RAC pothole

RAC proves potholes ARE getting worse

RAC potholeIf you think Britain’s roads are littered with more potholes these days, RAC breakdown data suggests you may be right: vehicle breakdowns caused by bad roads have risen a whopping 125% between 2006-2016.

The sort of things that are damaged when you hit a pothole – components such as dampers, suspension springs and bent wheels – made up 0.4% of RAC callouts in 2006. By 2016, this had risen to almost 1% of callouts.

“Our analysis… unequivocably confirms what most road users already know, which is that the condition of our local roads has deteriorated drastically in the last decade,” said RAC chief engineer David Bizley.

“This analysis suggests that the quality of the UK’s roads suffered a steady decline from the start of 2007 through to the end of 2009, presumably due to lack of investment in maintenance and resurfacing during worsening economic times.”

Since then, there has not been sufficient funding to fix the backlog.

“Although 0.9% (of call-outs) seems low, the growth in this type of call-out is indisputable. With few exceptions, it’s the vehicle owner who picks up the bill, adding up to millions of pounds each year.”

And motorists are fed up. The RAC Report on Motoring shows the state of Britain’s local roads is their number one gripe and 50% feel the condition of roads in their area has declined over the past year.

One in three thus want the government to prioritise fixing Britain’s roads above everything else and a further half rate extra investment here as a top-5 priority.

Not something that’s going to happen soon though, says the RAC: “The effect of insufficient investment over much of the last decade care going to take some considerable time to rectify,” warns Bizley.

BMW M4 Competition Pack

BMW M4 Competition Pack (2016) road test review

BMW M4 Competition PackHarder, better, faster and, er, more expensive, the Competition Pack cranks the BMW M4 up to 11. For an extra £3,000, the M4 coupe – and its M3 saloon sibling – gain 19 hp, adaptive suspension, sports seats, stylish 20-inch alloy wheels and a fruitier exhaust. Are the upgrades worth it, or is BMW simply gilding the lily?

Prices and dealsBMW dealer

At the time of writing, the M4 Competition Pack costs £60,065, or £62,560 with the DCT semi-automatic gearbox as tested. That’s about £500 more than an equivalent M3, or £3,000 less than the M4 convertible. However, we found discounts of nearly £10,000 on M4 DCTs via ‘reverse auction’ website, AutoeBid – so expect similar savings on Competition Pack cars.

What are its rivals?Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe

Until the new Audi RS5 arrives, the M4 has one major rival: the Mercedes-AMG C63 coupe. With 476 hp from its 4.0-litre V8 (or 510 hp in full-fat ‘S’ spec), the muscle-Merc trumps the M4 for outright power – and has a better soundtrack. However, the BMW is a more satisfying steer on a twisty road. You could also consider the Lexus RC F and Porsche 911 Carrera.

What engine does it use?BMW M4 Competition Pack

The BMW can’t match the C63 for cubic inches, but its 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight six develops a stonking 150 hp per litre. For those who struggle with maths, that’s a grand total of 450 hp – up 19hp on the standard M4. Maximum power arrives at a heady 7,000 rpm, meaning you need to rev this engine hard to get the best from it. Note the carbon fibre strut brace to stiffen the chassis.

How fast?BMW M4 Competition Pack

You want figures? How about 0-62 mph in 4.0 seconds for the DCT version? Choose a manual gearbox and you’ll lag 0.1 seconds behind at the lights. Which serves you right for trying to save money, frankly. Either way, the M4 Competition Pack is 0.1 seconds quicker off the line than the standard car. Top speed is limited to 155mph.

Is it comfortable?BMW M4 Competition Pack

Those 20-inch machine-polished alloy wheels look fantastic, but they don’t do ride quality any favours (the regular M4 has 19s). Even in Comfort mode, you feel every ripple in the road surface. That said, the M4 doesn’t thump and bang through potholes like some sports cars. And its race-style seats are supportive and well-padded. Full marks for the M-striped seatbelts, too.

