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).

How to avoid distractions behind the wheel

Distractions behind the wheel

Distractions behind the wheel are a quick shortcut to a dangerous situation on the road. Avoiding them will dramatically improve your chances of getting where you want to go with you, your passengers and your car in one piece.

We outline the biggest distractions behind the wheel, and how to avoid them.

Distractions can be visual, auditory, physical or cognitive. Are you looking at, listening to or thinking about something that’s taking your attention away from the road? Are you doing something in addition to driving? Doubling any of the above with driving can dramatically reduce your driving performance across the board, from your reaction times and your decision-making, to your overall control of the vehicle.

Distracted behind the wheel

“As drivers we now deal with more distractions than ever before,” says Sandra Macdonald-Ames, road safety author. 

“There are so many potential demands on our attention, some inside the car, some on the outside and others occurring inside our heads. There is the potential for us to allow any distraction to take our minds off the central task of driving – with potentially disastrous consequences.

“But the good news is that we can banish just about any distraction, as long as we want to. This is best achieved through straightforward self-discipline and sensible journey planning.”

Driven to distraction

touchscreen distraction highways england

So what exactly distracts us most, and how do we stop? As above, happily, it’s mostly about self-control, pre-planning and control over your passengers. Here are GEM Motoring Assist’s six tips for nipping those distractions behind the wheel.

Phones away

We barely need to explain this one. Six points and a £200 fine is what he or she who gets caught using a phone behind the wheel will receive. Put the phone on silent, out of reach and out of sight, to avoid the temptation to check it.

Bored in traffic? Still don’t… It’s illegal to use your phone behind the wheel unless you’re stationary, the engine is off and the keys are out of the ignition. Phones are one of the most hotly-debated distraction in motoring right now.

Map it out

Planning your route is a great way of making your journey easier. It means you’re prepared for every step of your journey, instead of getting distracted by every step of your journey. Having it rehearsed in your head means your sat-nav won’t be as much of a distraction, either.

Distractions behind the wheel 

DJ off the decks

Unlike the world’s best DJs, you won’t be criticised for having a prearranged set before you drive. In fact, we recommend it, so that you’re not tempted to faff about finding the song you want to listen to. Keep the volume down and don’t get too into it. We all love a singalong, but don’t let it turn your attention away from the road.

Busy the litter

Travelling with children? They can be the noisiest, liveliest distraction. Make sure they’ve got something to distract them, so they don’t distract you. Older children shouldn’t be too much of a bother. Getting their help with observations should prime them for when they get driving, too.

Distracted behind the wheel

Snack discipline

Your dietitian and your valeter won’t be the only one thanking you for keeping the food consumption out of the car. Holding a snack means you’ve got a hand off the wheel, and your mini meal could be a distraction. Pull over for a bite in a service station if you simply can’t wait. Breaks for food and drink are good practice on long trips, so it’s a win-win.

Wakey-wakey

Of course, all of this is for nothing if you’re in no state to drive yourself. Generally, you should be taking a 15-minute break every two hours. A well-rested, hydrated driver is a better and safer driver. If you’ve followed our advice above and pulled over for a bite, don’t let the mid-afternoon lunch lull get you. Get some fresh air, stretch your legs. A caffeinated beverage might be in order, too.

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.

Princess Anne’s Royal Bentley is up for grabs

Princess Anne's Bentley for sale

A Bentley formerly owned by ‘Britain’s hardest-working Royal’ is up for sale. You could own Princess Anne’s bespoke Bentley Arnage R, when it hits H&H Classics’ next live online Auction on 2 October. It’s estimated to fetch between £20,000 and £24,000.

This Arnage R was designed for use with the Special Escort Group, coming complete with blue flashing lights and a convoy ID light. As a nod to HRH Princess Anne, the Bentley B in the badges sits atop a pink enamel centre. 

Princess Anne's Bentley for sale

In the Princess’s ownership, it covered 10,000 miles before she moved it on (or had it moved in) in 2006. Since then, it’s covered another 35,000 miles. With 14 stamps in the service book from main dealers and specialists, and an MOT until May 2020, this Royal Arnage R is ready to go. 

The Arnage R packed 405hp and 616lb ft of torque, courtesy of a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Fit for a princess who was caught doing 93mph in her previous Bentley in 2001, then?

It’s a rare old beast, too, with just 373 right-hand-drive examples thought to have been produced.

