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Highways England has ONE WAY to tackle F1 traffic

Highways England has ONE WAY to tackle F1 traffic

More than 340,000 spectators and 125,000 vehicles are expected to converge on Silverstone for the F1 Grand Prix this weekend, creating a potential traffic disaster.

But Highways England has come up with what it calls a ‘winning formula’ to help ease congestion around the Northampton circuit.

A one-way system will be introduced on the A43 and extra traffic officers will be patrolling the roads over the three-day F1 weekend (Friday to Sunday), with the aim of reducing traffic and minimising delays.

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From 6am until around 1pm on Sunday, the A43 northbound will be one-way from the B4525 interchange to Silverstone. The A43 southbound will be closed to through traffic at Silverstone.

Later, from 2.30pm to around 8pm, the A43 southbound will be one-way from Silverstone to the B4525 interchange. Meanwhile, the A43 northbound will be one-way from Silverstone to the Abthorpe roundabout.

Keeping the traffic moving

View of Silverstone during the F1 weekend

Highways England’s emergency planning officer, Jamie Tomlin, said: “The British Grand Prix is the biggest date in the motor racing calendar so we have been working closely with Silverstone Race Circuit to try to ease traffic flow and get the tens of thousands of people to and from the event as smoothly and safely as possible.

“One of the key elements of the traffic management is operating a one-way system on the A43, which makes optimum use of the carriageways during peak times.

“We will have extra traffic officers and recovery resources on duty and patrolling the area to deal with any incidents as quickly as possible to keep the traffic moving.

“We would urge anyone attending the Grand Prix to leave plenty of time for their journeys and to follow the signs from the M1, M40 and on their car parking pass, rather than relying on sat navs.”

On-site parking for the weekend is now sold out, so Highways England is urging visitors to avoid the car parks unless they have pre-booked. Silverstone is advising F1 visitors to use the Megabus and Stagecoach services and warns motorists that they will be fined if they have not pre-purchased a car parking pass.

Around 90,000 vehices are expected to use public parking, with a further 21,000 taking advantage of the park and ride facility.

More information on the event, car parks, buses and timetable can be found on the Silverstone website.

2019 Skoda Scala

Skoda Scala launches THIS WEEKEND in UK dealers

2019 Skoda ScalaDeliveries of the new Skoda Scala five-door family hatchback begin this weekend in dealers across the UK. The new family five-door hatchback costs from £16,595 and many retailers are holding special launch events for the all-new motor.

Skoda has put together a special finance offer for the new Scala in time for its launch. The 5.9 percent APR Solutions PCP deal includes a £1,250 dealer deposit contribution.

A Skoda service plan, including the first two services and inspections, can be added on for just £159.

2019 Skoda Scala

Skoda’s rival to the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf will come very well-equipped straight out the box; every variant features LED headlamps, air conditioning and alloy wheels as standard. Every model also has the biggest boot in the family hatch sector.

2019 Skoda Scala boot

The entry-level S gets a snazzy leather steering wheel, all-round electric windows and DAB radio, along with safety aids such as front brake assist and a lane-keeping aid. However, the S won’t be among the first batch of deliveries: it arrives later in the year.

This means the effective entry-level Scala for buyers eager to get behind the wheel is the mid-grade SE – with prices starting from £18,580.

2019 Skoda Scala prices and specs

The SE does come with a useful equipment boost, though. An upgraded infotainment system called Bolero, with an 8-inch touchscreen and more speakers, plus cruise control rear parking sensors and Skoda’s famous built-in umbrella, feature as standard.

2019 Skoda Scala

Top-line Scala trim is SE L grade, priced from £20,380. This version, claims Skoda, has one of the most comprehensive standard specs in its sector. The infotainment system is upgraded again, to a 9.2-inch Amundsen setup with glass touchscreen (which Skoda also claims is the biggest in the sector), the gauges turn into a digital cockpit display, and air con becomes climate control.