Will I enjoy driving it?BMW M4 Competition Pack

Oh yes. The M4 has faced criticism for being too soft, but the Competition Pack sharpens up its edges. It’s ferociously fast, and the chassis is a textbook example of rear-wheel-drive adjustability. Well-weighted steering and a flawless semi-automatic gearbox complete the package. Compared to the C63 AMG, you work a bit harder to experience the BMW’s ample rewards. But that’s hardly a chore, right?

Fuel economy and running costsBMW M4 Competition Pack

The most efficient non-hybrid BMW 3 Series – the 320d EfficientDynamics auto – returns fuel economy of 74.3mpg. The M4 manages less than half that, with official figures of 32.1mpg for the manual and 34.0mpg for the DCT. CO2 emissions of 194g/km mean you’ll pay £500 car tax in the first year and £270 per year thereafter.

What’s the interior like?BMW M4 Competition Pack

The interior of the 4 Series dates back to 2012. Compared with the latest Audi A4/A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the plastics seem a little cheap and the design a little dated. We can’t fault the ergonomics, though. Traditional BMW white-on-black dials and a centre console angled towards the driver were supplemented by an £825 head-up display in our test car. There’s also the excellent iDrive media system, which we’ll come to in a minute…

Is it practical?BMW M4 Competition Pack

For anyone who’s ever squeezed into the back of a Porsche 911, the M4’s two proper, adult-sized rear seats will be a revelation. It’s a little dark back there, and access is awkward behind the bulky sports seats. But if you regularly carry passengers, you could always buy the M3 saloon instead. The M4 also has a decent 445-litre boot – about the same as a Nissan Qashqai.

Tell me about the techBMW M4 Competition Pack

We rate BMW’s iDrive media system as the joint-best available, along with Audi’s MMI. Its widescreen display is mounted high on the dashboard, and the ‘clickwheel’ controller is easy to operate without taking your eyes off the road. It’s far superior to Mercedes’ Comand, and we prefer it to the various touchscreen systems available, too. Standard kit includes Bluetooth phone connectivity, DAB radio and in-car wi-fi. We’d also be tempted to splash out £675 on the premium Harmon Kardon hi-fi.

What about safety?BMW M4 Competition Pack

The closely-related BMW 3 Series scored a full five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, and there’s no reason to think the M4 would be any different. All cars come with side and curtain airbags and advanced stability/traction control. Even so, with 450 horses on tap, the biggest threat to your safety (and driving licence) will be your right foot…

Which version should I go for?BMW M4 Competition Pack

The obvious question here is: should you go for the Competition Pack? We certainly would, and BMW expects 70% of buyers to follow suit. With improvements to performance, handling, noise and appearance, the Competition Pack simply makes for a better M4. And its £3,000 additional cost looks modest in the context of a £60,000 car. The only downside is the firmer ride, but we think that’s a fair trade-off for improved agility.

What’s the used alternative?BMW M3

If you don’t have £60,000 to spend on a new M4, the E46 M3 offers just as much fun – perhaps more – for a fraction of the cost. Built from 2000-2006, it’s powered by a 343 hp naturally-aspirated six redlined at 8,000 rpm. Responsive and rear-wheel drive, the E46 remains one of our favourite BMW M cars. Prices start at just £7,000, although we’d budget at least five figures for a good one.

Should I buy one?BMW M4 Competition Pack

Cards on the table, we prefer the titanic torque and aural drama of the Mercedes-AMG C63 to the subtler charms of the M4 Competition Pack. The BMW would best for a track day, but the more exciting Mercedes has the edge on the road. There’s also a BMW M2-shaped elephant in the room. Smaller, cheaper and more fun, the new M2 is our current favourite M car.

Pub factBMW M4 GTS

Even the Competition Pack enhancements don’t make this the hottest M4. That honour goes to the M4 GTS: a lightweight, 500 hp rival for the Porsche 911 GT3. With two seats, a front splitter that doesn’t do speed humps and a price tag of, ahem, £122,000, the GTS gives two fingers to everyday usability in favour of track-focused performance. One for the lottery-win garage, perhaps?