Princess Anne's Bentley for sale

“The Arnage was the last of the Crewe-engineered, old school Bentleys and good examples are increasingly sought after by enthusiasts,” said Damian Jones of H&H Classics.

“Bentley Motors is celebrating its centenary this year and has supplied several vehicles to the British Royal Family. Buying this example would be a great way to celebrate the marque’s Big Birthday especially as it has managed to retain the convoy kit which is typically removed when these cars leave Royal Service.”

The Porsche 911 is the most profitable car in the world

Porsche 911 most profitable car

The most profitable car of 2019 cars been revealed. No, it’s not some unobtainable hypercar with £10,000 carbon fibre cupholders or a million-unit-selling SUV. It’s the Porsche 911 – a car now famous for the fact that it’s one of Porsche’s lowest-selling models.

The 911 makes up just 11 percent of sales, but around 30 percent of Porsche’s earnings. Porsche makes a 47 percent margin on the model, as it brings in over €2billion (£1.8billion) per year for the marque. The only other car that beats it on profit margins is the Ferrari F8 Tributo, which has a 50 percent profit margin. 

However, the F8 Tributo makes up a mere 17 percent of Ferrari’s new vehicle contribution. That’s likely due to annual volumes. A total of 4,000 sales of the F8 Tributo looks insignificant, compared with the 38,000+ 911s that are built in a year. Sales of the 911 in 2018 alone – yes before the 992 – outstripped everything from Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari and Lamborghini, combined.

That’s some volume, especially when 47 percent of that take is profit. 

Porsche 911 most profitable car

That’s only on Carrera models, too, which are always the first out of the showroom for a new 911. More expensive variants such as the Turbo and GT3 are predicted to come with still-higher margins.

Michael Dean is the automotive equity research analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, the publisher of these figures. He called the earnings on these high-margin cars “disproportionately high”.

“It’s a very simple calculation: the 911 is very profitable in its own form, and when you add the variations, the margins became immense,” Dean said.

“If you assume they sell 10,000 Turbos anyway, plus GT3 and Turbo S, just the Turbo variants of the 911 alone could actually mean half a billion dollars in terms of profit for Porsche.”

Porsche 911 most profitable car

Porsche spoke of how pleased it is with the strong performance of the 911 in a company sales report.

“The 911 capacity to fascinate is stronger than ever,” said Porsche executive board member Detlev von Platen. 

“We just celebrated the world premiere of the new 911 at the end of the year at the Los Angeles auto show, and yet our sports car icon once again inspired more customers in 2018 than in the previous year.”

McLaren Senna recalled for fire risk

McLaren Senna recalled for fire risk

The McLaren Senna has officially been recalled due to a fire risk. This follows numerous reports of cars combusting, including the Senna of famous YouTuber, Salomondrin.

The cause of the fires has until now been unknown. However, the recall details an issue with wiring sustaining heat damage.

A branch of the vehicle harness runs close to a metal link pipe heat shield. The heat damage causes overfueling to the engine, which then increases catalyst temperatures. It’s the catalyst that has been identified as the source of the fire risk.

Cars affected were built between 21 June 2018 and 20 June 2019. McLaren advises owners that if they think their car may be affected, they should contact their McLaren dealer urgently, if it hasn’t already contacted them.

Salomondrin (real name Alejandro Salomon) posted a video of his car catching fire in January. He’d had the car less than two weeks, and had done around 400 miles, when it went up while he was driving. He claimed that while driving he noticed sparks and fire shooting from his exhaust, landing on the ground and staying lit.

He found an area where the car could burn without fear of setting surrounding trees or foliage on fire, and left it to do its thing.

McLaren Senna recalled for fire risk

The Senna joins a host of recent supercars that have suffered from fire issues. During testing recently, a prototype for the McLaren Speedtail burst into flames in Surrey, England.

A prominent past case of combusting supercars was the Porsche 911 GT3 of 2013. Following reports of multiple fires, Porsche recalled all ‘new’ GT3s for significant engine work.

Likewise, with the Ferrari 458, there were multiple incidents of cars catching fire. It was recalled for a change in adhesive, to a less flammable type.

Revealed: Britain’s best EV charging networks 2019

Tesla named best charging network 2019

Tesla “continues to set the gold-standard for EV charging experience”, according to a new study.

A satisfaction survey of more than 1,600 electric car drivers ranks Tesla as the UK’s number one charging network. The Supercharger network scored an impressive 94 out of 100.

