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Saudi oil attacks: are fuel costs about to skyrocket?

fuel price rises saudi attacks

The attacks on Saudi oil facilities and the subsequent reaction in the oil markets are raising concerns over where price of fuel will go. More specifically, are prices about to increase?

The attacks are reported to have knocked out over half of the country’s crude oil output. The result was a 20 percent price jump, to over $57 a barrel. This is the biggest percentage increase in three decades.

“In the oil universe, this attack is perhaps equivalent to the 9/11 attacks,” said Tilak Doshi, a representative from oil and gas consultants Muse, Stancil and Co.

fuel price rises saudi attacks

“Abqaiq is easily the world’s single most important oil production and processing infrastructure site.”

Saudi oil attacks: how will it affect UK fuel costs?

The RAC has addressed what the attacks mean on UK soil. “There was an inevitable initial panic-driven surge in the oil price on Monday morning, but the situation then cooled,” said RAC spokesperson, Simon Williams.

“While the wholesale prices of both petrol and diesel look set to increase by 3p a litre, this doesn’t necessarily mean higher prices at the pumps because retailers only just began to pass on overdue wholesale price savings at the end of last week. At that point the 128p forecourt price of petrol was 7p too high which means retailers should have a cushion to absorb the spike.”

fuel price rises saudi attacks

In short, UK fuel suppliers are in arrears with the consumer. That’s to say, there should be savings to come before the prices at the pumps reflect the events overseas. Or, at the very least, the price shouldn’t fly like many are predicting. Not in the short term, anyway. Williams continues:

“If the barrel price remains high for a sustained period however, it could easily lead to several pence a litre being added to the average price of both fuels. Even after Friday’s 3p supermarket cut petrol is still averaging 127.77p and diesel 131.26p.”

Oil supply disruption: is there a plan B?

fuel price rises saudi attacks

“We are hopeful the fact the US is releasing emergency oil stocks and that Saudi Arabia operates a global storage network will mean that drivers here in the UK will not be too harshly affected.”

As above, oil operations on this kind of scale are global. This specific attack shouldn’t leave UK drivers pinching pennies at the pumps. It will be in the interests of all to soften the blow on consumers.

The ultimate classic Ferrari number plate is up for sale

Ferrari 250 S plate for sale

Do you own a classic Ferrari 250? Are you looking for the perfect personalised number plate? Your luck might be in, as the UK’s DVLA is about to put ‘250 S’ up for sale. It will hit the block tomorrow at the 17 September autumn auction.

The reserve is £2,500, which might seem like a lot for registration plate, but hold up. A similar plate, ’25 O’, bought for a 250 Short Wheelbase, became the highest-priced personal plate sold by the DVLA in 2014, hammering for £400,000.

Ferrari 250 S plate for sale

The chances are, however, that if you’re the recent purchaser of a Ferrari 250, £400,000 isn’t going to seem like an awful lot. The potential with this new plate is huge – even the DVLA isn’t sure how high it will go.

“While we have high expectations for every one of our 1,250 lots on offer, there’s no question the personalised registration ‘250 S’ could be of particular significance for those collectors of ultra-rare Ferraris out there. As for its value, we cannot predict what it will fetch.” 

Ferrari 250 S plate for sale

Getting into specifics, the 250 S is the first of many 250-badged Ferraris built in the 50s and 60s. It first raced at the 1952 Mille Miglia and then at Le Mans. The name ‘250’ came from the size of the engine, divided by the number of cylinders. In this case, it’s a 3.0-litre 12-cylinder, so that’s 3,000cc divided by 12 – 250.

There are a couple of other Ferrari-themed plates up for grabs, too. Got a 488 Pista or F8 Tributo that’s missing a little somethng? Fear not. ‘P115 TAA’ and ‘T218 UTO’ are available. They’re a bit more attainable, each with £250 price tags. They, along with ‘250 S’ will be among some 1,250 plates up for sale.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

Original 1948 motor show Land Rover brought back to life

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

The car that introduced Land Rover to the world has been brought back to life. The 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show star has been off the road since the 1960s and lost for decades before it was found in 2016. But Land Rover has now treated this historic vehicle to a ‘sympathetic restoration’.

Land Rover was determined to keep the car original, as seen in 1948, with left-hand drive, a prototype brake setup and alternative all-wheel-drive controls.