Ford Racing Puma: Retro Road Test

Ford Racing Puma: Retro Road Test

Ford Racing Puma: Retro Road Test

The regular Ford Puma is an underrated driver’s car. Combine a zingy 125 hp 1.7-litre petrol engine tuned by Yamaha with an excellent chassis, a light body and a thoroughly satisfying gearbox, and you get one of the most enjoyable front-drive cars ever sold.

Read another Retro Road Test on Motoring Research

But this isn’t a regular Ford Puma. This is the Ford Racing Puma. It’s doing it a disservice describing the FRP as a beefed-up Puma – it’s much more than that. Only 500 were ever sold, and it was developed by Ford Racing Europe.

What are its rivals?

What are its rivals?

Although the Ford Racing Puma was only ever meant to be sold in limited numbers, Ford hoped it’d sell more than it did. A production run of 1,000 was mooted, but a lack of demand meant that was cut to 500 – and half of them were reportedly sold through Ford’s management scheme as they just couldn’t shift them.

The reason? The price. At £22,700 when new, the Puma was more expensive than rivals such as the Subaru Impreza and Honda Integra Type R.

What engine does it use?

What engine does it use?

The Ford Racing Puma uses a revised version of the standard model’s 1.7-litre engine. It produces 155 hp at 7,000rpm (yes, it likes a few revs), meaning it’ll hit 60mph in 7.9 seconds (just 0.7 seconds faster than the regular Puma), and a top speed of 126 mph.

What’s it like to drive?

What’s it like to drive?

Frantic. With a hefty amount of power going through the front wheels, there’s only so far 1990s traction control technology can go towards defeating torque steer. But that’s part of the fun. At the time, Tiff Needell described it as perfect for the new generation of computer game racing driver: “constantly used to making lots of little tiny corrections to keep his imaginary car on the road.”

That feeling is exaggerated by the firm suspension. Combined with the bespoke 17-inch alloys, it makes the average British B-road feel akin to a rally stage. But if you can master its fiery nature, it’s an incredibly fun car to drive. Its tiny Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel gives masses of feedback, while the 215 mm-wide tyres just grip and grip. Even lifting off won’t see sideways heroics like an old-school hot hatch, there’s just a bit too much adhesion to truly steer with the throttle.

Reliability and running costs

Reliability and running costs

While the Ford Racing Puma should make for a fairly reliable car, you’ve got to expect a few issues as even the newest examples are now 15 years old. As with the standard Puma, look out for rust – it’ll fizz everywhere, including the sills, floorpans and arches.

The Racing Puma could prove a headache in the running stakes thanks to its unique parts. The upgraded braking system, for example, can prove to be temperamental, with genuine front brake discs costing more than £200 each before fitting. Interiors have never been Ford’s specialism, and they’re likely to be showing their age. Good luck trying to replace tired pieces of trim.

Could I drive it every day?

Could I drive it every day?

The interior is much like the regular Puma – which itself is much like the Fiesta of the same period – albeit with lots of bright blue Alcantara and, of course, the Sparco racing seats. The result is a slightly dated cabin, but with air-con, a CD player and a heated front windscreen (check it works properly!), it’s an easy enough place to spend time in.

We’ll give the usual Retro Road Test caveat, though – would you really want to drive a Ford Racing Puma every day? With so few ever sold, and prices rising, it seems a bit of a shame. Much better to pamper it and enjoy your time with it more than you would using it on the commute.

How much should I pay?

How much should I pay?

There was a time when £5,000 would get you a choice of Racing Pumas… the challenge now is finding one actually for sale. If you do, that £5,000 might buy a ropey example, but you’d be better spending as much as £10,000 on a cared-for car. If you’re struggling to justify spending that kind of money on a Puma, just think: how much would it be worth if Ford had given it an RS badge?

What should I look out for?

What should I look out for?

As we’ve mentioned, rust is a killer. Crawl underneath with a screwdriver and a magnet and walk away if you find excessive bubbling along the sills. That aside, you want signs that it’s been looked after. So full service history, four matching quality tyres and, ideally, not too many miles on the clock.

Should I buy one?

Should I buy one?

On paper, it’s perhaps difficult to justify a Racing Puma when you can pick up a regular model, which isn’t much slower, for less than a grand. But it really is a special car to drive – one of the best handling front-drivers ever sold. And a good example is only going to go up in price. Think of it as an investment.