More than 86 percent of Tesla drivers said they are ‘very satisfied’ with the charging network, with a further 10 percent claiming they are ‘somewhat satisfied’.

Tesla might find it hard to stay on top. A larger range of cars and increased sales will put pressure on the Supercharger network, while a loss of free charging for some owners could see a decline in satisfaction.

Indeed, Tesla’s satisfaction score, while impressive, is down 6 percent on this time last year.

Zap-Map, the organisation behind the study, asked charging network users to rank four key issues related to public chargers. 

Unsurprisingly, reliability is the most important factor, followed by speed of charging, cost and facilities at the charging network.

‘EV drivers are increasingly savvy’

Chargepoint network in Camelford Cornwall

Dr Ben Lane, CTO and joint MD at Zap-Map, said: “EV drivers are very clear as to what makes for a good charging experience with ‘reliability’ being the number one priority. EV users need to be able to access the whole of the UK network with confidence that the installed chargers will be working and available as advertised.

“EV drivers are increasingly savvy about the different levels of service offered by each of the UK’s charging networks and will change their driving routes to use those which offer the best service.

“This suggests that the market is becoming highly competitive, with EV users happy to pay for quality, but avoiding networks which fail to provide a good charging experience.”

Top 10 charging networks in the UK

PositionCharging networkScore (out of 100)
1.Tesla Supercharger94
2.InstaVolt86
3. Pod Point79
4.NewMotion77
5.Polar (BP Chargemaster)73
5.Shell Recharge73
7.ChargePlace Scotland72
8.Engenie70
8.GMEV (Greater Manchester)70
10.GeniePoint69

Click here for our guide to electric chargers.

How much does a no-claims bonus save you on car insurance?

No-claims bonus savings on car insurance

New research has from a market-leading comparison site has revealed how much money a no-claims bonus can save you on car insurance

MoneySuperMarket’s analysis of 17.8 million car insurance enquiries found that five years’ no claims bonus (also known as no-claims discount) can save you a healthy 24 percent on your premium.

If you were, for example, quoted £800 for a year without any no-claims, five years of no claims could get you down to around £600.

More surprising are the savings for those with less no-claims bonus. Four years’ no-claims still gets you a 23 percent discount, while three years saves you 22 percent.

Two years’ no-claims saves you 19 percent on your car insurance, while a one-year no claims bonus results in a 12 percent discount (that’s still almost £100 off an £800 quote).

No-claims bonus savings on car insurance

“No claims discounts are a great way to save money on your car insurance,” said Rachel Wait, consumer affairs spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket. 

“Insurers are keen to reward those who prove they’re safer drivers, and multiple years without claiming for damage is the best way to demonstrate this. 

“It’s worth noting that when switching your car insurance policy, many insurers also honour no claims discounts accrued during your time with your previous insurer, so finding a better deal won’t necessarily mean starting from scratch.”

She did sound a word of caution, though. “The number of years honoured varies, so it’s important to find out how it might affect you before you switch.”

Audi power badge

Audi engine badges explained: from 30 to 70

Audi power badgeAll Audis now feature rear badges that depict the power output of their powertrain – made up of numbers that refer to the output of the drive system and its position within the Audi model hierarchy. The firm calls them model power badges.

The designations will be standardised across all drive types – petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric – and will comprise a two-number combination.

Basically, a lower number means lower power.

However, the numbers won’t reference the car’s exact power, but the output range within which it sits. For example, ‘30’ will be used on cars producing between 81 to 96kW (110 to 130hp); ‘45’ will be used on cars producing between 169 and 185kW (that’s 230 to 250hp).

Audi power badge

The top badge will be ’70’, for cars producing more than 400kW (upwards of 545hp). All badges increase in increments of five; Audi offers examples such as the Q2 30 TFSI and Q7 50 TDI, as well as the A8 55 TFSI pictured here.

Do not confuse Audi’s power badges with, for example, the similar-sounding system used by Tesla. A Model S 75 has a 75kWh battery, and a Model S 100 has a 100kWh battery: the Audi system is a more arbitrary hierarchy that doesn’t directly reference engine power or electric output. 

Why does Audi use power badges?

Insisting it’s a “clearly discernible hierarchy”, Audi says it is using power badges because engine size is no longer a good way to judge the relative status of a car within its range – something that will be further shaken up by the onset of EVs.

“As alternative drive technologies become increasingly relevant, engine displacement as a performance attribute is becoming less important to our customers,” said Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board of Management Member for Sales and Marketing at Audi. 