It was stripped back to its individual components and each part was restored and reused if possible, to maintain maximum originality.

Restoring a classic Land Rover

Series 1 1948 restoration

“It was important to strike the right balance when restoring the launch Land Rover,” said Calum McKechnie, head of Land Rover Classic.

“While there was a need to replace some parts, we were keen to keep as much of the original vehicle as possible in order to retain the unique characteristics of this 70-year-old model. The team has done an incredible job and the end result is a testament to the unique expertise and tireless passion of the experts at our Classic Works facility.”

So while the front axle, for example, was found to be in a respectable condition, the rear axle wasn’t so clean. To get a feel for the axle’s condition on the inside, the team X-rayed it. They concluded it was strong enough to be restored and reinstalled, rather than replaced.

Series 1 1948 restoration

The ‘organ stop’ controls for the all-wheel-drive system were also saved. It’s a rare setup that was replaced with a simpler system on production cars. 

Even more difficult for the technicians was reproducing this prototype’s unique rear brake setup. It had been removed in a previous life, so they used period drawings to recreate it.

On a technical level, this Series 1 has been brought back to its 1948 Motor Show standard. As a ‘show car’, however, it’s been left a little more rough around the edges. Land Rover wanted to maintain a period patina.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

Some new bodywork was required. Alloy panels, as fitted to early prototype Series 1s, were re-manufactured in the 2mm-thick original specification. These were then painted and aged, to match the worn original panels that didn’t need work.

Technical illustrations helped Land Rover stay true to other quirks. A combination of reference photographs, diagrams and study of other pre-production Series 1s helped the marque recreate this prototype as it was in 1948. 

The restored show car debuted on the Land Rover Classic stand at the Goodwood Revival, just days after the long-awaited reveal of the new Defender.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

“Bringing this historically important Land Rover back to life was a huge challenge, given its wear, tear and decay from the elements since the 1960s, but also a real pleasure,” said Michael Bishop, Land Rover Classic build engineer.

“Being able to open up our archive and revisit the original Land Rover engineering programme from over 70 years ago was a great privilege for the whole team.”

Electric cars will simply be called ‘cars’ by 2030

The normalisation of electric cars

Just 3,147 all-electric cars were registered in the UK last month, giving EVs a relatively small 3.4 percent market share.

As a result, they tend to be referred to as ‘electric cars’, to distinguish them from their petrol and diesel equivalents.

But as the market grows and electric cars become the norm, will we stop using the ‘electric’ tag and adopt a more generalised approach? See also ‘smartphones’ and ‘phones’.

New research suggests that by the year 2030, consumers expect ‘electric cars’ to be referred to as ‘cars’, as electrification takes over and traditional engines are cast aside.

Go Ultra Low spoke to 2,000 people aged 18 and over, with 69 percent of the respondents expecting to drop the ‘electric’ tag in just over a decade.

It makes sense: few consumers use the ‘diesel’ or ‘petrol’ tags when discussing cars, so electric cars are almost certain to follow suit. 

The sales figures speak for themselves. In August 2018, a mere 659 all-electric cars were registered, far fewer than the 3,125 plug-in hybrid registrations.

A year later, the roles have reversed, with plug-in hybrid registrations dropping to 907 in August 2019 and EVs rising to 3,147.

The normalisation of EVs

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Almost half of the respondents who took part in the survey said the visibility of electric cars on the road is a key factor in the normalisation of the technology. 

Around a third said seeing their friends and families adopting the technology is part of the process of normalisation.

A quarter of those surveyed said a wider variety of models would increase their purchase consideration. We’re on the cusp of a boom in the number of new electric cars, ranging from affordable city cars to expensive supercars.

The fact that the electric versions of the Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa look almost identical to the petrol and diesel versions could be a turning point for the segment.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is reporting huge interest in the new ID.3, which has the potential to become the ‘new Golf’ in terms of mass appeal and sales.

‘EVs to be the norm’

Electric cars at Frankfurt IAA

Go Ultra Low ambassador Ben Fogle said: “It’s really encouraging to see that people expect EVs to be the norm in just over a decade. Our research shows that as we become more aware of the benefits of owning an electric car, the choice of models available and the rapidly growing charging infrastructure, people are more likely to consider going green and buy an EV.