Pub fact

Pub fact

If you want the ultimate in front-wheel-drive handling, seek out an FRP fitted with a limited-slip diff. It was available as a factory extra, but only 80 customers ticked that option box – largely because most were standard management cars. It is possible to retro-fit one, however.

20mph speed limit

Safety group unconvinced about 20mph Edinburgh safety scheme

20mph speed limitRoad safety charity IAM RoadSmart says Edinburgh’s 20mph city-wide speed limit set to come into force on Sunday 31 July is a cheap, blanket approach that doesn’t address specific safety issues.

The Scottish capital will be the first to impose a 20mph speed limit on more than 80% of city streets, an initiative intended to make roads ‘safer and calmer’.

But the IAM says it’s potentially confusing because drivers take their cues from the environment and, on some roads, it “looks and feels safer to go over 20”.

The new Edinburgh speed limit will be policed in the same way as other speed limits: transgressors will be hit with a £100 fine and three penalty points.

Councillor Lesley Hinds leads Edinburgh’s transport division and admitted to the Edinburgh News that it “would take a bit of time for it to become second nature.

“It’s a change of attitude. People used to drink and drive and that attitude changed.”

The IAM believes there’s some way to go: “Covering whole areas in one 20mph limit and putting up some signs is a cheap way to do it,” said policy and research director Neil Greig.

“If you look at the evidence, what seems to work is measures like speed bumps and narrower roads.

“We’d rather see investment made in dealing with the streets where there will be most benefit.”

ADAS car windscreen

‘How to’ guide for recalibrating ADAS replacement windscreens

ADAS car windscreenCars fitted with ADAS Advanced Driver Assistance Systems rely on cameras mounted onto the windscreen – and if you need to replace your screen, you also need to have these safety systems recalibrated or they won’t work correctly, says vehicle safety expert Thatcham.

That’s why it has led a new working group called the ADAS Repair Group, which has just published a new code of practice for those fitting replacement safety windscreens.

  • More advice on Motoring Research

The guide helps technicians identify the various ADAS systems that may be fitted, show how to remove them from the old screen and fit them to the new one, and offer full guidance on how to recalibrate them.

ADAS car windscreen

This, says Thatcham, is a crucial safety measure: as they become more commonplace, customers are becoming increasingly reliant on them – any miscalibration can adversely affect performance and safety.

The guide also includes notes on how to explain this to customers so they have full confidence in a car with a new windscreen. Replacing the windscreen on a car with ADAS? Expect to have all this explained to you by the person doing the job.

Euro NCAP research shows ADAS systems such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) have helped reduce real-world rear-end collisions by 38%. Currently fitted to 6% of vehicles on the road, ADAS may feature in 40% of cars by 2020.

Hence the need to make sure the safety process for fitting new windscreens is robust; cracked screens are an inevitability and it is vital to ensure ultra-safe modern cars don’t become less safe because their advanced safety systems are compromised…

In pictures: Classics on the Common 2016

In pictures: Classics on the Common 2016

In pictures: Classics on the Common 2016

It’s the biggest weekday classic car show in the country, and more than 1,000 classic car owners flock to the Hertfordshire town of Harpenden for Classics on the Common every year. We’ve had a scout around with a camera – here are some of the highlights.

Ford Escort

Ford Escort

We’ll start with one of our stars of the show – an immaculate Mk3 Ford Escort 1.3-litre GL. Although there’s no shortage of supercar exotica at the event, a humble 1980s Escort like this really does stand out. Just us?

Lamborghini Aventador

Lamborghini Huracan

OK, here’s some of that exotica we mentioned. A bright green Lamborghini Aventador, no less. You can’t say there’s not something for all tastes at Classics on the Common.

Vauxhall Senator

Vauxhall Senator

Remember a time when all the top cops drove one of these? The Senator B is a rare beast now – and this one’s the desirable 24v 3.0-litre straight-six.

Triumph 1300

Triumph 1300

It might not stand out, but the Triumph 1300 is quite a significant car – Leyland’s first front-wheel-drive model, in fact. And check out that Vauxhall Cavalier Cabriolet in the background.

