öhlins Road & Track dampers (£2,000), Akrapovic titanium exhaust system (£2,500), 19-inch alloys (£1,000) and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (£1,000).

For those after something (relatively) more genteel, Renault is also offering a Megane Renaultsport 275 Nav. This has the Sport chassis instead of the racier Cup setup, and a lavish amount of extra kit included heated leather seats, dual-zone climate control (building upon the standard air con of the Cup-S), auto lights and wipers plus hands-free entry.

If you really must, it costs £25,935.

Both new Renaultsport Megane 275 models are available to order now, with deliveries starting in November 2015.

New trucking laws introduced in London from TODAY

New trucking laws introduced in London from TODAY

New trucking laws introduced in London from TODAY

Lorries heading into London from today will have to comply with tough new Safer Lorry Scheme regulations in a bid to make the capital safer for cyclists.

HGVs will now have to be fitted with bigger mirrors and side guards to prevent cyclists being dragged underneath.

If caught in London without the new safety kit, drivers could face on-the-spot fines of £50, increasing up to a maximum of £1,000 at Magistrates Court.

The new laws were announced earlier this year after it emerged that a number of cyclist deaths involved HGVs.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “We know that a large number of cyclist deaths and serious injuries involve a relatively small number of trucks and lorries that are not fitted with basic safety equipment.

“Such vehicles are not welcome in the capital and the Safer Lorry Scheme will see them effectively banned from our streets. The lives of thousands of cyclists and pedestrians will be much safer as a result and I urge all operators of HGVs to get on board and make it a success.”

The new law is one of many being introduced that could catch out motorists – brush up on 7 new laws drivers need to know.

SEAT Ibiza Cupra 2015

Revised SEAT Ibiza Cupra now with 192hp 1.8 TSI engine

SEAT Ibiza Cupra 2015SEAT has revealed the facelifted Ibiza Cupra hot hatch ahead of its 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show debut – and confirmed the old 1.4-litre ‘twincharger’ engine has been replaced by the 1.8-litre TSI also used by the new Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Now producing 192hp, the new Ibiza Cupra also has a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, further pleasing enthusiasts: SEAT claims a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 146mph.

It’s a 12hp power boost over the old car but more significant is the stonking 51lb ft increase in torque, to 236lb ft. This is now spread flat between 1,450-4,200rpm, justifying SEAT’s claim that it offers “incredibly forceful pulling power in any given situation”.

SEAT’s also fitted adaptive damping, XDS electronic differential and an uprated set of brakes. The setup can be tailored via new Cupra Drive Profile functionality, altering suspension damping stiffness and steering weight.

Externally, the differences over the outgoing Ibiza Cupra are hard to spot but, inside, there is a new SEAT DriveApp infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

A further new option is the SEAT ConnectedApp, ‘powered by Samsung’. Rather impressively, this even includes gesture control – although it’s unclear just what level of ‘gesture control’ this actually offers.

The new SEAT Ibiza Cupra will be revealed at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Ibiza Cupra line next year.