“Commenting on joining the campaign, Ben added: “More and more people are embracing electric vehicles, but there’s still a job to be done. I’m excited to be on this journey with Go Ultra Low and playing my part in supporting this transition.”

Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, added: “When we look at the EV market, it is clear we’re on the way towards electric mobility becoming part of everyday life for UK motorists. Electric cars are great to drive, can be very cheap to run and help improve local air quality.

“With, prices moving closer to that of their petrol or diesel counterparts, an expanding chargepoint network and an increasing number of models available, there has never been a better time to consider an EV as your next car.

“As we welcome Ben as our ambassador and a host of new members to the campaign, bringing together government and key players across the EV industry, we’re now better placed than ever to tell the full story of electric car ownership.”

In August, Jaguar launched a campaign to redefine the word ‘car’.

The best money-saving motoring secrets

Money-saving motoring secrets

Are your motoring costs going through the roof? Some of the following tips will save you many pounds, others just a few pennies, but they all add up. If owning and running a car is proving to be expensive, read on for some ideas on how to reduce your costs.

Ditch the diesel and buy a petrol car

Money-saving motoring secrets

Diesel is no longer a guaranteed way to save money. For starters, diesel cars cost more than petrol cars – on a supermini-sized car, the premium can be 10 percent or more. Diesel will cost you more at the pumps, and while they usually give better economy, efficient new petrol engines are catching up. Unless your annual mileage is very high, you should stick to petrol.

Check your tyre pressures

Money-saving motoring secrets

This simple check can save you plenty. Sure, it might cost you 50p or £1 to check your pressures at a petrol station, but the savings soon add up: tyres underinflated by 15psi – a difference you may not notice from a visual glance – can use six percent more fuel. That’s the difference between averaging 40mpg and 42mpg.

Find cheaper fuel

Money-saving motoring secrets

Use a website like Petrolprices.com to find the cheapest fuel in your area. The difference can be huge, adding up to many pennies per litre. Be warned: driving out of your way to pick up cheap fuel is a false economy, which becomes even more negligible the less economical your car. Never fill up at a motorway services unless you’re desperate for fuel – the costs can be astronomical.

Share your car

Money-saving motoring secrets

Do you need to drive? Could you car share instead? You don’t even need to know someone going in the same direction: services such as BlaBlaCar bring trusted carpooling to everyone. Simply enter where you are and where you want to go, and the service will search for available rides. You can even add your own car to the service.

Empty your boot

Money-saving motoring secrets

Don’t carry unnecessary weight around with you. A boot full of junk means you’re using extra fuel for nothing. Emptying it out will give small savings that will add up the more you drive, particularly if your motoring is mainly stop-start driving. While you’re there, remember to remove your roof rack and roof box when they’re not in use.

Take an advanced driving course

Money-saving motoring secrets

An advanced course will teach you how to drive economically – you’ll still make good progress but be doing it in a more efficient way. Hypermiling is the art of driving as economically as possible and once you take on the challenge, it can become addictive.

Haggle for cheaper insurance

Money-saving motoring secrets

Car insurance is one of the biggest motoring costs you face. NEVER accept your auto-renewal quote – give your insurer a call to see if you can haggle and reduce it. Better still, arm yourself with a car insurance comparison quote, to see how well your figure compares.

Add family members to your car insurance

Money-saving motoring secrets

We’re not recommending ‘fronting’, which is where a parent insures their child’s car in their name and adds them as a named driver, even though the parent never drives the car. This is illegal. But adding your partner as a named driver on the family car can balance the risk and reduce your premium by a few pounds.

Do some basic pre-MOT checks

Money-saving motoring secrets

There are really simple things you can check for prior to an MOT – whether your bulbs are all working, the condition of your tyres, the state of your windscreen wipers, even if the washer bottle contains any fluid. No matter how simple they are, the garage won’t rectify them before completing the MOT, and will fail you for the most minor faults. Why risk the inconvenience and potential expense?

Appeal against parking tickets

Money-saving motoring secrets

Think you’ve been unfairly caught out by a parking ticket? Try appealing it. Provide evidence, check the terms and conditions, present a compelling case, and sometimes the ticket can be overturned.

Find cheap or free parking spaces in advance

Money-saving motoring secrets

Don’t park in the closest car park you can find, or the one you know the best. Check there isn’t a cheaper one nearby first, using apps such as Parkopedia. Particularly in big cities, this can save you a fortune. If you’re travelling to an unfamiliar place, plan your parking in advance.