Citroen GSA

Citroen GSA

Is there anything more French than a yellow (or is it beige?) Citroen GSA? The GSA replaced the GS, and with it came a five-speed gearbox.

Lancia Thema

Lancia Thema

This might look like a regular Lancia Thema (which itself is a fairly rare thing), but it is in fact an 8.32. With ‘8’ standing for the number of cylinders and ‘32’ for the number of valves, the Thema 8.32 used a 3.0-litre Ferrari V8.

Renault 5 GT Turbo

Renault 5 GT Turbo

When was the last time you saw one Renault 5 GT Turbo – never mind two? Although not as iconic as the legendary Peugeot 205 GTI, it still makes for a desirable 80s hot hatch today.

Morris Minor and MG Midget

Morris Minor and MG Midget

Is there a more British scene than a classic car show featuring a Morris Minor Traveller parked next to an MG Midget?

Austin Metro

Austin Metro

When was the last time you saw an Austin Metro on the roads? This morning, for us, as this one actually belongs to one of us. We drove it to the show.

Click through our gallery on MSN Cars to see more pictures from Classics on the Common

Drivers warned NOT to stop for unmarked police cars

Drivers warned NOT to stop for unmarked police cars

Drivers warned NOT to stop for unmarked police cars

Essex Police are warning motorists not to pull over if requested to do so by an unmarked police car, following a spate of vehicle thefts by fake traffic cops.

Officers have been told not to pull over drivers in unmarked cars, unless it’s an emergency.

It comes after two vans were stolen by thieves dressed as police officers – with one reportedly carrying a handgun. Both thefts are believed to have taken place on Essex motorways – one on the M25, the other on the M11.

It’s thought that a silver Ford Mondeo equipped with blue lights was used in both incidents.

Det Ch Insp Stuart Smith said: “We have taken this decision to safeguard motorists in Essex while these offenders remain outstanding.

“Our victims have told us that the suspects are purporting to be police officers and are wearing body armour to further enhance this deception in order to steal these vans.

“Anyone who is signalled at to stop by someone in a car which may appear to be an unmarked police is asked not to stop but to call 999 immediately to verify whether the vehicle and its occupants are genuine.”

Anyone with information about the bogus unmarked police car are requested to phone 101 urgently.

Porsche 964 Carrera RS

Porsche 964 Carrera RS: Retro Road Test

Porsche 964 Carrera RS

Porsche doesn’t use its Rennsport badge lightly. Or rather, it does: RS models are stripped of excess fat, making them the most focused and most fêted – 911s of all. And, in traditional Porsche style, you pay more money for less car especially when it comes to used examples.

The 964 Carrera RS was the first 911 with ‘RS’ on its rump since the epochal Carrera 2.7 RS of 1973, and just 2,282 were made. Today, a mint-condition 2.7 RS could set you back £1 million, versus £168,000 for this 964 currently for sale at Autofarm in Oxfordshire (01865 331234).

Could this be our most exciting Retro Road Test yet? Time to discover what all the fuss is about…

What are its rivals?Porsche 993 Carrera RS

If you’re in the market for a classic 911 RS, you probably won’t consider much else. These low-volume sports cars exist in a rarefied bubble, scrutinised by enthusiasts and investors alike. And with prices edging ever upwards, there’s no sign of the bubble bursting yet.

Perhaps the 964’s closest rival is actually its successor, the 993 RS. Despite its more aggressive styling (a huge GT2-style rear wing was optional), the 993 is a slightly softer, more road-biased alternative to the 964. It’s also rarer, with only 1,241 made, meaning prices are even higher. Good ones can exceed £200,000.

What engine does it use?Porsche 964 Carrera RS

Porsche 911 engines never look very special. But this air-cooled flat-six is meatier than most, at 3.6 litres and 264 hp. That’s modest by modern standards, but the RS is around 150 kg lighter than the standard car – plus it boasts a lighter flywheel and close-ratio five-speed manual gearbox.

The net result is 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 161 mph; hardly old-fashioned performance. There was also a 3.8-litre, 304 hp version of 964 RS, although very few were made.