“The clarity and logic of structuring the designations according to power output makes it possible to distinguish between the various performance levels.” So there is a replacement for displacement after all. 

Audi S, RS and R8 models will not feature the power designation badges.

Audi power badges: a quick guide

  • 30: 81 – 91kW (110 – 130hp)
  • 35: 110 – 120kW (150 – 163hp)
  • 40: 125 – 150kW (170 – 205hp)
  • 45: 169 – 185kW (230 – 250hp)
  • 50: 210 – 230kW (285 – 313hp)
  • 55: 245 – 275kW (333 – 375hp)
  • 60: 320 – 340kW (435 – 463hp)
  • 70: 400kW+ (545hp+)
1989 Cadillac Trump Edition

You could come up golden with this rare 1989 Trump Cadillac

1989 Cadillac Trump EditionToday Donald Trump rides in a bespoke armored Cadillac limousine, used as the official United States presidential state car. 

However, Trump’s connection with custom stretched Cadillacs goes back to the 1980s. A partnership with coachbuilders and Cadillac saw a range of custom limos offered. 

One of these rare creations is now being listed for auction at the forthcoming Mecum Louisville sale, later this month. 

“The point is that you can’t be too greedy”

1989 Cadillac Trump EditionRewind three decades, and Donald J. Trump was the feted business icon of New York City. His deals were buying up large chunks of prime Manhattan real estate, and his 1987 Art of the Deal book made him a household name.

Trump approached Cadillac with the idea of making the most luxurious limousine ever built. A partnership with Dillinger-Gaines Coachworks was made on the basis of 50 examples being ordered by the President.

Two versions were planned, based upon the Brougham sedan. An entry-level Executive Series was priced from $55,000, whilst the opulent $65,000 Gold Edition would – naturally – include extravagant gold trim throughout.

1989 Cadillac Trump EditionGold Edition cars received gold pinstriping to the exterior bodywork, along with copious amounts of gold trim for the interior metalwork. Acres of rosewood and leather were also used.  

A unique front grille with vertical slats was also added, along with a raised vinyl roof and distinctive brushed metal side pillars. 

Inside would be every item that a 1980s business titan would need. This included a TV, VCR, fax machine, and even a paper shredder. Three cellular phones were added, along with writing desks and a built-in safe.

“Sometimes it pays to be a little wild”

1989 Cadillac Trump EditionDespite being notably teetotal, the Gold Edition even included a crazy ‘Perm-a-Pub’ bar system. A variety of drinks could be dispensed, with the licquor itself stored in trunk-mounted containers.

After the initial enthusiasm, Trump was said to have pulled back on the order for 50 cars. Instead, he reportedly ordered just one example for himself, whilst the weak financial market did not help demand from others. 

The final number of Trump limos made is disputed. Some sources suggest only two were created, whilst even the highest estimates suggest only seven examples were built. 

1989 Cadillac Trump EditionCuriously, the seller appears to have missed photographing many of the major Trump Gold Edition signifiers.  These include the ‘Trump Cadillac’ badging to the chrome B-pillar, and embroidered Trump logo on the rear seats. 

The gold Cadillac hood ornament also appears to have vanished, whilst the original Vogue-branded tires with gold pinstripes were replaced after clocking up 14,000 miles. 

Mecum Auctions does note that seller has all the paperwork from new, plus relevant brochures and instruction manuals.  

As with any car offered at auction, interested bidders should always make their own enquiries and use the opportunity to inspect a vehicle before flashing the cash. 

“Get in, get it done, get it done right, and get out”

1989 Cadillac Trump EditionIn terms of just how much money will secure this stretch Caddy, a remarkably similar Trump Gold Edition sold at auction earlier this year. 

The Barrett-Jackson Northeast 2019 sale saw a blue 1989 Trump Gold Edition achieve only $8,250 including fees, when it crossed the block on June 27th. 

Buying a thirty-year-old Cadillac limousine is always likely to be a niche prospect, although a genuine Trump connection could create some degree of collectability. 

1989 Cadillac Trump EditionIn the United Kingdom, a Trump Edition limousine – said to have been used by a family member – was offered for £50,000 ($61,500) in 2017. 

A Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster, actually owned and used by Trump, sold in 2016 for $460,000 on an eBay listing.

This lengthy Cadillac will cross the block on Friday September 20th at the Mecum Louisville sale. For those wanting something a little less golden, a further 600 cars will also be on sale over the auction weekend.