Source car parts yourself

Money-saving motoring secrets

Been quoted big money by a dealer to replace parts? Consider buying them yourself online and using a local garage to fit them. This can potentially save you several hundred pounds. If you’re running an older car, eBay can be helpful in sourcing rare parts and accessories.

Don’t overestimate your annual mileage when buying insurance

Money-saving motoring secrets

If you tell your insurance company you cover 10,000 miles a year but you actually drive far less, you could be paying for a higher-risk premium than is actually the case. Give the company a realistic future instead, but don’t underestimate, or you could be left without cover.

Keep off the kerb

Money-saving motoring secrets

It’s amazing how many people drive up and down kerbs. This damages the metal wires in the sidewall of the tyre (and often the alloy wheel itself), and will eventually lead to a puncture. Not only will avoiding driving up and down kerbs save you money, it will also keep you safe.

Park away from other vehicles

Money-saving motoring secrets

If your car is on finance, it will be assessed for condition before you hand it back. You’ll be charged if any rectification is needed. An easy way to reduce the risk of damage it to park away from other cars, so their car doors can’t damage it, and they can’t scrape it when driving in and out. Remember, even small car park panel dents are logged by the dealer on the condition report.

Buy a smartphone holder

Money-saving motoring secrets

If you are caught using a hand-held mobile phone behind the wheel, you face a £200 fine and six points on your licence. Use your smartphone for navigation or as an audio player? Then avoid the risk by installing it in a smartphone holder.

Don’t use your windscreen wipers on ice

Money-saving motoring secrets

Windscreen wipers can cost £20 or more to replace and they’ll wear out much more quickly if you use them on ice in winter. Scrape the screen or use de-icer instead to avoid damaging your wiper blades.

Don’t press the accelerator when you start the car

Money-saving motoring secrets

Every new car has engine electronics that regulate the car starting procedure. In the past, you needed to use a little gas to get the car running, but this is no longer necessary. So don’t waste the extra fuel and risk damage to your engine by doing it: the car will start cleanly without.

Drive gently when the car is cold

Money-saving motoring secrets

Cars are at their least efficient when they are cold. If you drive quickly straight from start-up, you are redoubling the wasted fuel, and also wearing out the engine more quickly in the process. Show some mechanical sympathy and you’ll immediately start saving money.

Stick to your PCP mileage limit

Money-saving motoring secrets

If your PCP car finance scheme covers you for 9,000 miles a year and you actually cover 10,000 miles a year, you face excess mileage surcharges at the end of it. These can be punitive, but even a minor-sounding 0.06p per mile surcharge adds up to a £180 bill if you go 3,000 miles over. Often, it would have been cheaper to factor this mileage into the PCP deal in the first place.

Don’t pay extra for premium fuel

Money-saving motoring secrets

Fuel sold in the UK is some of the best in the world. If you have a regular car with a normal-output engine, standard 95-octane unleaded fuel or everyday diesel will be fine. You won’t feel any benefit from using higher-octane premium fuels, but will notice the significant extra expense when you fill up.

Consider joining a car club

Money-saving motoring secrets

Don’t use your car much? You might save money by simply borrowing a car whenever you need one, rather than paying out for tax and insurance on a car you only use occasionally. Car clubs usually let you reserve cars via an online app, and you can often borrow them for anything from half an hour to a couple of days. Many clubs cost as little as 30p a minute or £5 an hour for all-inclusive use, or you can pay more for a bigger or more upmarket car.

Monitor your fuel economy

Money-saving motoring secrets

Don’t rely on the trip computer to monitor fuel economy – they’re not always accurate – but use an app on your phone to calculate your MPG every time you fill up. Once you know how well it performs, work out how you can improve it – and challenge yourself by making a game of it.

Wash your car yourself

Money-saving motoring secrets

Hand car wash centres charge just a few pounds and save you effort, so where’s the harm? Well, even a £5 fortnightly car wash adds up to £120 a year: doing it yourself will not only save you, it will also allow you to keep an eye on the condition of your car and get any damage rectified before it gets too bad.