What’s it like to drive?Porsche 964 Carrera RS

The 964 RS feels very different to a modern 911. It’s amazingly compact, for starters – shorter and narrower than the current Cayman – and utterly bereft of creature comforts. Infotainment? Dream on.

The pedals are offset sharply to the right in this left-hand-drive car, with the clutch positioned dead-ahead where you’d usually find the brake. UK cars came with power steering, but this Spanish RS does without, so manoeuvring between parked Porsches at Autofarm is a bicep-busting effort. A lumpier cam (the only engine modification) also makes it embarrassingly easy to stall.

Escaping onto the Oxfordshire lanes, it’s time to let the RS off the leash. The mechanical clatter of its flat-six hardens to a visceral snarl as the revs rise. Below 4,000rpm it feels merely quick – then all hell breaks loose and it explodes to the 6,800rpm redline faster than you can grab the next gear. It’s uncouth, uncompromising and utterly fantastic.

The brakes require a firm shove, but all the controls are deliciously analogue. Riding on 40mm-lowered suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels, the 964 feels totally tied-down – like a Carrera Cup racer with number plates. Perhaps less really is more, after all?

Reliability and running costsPorsche 964 Carrera RS

The Porsche 911 is famed for its bulletproof mechanicals. And the RS produces just 11hp more than a standard 964 Carrera, so its engine isn’t unduly stressed. You need to judge each car on its individual merits; some have been worked hard at track days, while others have led pampered lives in air-conditioned garages. Originality is ultimately more important than mileage, as bespoke RS parts – such as the thinner glass and aluminium bonnet – are rare and expensive.

With any luck, other running costs, such as maintenance, insurance and road tax, can be offset against the car’s increase in value. Fuel bills won’t be cheap, of course, but this isn’t a car you will drive every day. Or is it?

Could I drive it every day?Porsche 964 Carrera RS

We’d shake the hand of anyone who does their daily commute in a 964 RS, but such owners are few and far-between – soaring values have seen to that. We could live with the heavy steering (not an issue on UK-spec cars, as noted above) and lack of air-con, but the ride is only borderline acceptable on broken British bitumen. What feels taut and agile on Sunday morning could be tiresome and annoying by Monday morning.

Better to savour the RS as a car for special occasions. A car to drive just for the hell – or indeed heaven – of it. On narrow lanes in Wales or the Scottish Highlands, the diminutive Porsche could keep pace with many of today’s bloated supercars. And its driver would have more fun, too.

How much should I pay?Porsche 964 Carrera RS

You probably won’t find an RS for less than six figures, such is the demand for this classic Porsche. Expect to pay from £150,000 for a well-cared-for example, with the very best cars advertised at nearly double that. Not bad for a car that cost £61,000 in 1991.

This particular ‘matching numbers’ RS has covered 77,000 miles from new and has just benefited from a £50,000 Autofarm renovation – including a respray in the original Guards Red. As such, it looks decent value at £168,000.

What should I look out for?Mikey Wastie

Mikey Wastie is managing director at Autofarm and an acknowledged Porsche expert. Here are his five tips for buying a 964 RS:

  • Some have been used as track day cars, so check for brake and suspension wear
  • Authenticity is key. Has it got the correct numbers on the engine and chassis? History is important, too – you need to know what it’s done and where it’s been
  • Has it still got the correct magnesium wheels? Keep an eye out for poorly refurbished ones or spider blistering
  • Gauges are prone to the printed face delaminating – a problem on all 964s
  • Check for front boot floor damage. Accident repairs should be easy to spot here

Should I buy one?Porsche 964 Carrera RS

The 964 Carrera RS is the Porsche 911 in one of its purest forms. Raw and unfiltered, it distils all that’s great about Germany’s sports car into a shot of pure petrolhead adrenalin. It’s a car you’ll ache to spend time with, to learn its quirks and exploit its talents. The buzz of driving it stayed with us many hours after we reluctantly handed back the keys.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford one, go for it. There are few better investments in the world of classic cars than a 911 with an RS badge. The only problem is, you’ll never want to sell it.