Know how to buy economical tyres

Money-saving motoring secrets

Need new tyres? While it might be tempting to go for the cheapest available, that can prove to be a mistake in the long run. Not only are such tyres inferior in terms of braking and handling, but they may also hit your fuel economy. All tyres sold are fitted with an EU tyre label with a fuel efficiency rating. An ‘A’ rating means the tyre decreases the energy lost through the tyre (often referred to as ‘low rolling resistance’), while a G rating is the worst performing, resulting in increased CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

Use your smartphone to avoid extra parking charges

Money-saving motoring secrets

Paid for parking? Not returning to your car in time can prove expensive if you’re hit with a fine. But many parking companies offer a service which lets you use an app on your phone to pay for parking. Although there is a small convenience fee, it’ll notify you when your parking is nearly up – and you can extend it remotely so you’re not caught out.

If you’re young, research car insurance carefully

Money-saving motoring secrets

Unfortunately, being a young driver means you’re going to get stung for car insurance. But there are ways to make it cheaper. Try getting quotes for a wide variety of cars. Although you’d expect small cars in low insurance groups to be cheaper to insure, you might find a few exceptions. Use comparison sites to shop around and try approaching a few companies directly. Also consider a ‘black box’ telematics policy to help you build up a no-claims discount.

Buy road tax annually, not monthly

Money-saving motoring secrets

You can pay vehicle excise duty (VED) annually, monthly or every six months. Many opt for monthly, but it works out more expensive over the entire year. Pay the full amount at the start of the year to know that it’s paid for the rest of the year. If you’re strapped for cash, consider taking out a zero percent interest credit card and setting up a direct debit to pay it off over the year. It’ll work out cheaper than choosing the monthly option.

Comprehensive insurance might be the cheapest option

Money-saving motoring secrets

If you’re on a budget, many assume third-party insurance (the minimum legal requirement which only covers damage to other vehicles) will be the cheapest. But try getting quotes for fully comprehensive cover. The weird algorithm of insurance companies’ computers often means it’s cheaper than third-party only.

Buy a classic car over 40 years old to save on VED

Money-saving motoring secrets

You could save money by buying a classic car. Vehicles registered more than 40 years ago are exempt from paying tax, which could make for a significant saving. Buy sensibly and you could also save on insurance – and the car might even appreciate.

Consumer group wants these cars fixed for FREE

Nissan Qashqai slammed in reliability studyNissan Qashqai slammed in reliability study

Five cars have been slammed in a new reliability survey, including the Nissan Qashqai, Britain’s most popular crossover.

The Qashqai has the highest breakdown rating of the 276 cars in study by consumer group Which?. It also singled out the Tesla Model S, Seat Alhambra, Ford B-Max and BMW 5 Series Touring for criticism.

Worryingly, motorists are four to five times as likely to experience a flat battery in a Qashqai than in any other car. Twenty percent of Qashqai owners who took part in the survey had to replace a battery in the past 12 months.

Nissan said it changed its battery supplier in 2018, but a separate software issue could result in drained batteries. The company is contacting 35,000 owners, but older cars are not covered by Nissan’s three-year warranty.

This has angered Which?, which wants the cars fixed at no charge to the customer. 

‘Take action and recall these cars’

Tesla Model S - greatest cars of the decade

Which? Car editor Lisa Barber said: “Thanks to our in-depth reliability survey, we know these faults are happening. They may not be safety critical, but we still want the manufacturers to take action and recall these cars.

“This will mean information about the faults are public, owners won’t be inconvenienced by them, nor will they have to foot the bill if the issue occurs outside of warranty.”

The Nissan Qashqai isn’t alone. Two-thirds (67 percent) of Tesla Model S reported an issue, making Tesla the company with the highest percentage of faulty cars.

Tesla owners are forced to wait an average of five days for their car to be repaired – three days longer than the average wait time for cars of a similar age.

The biggest issues with the Tesla Model S: the exterior door handles, locks, fuel cap and boot.

Seat Alhambra Xcellence

Meanwhile, the Seat Alhambra is blighted by suspension and exhaust problems, the Ford B-Max (2012-2017) is affected by transmission woes, and owners of the BMW 5 Series Touring (2010-2017) have experienced suspension issues.

For the survey, Which? gathered information from nearly 44,000 owners about 52,500 cars. Members can use an online tool revealing the most and least reliable cars.

Recovery workers offered smart motorway training

Smart motorway training for recovery operators

Roadside rescue and recovery operators are to be offered smart motorway training in a bid to improve safety. 