Pub factRUF CTR

The previous owner of ‘our’ 964 fitted various upgrades from Porsche tuner, RUF. These included spoilers and an innovative ‘Electric Foot’ EKS clutchless semi-automatic gearbox. Autofarm has since returned the car to standard ‘Lightweight’ spec – as it left the factory.

The 911 pictured is the famous RUF CTR Yellowbird, a turbocharged 964 that starred in the famous ‘Faszination on the Nurburgring’ video (look it up on YouTube), driven by Stefan Roser.

Foxes learning to drive

Four in 10 learner drivers are aged OVER 25

Foxes learning to driveLearning to drive used to be a rite of passage as soon as you reached 17 years of age, but new research from Auto Trader shows that’s no longer the case: 44% of learner drivers today are OVER the age of 25.

Indeed, 21% fewer people aged 17-20 are now learning to drive compared with nine years ago, and just 34% of Britain’s current learner drivers are between 17 and 20 years of age.

Why? It’s not entirely clear: 56% of those aged over 25 admit they anticipated driving at an earlier age, but for whatever reason have put it off.

The most likely reason for people putting off learning to drive is cost: almost half of older learners say they perhaps would have learnt to drive at a younger age if it were cheaper.

As people get older, the learner driver challenges change: the primary concern of those aged over 25 is a lack of confidence, with half admitting they’re worried about how long the process will take – potentially because they have been offered a job that requires them to have a driving licence.

Auto Trader, in partnership with RED driving school, spoke with several new drivers to find out their worries. Elizabeth Oakley is a 29 year old from London who admits “I wish I had spurred myself on more to get on the road when I was 17.

“I had much more free time and could have relied on my parents for help and support – but it’s a much bigger challenge 12 years on (with) a full-time job.”

Koenigsegg Nürburgring One:1 incident – the aftermath

Koenigsegg: ABS fault caused high-speed Nürburgring crash

Koenigsegg Nürburgring One:1 incident – the aftermathKoenigsegg has revealed a fault with a front ABS wheel sensor was the cause of its severe high-speed smash at the Nürburgring on Monday 18 July – but the Swedish supercar company has said it WILL return to the Nordschleife to go lap record-chasing.

More car news on Motoring Research

Because the ABS system was faulty, the Koenigsegg One:1 hypercar locked its front brakes at 170km/h (105mph) going into the tricky Fuchsrohre section, revealed Koenigsegg: its data shows the car hit a fence at 110km/h and was launched into the air for 22 metres.

The car turned 180 degrees, landed on its left rear wheel and pivoted to finally land parallel to the fence.

A small fire followed in the rear section, but this was traced to the carbonfibre bodywork making contact with the hot exhausts: the fuel shut-off system worked as it should, as did the airbags and other safety systems.

ABS alert

So why wasn’t the unnamed driver aware of the fault? Koenigsegg says that a warning light was glowing to say there was a fault with the ABS system – but as it’s a small light located in the centre of the dash, the helmet-clad driver didn’t spot it.

To be honest, they were probably concentrated on other things.

They also wouldn’t have noticed any difference in brake pedal feel – until they activated the ABS. The Fuchsrohre section is one of the first sections on the Nordschleife where ABS is activated…

Koenigsegg engineers took time out at the Swedish factory on Wednesday 20 July trying to replicate the fault: they disconnected the front left wheel ABS sensor and braked hard from high speed. The behaviour of the car exactly matched that of the Nürburgring crash.

Koenigsegg now has the crashed One:1 back in the workshop at its HQ, and today has released an image of the disassembled car. As you can see, it’s stood up to the high-speed crash well, and even both doors could be opened and closed cleanly.

‘We will be back’

The crash hasn’t put Koenigsegg off chasing a new record Nürburgring time either, but the company says it will take some time out to rebuild the car and roll out technical updates that will be fitted to customer cars too.

“Will we be back this year? That is… hard to say at this point, but we won’t say a definite ‘no’.”

Oh, and how is the driver? Fine. He went to hospital for precautionary tests, but was released later the same afternoon. Koenigsegg even thanked him for putting out the fire straight after the incident.