The new course – the Smart Motorways Awareness For The Roadside Rescue & Recovery Industry – is the first of its kind and has been developed by Highways England and the Network Training Partnership.

Operators will receive guidance on how to attend breakdowns or collisions on the smart motorway network.

In August, Highways England data revealed that breaking down in a live lane on an all-lane-running smart motorway is 216 percent more dangerous than doing so on a conventional motorway with a hard shoulder.

Earlier this month, we reported that the widow of a man killed on the M1 is suing Highways England, claiming the smart motorway is directly responsible for his death.

The one-day course will cover the working methods that enable recovery operatives to carry out their roles safely. Key principles include:

  • Operators are NEVER expected to recover a vehicle in a live lane on a smart motorway.
  • Highways England can close lanes and set speed limits to support recovery operators.
  • Highways England can allocate traffic officers or call the emergency services to maintain safety.

‘Developed specifically for roadside rescue and recovery drivers’

car breakdown

Colin Stevenson, strategic partnership manager at Highways England, said: “The course has been developed specifically for roadside rescue and recovery drivers who use the motorway network and has been designed to aid practical, relevant training.

“Those completing the course will have a better understanding of the different types of smart motorways and how to formulate a recovery plan incorporating safe working practices when dealing with incidents on smart motorways.”

Chris Hoare, chairman of the Institute of Vehicle Recovery, added: “The Institute of Vehicle Recovery (IVR) has given its backing to the new smart motorways recovery vehicle awareness course, which gives all in the recovery industry a greater awareness of some of the additional considerations when working on a smart motorway.

“IVR’s previous collaborations with HE and other agencies produced the Life on the Edge 7 film and the SURVIVE Safety Rules, both of which are incorporated in the course. This collaborative approach of sharing best practice to deliver clear consistent messages, raises standards and ultimately provides a safer working environment for those operating in the vehicle recovery sector.”

Anyone wishing to enrol on the course should email Highways England.

2019 Vision Mercedes Simplex

Radical Mercedes-Benz sculpture celebrates past and future models

2019 Vision Mercedes SimplexMercedes-Benz has unveiled a special sculpture, intended to recognise the development of the design language used by the brand

The Vision Mercedes Simplex is just for show, but incorporates styling cues taken from classic Mercedes models. Yet the materials used, and the technology contained within, are thoroughly modern in their origins. 

According to Mercedes-Benz, this sculpture shows that the company “is continuing to drive forward the transformation of the car and of mobility”.

The original Mercedes

2019 Vision Mercedes SimplexInspiration has been taken from the Mercedes 35 PS, built in 1901 as the first car to wear the Mercedes name. Created by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, it marked one of the earliest car designs to feature a bespoke chassis and a powerful engine. 

The 35 PS was also successful in early motorsport competition, dominating the 1901 Nice-La Turbie race week event. The race car could achieve speeds of up to 56 mph, and was also adapted for road use. 

Just like the 35 PS, the new Vision Mercedes Simplex has been created as a two-seater, with styling dominated by the large uncovered wheels.

2019 Vision Mercedes SimplexAlso taken from the 1901 original is the distinctive radiator grille. A rose gold surround has been used to emulate the bronze finish from the 35 PS. However, that car did not have a 3D black panel display to digitally display the Mercedes-Benz logo or other animations.

The technology is similar to that seen on the EQS concept car, revealed this week at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. 

There is no windscreen, and the rose gold bonnet latches are another neat nod towards the 35 PS. Wraparound LED rear lights are, however, totally contemporary in their execution.

Clean and contemporary 

2019 Vision Mercedes SimplexAn ultra-minimalist interior is, according to Mercedes, also said to pay homage to earlier racing models. Motorcycles and nautical elements are also said to have been incorporated into the exposed steering column and steering wheel.

It does give the Vision Mercedes Simplex a resemblance to a classic Ford Model T hot rod. Although we cannot recall seeing one of those fitted with an interactive digital instrument display, surrounded in rose gold. 

Chesterfield quilting has been used for the azure blue bench seat, whilst the storage compartment openers feature yet more rose gold. A handcrafted leather bag can also be found mounted between the rear wheels. 

2019 Vision Mercedes SimplexWhilst very much a concept, the Vision Mercedes Simplex is intended to illustrate the direction the company will take in the near future. 

Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener commented that only “a brand that is as strong as Mercedes-Benz is capable of the physical symbiosis of history and future” in creating the Vision Mercedes Simplex. Wagner also noted that the sculpture “symbolises the transformation of the brand-specific luxury of Mercedes-Benz”.

One of the four Mercedes-Benz International Design Centres is located in Nice, France, actually upon the route of the Nice-La Turbie race.

Abarth 595 Pista is a pumped-up Italian tearaway

New Abarth 595 Pista

Anything Ferrari can do, Abarth can do… smaller. And cheaper, too.

While Ferrari’s track-focused 488 Pista might be out of reach to all but a select few, the new Abarth 595 Pista is available for a more attainable price.

The performance-enhanced Abarth is priced from £19,135. Alternatively, if you take the plunge before the end of the month, the 595 Abarth is available on a Personal Contract Hire (PCH) deal for £189 a month after a £3,780 initial rental.

More power and punch

Abarth 595 Pista on track

A new, oversized Garrett turbocharger sees the power output increased to 165hp, while the peak torque of 170lb ft is available at 2,250pm. It means that the torque is available at lower rpm, while top power is delivered at maximum revs. Which should result in maximum fun.

The Abarth 595 Pista also gets the excellent Record Monza active exhaust, Koni rear suspension with frequency selective damping, an automated manual five-speed gearbox with shift paddles, 284mm ventilated discs on the front and 240mm discs on the rear.

Inside, the Abarth 595 Pista gets a flat bottom steering wheel and a Sport button to adjust peak torque, steering feel and throttle response. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and DAB digital radio are all standard.

The Pista is one of a number of Abarth 595 models available in the UK, with the range including the standard 145hp version, the 165hp Turismo, the 180hp Competizione and the Esseesse. The range starts from £16,685, rising to £25,485 for the Esseesse.

Taking the Pista

Abarth 595 Pista seats

The 595 Pista is designed for younger drivers who want a little extra from the 595, but can’t stretch to one of the top-end models. 

Abarth hasn’t said when deliveries will start, but you’ll need to place your order before the end of September to take advantage of the PCH offer.

Click here to read our guide to car finance, including Personal Contract Hire (PCH).

The Porsche Taycan won’t be profitable until 2023

Porsche Taycan won't be profitable until 2023

The Taycan is arguably one of the most important model launches in Porsche’s history. It’s also one of the marque’s most expensive investments. It has pumped more than £5.3billion into the project, including the construction of the factory.

It might surprise you to discover, then, that Porsche doesn’t expect the Taycan to turn a profit until 2023.

This is nothing Porsche wasn’t prepared for – the primary expense is battery production. The marque anticipates that over the coming years, battery costs will take a significant tumble. Speaking with Bloomberg, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said he expected the Taycan to make a “good margin” eventually. 

This is part of the reason why Porsche has launched with the expensive Taycan Turbo and Turbo S models. The truth is they’re not that much more expensive to build than lower-end models. 

Porsche Taycan won't be profitable until 2023

This is also why Tesla launches it’s highest performing and most expensive variants first. That’s why we’re still waiting for the most affordable Model 3, three years after the standard car’s reveal.

Consider also the high volume of fully-electric hypercars that have been revealed of late. A seven-figure list price can absorb the cost of batteries and motors, however high-performance they may be. In turn, you introduce electric power to the zeitgeist while advancing battery and e motor development. It’s a win-win. Going a bit further down the affordability tree for the Taycan is a bit of a brave pill for Porsche.

The Taycan is the head of an electric revolution, though. A loss-leader it may be, but you don’t build an entirely new factory for the sake of producing one expensive car.

Porsche Taycan won't be profitable until 2023

Porsche has been very open about wanting the next-generation Macan to have an all-electric variant. Likewise, an all-electric 911 can’t be more than ten years away. Porsche is one in an automotive group, too. Technical partners are never far away, which in the case of this electric endeavour, it has found in Audi.

The coming E-Tron GT super saloon will borrow some hard-won and expensive Taycan knowhow. The Taycan treads new ground for Porsche, and treading new ground tends to be expensive. But many more models and variants to come will follow in those footsteps.

In terms of production numbers, the Taycan isn’t expected to outstrip the 911, of which around 35,000 are built every year. As we and Bloomberg have previously reported, the 911 is the most profitable car in the world in terms of numbers made versus profit margins.