2019 Skoda Scala

Alloys grow from 16-inches to 17-inches, the rear lights turn into LED units, with fancy ‘sweeping’ indicators, and privacy glass is added at the rear. Inside, seats get Microsuede trim and extra chrome features inside.

2019 Skoda Scala interior

Just as with trim lines, Skoda also keeps the engine choice down to three: two petrols and, because it still makes sense to some, a diesel.

A 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine comes with 115hp at launch (a cheaper 95hp motor arrives with the S grade later in the year – this is the £16,595 car) and the range-topper is the 150hp 1.5-litre TSI. The diesel is a 1.6-litre TDI with 115hp. Skoda will let every engine bar the base 95hp motor be paired with an optional DSG automatic. It will also tell us fuel economy and CO2 figures a little nearer launch time.

Filling the gap in the range between the Fabia supermini and larger Octavia, the Skoda Scala is to fight with some of the best-selling cars in Britain. With prices several thousand pounds less than its new rivals, it will be an interesting new addition to the sector.

2019 Renault Koleos Formula Edition F1

Renault Australia creates special Koleos SUV inspired by Formula 1

2019 Renault Koleos Formula Edition F1Australian fans of the Renault F1 Team can now grab themselves a special edition of the Koleos family-sized SUV. 

The Koleos is currently the best-selling model in the Renault Australia range, and now pays tribute to the company’s motorsport heritage. The Formula Edition also makes a nod to Australian F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo.

Just 400 units of the Formula Edition will be offered for sale, with prices beginning from $36,940 across the nation.

2019 Renault Koleos Formula Edition F1The 400 buyers who opt for the Formula Edition will see 19-inch Prometheus alloy wheels, black exterior mirrors, and silver side steps making an appearance.

Most important is the special Formula Edition decal, attached to the rear of the Koleos. Customers can pick between Universal White, Metallic Grey and Metallic Black as exterior colour choices. 

Although Daniel Ricciardo may have provided some of the inspiration, don’t expect performance like his Renault F1 car. All Koleos Formula Editions come in front-wheel drive format, and use a 2.5-litre petrol engine with 126kW and 226Nm of torque.

2019 Renault Koleos Formula Edition F1Ricciardo made the shock decision to ditch Red Bull Racing at the end of 2018, making the leap to the Renault F1 Team for the 2019 season. 

Despite notching up seven race wins in F1 with Red Bull, Ricciardo believed Renault would offer him better opportunities in the future. On making the move, the Perth-born driver accepted he would need to take some short-term pain.

So far Ricciardo has scored 16 World Championship points in 2019, leaving him 10th in the overall standings after nine races.  This weekend sees the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where Ricciardo will be hoping for better fortune.

The cheapest new cars on sale in 2019

The cheapest new cars on sale

So, you want to buy a new car but you don’t want to spend your entire life savings – or the total household budget – on a costly motor?

We’ve identified the 20 cheapest new cars on sale in Britain today, including an SUV for £10,000 and an estate car for £8,500.

All prices are correct at the time of writing (July 2019), and the images are for illustrative purposes only.

Suzuki Ignis – from £11,849

The cheapest new cars on sale

Spoiler alert: the majority of Britain’s cheapest cars are devoid of charm, lacking in style and are as cheery as a Belarusian bus station. But the Suzuki Ignis bucks the trend, with a design that’s quite unlike anything else on the road.

In SZ3 trim, the Ignis features digital radio, Bluetooth and air conditioning, but you’ll need to upgrade to the £13,349 SZ-T for alloy wheels, a rear parking camera and the wheelarch extensions.

Vauxhall Corsa – from £11,735

The cheapest new cars on sale

You might be surprised to discover that there’s not a single Ford in our cheapest car gallery, because the (soon to be discontinued) Ka+ costs upwards of £12,300, while the lowest-priced Fiesta costs £15,670.

Which leaves rival Vauxhall to own the budget space, with the Corsa available from £11,735. In Active trim, you get a heated windscreen, cruise control and Bluetooth.

Smart Fortwo – from £11,415

The cheapest new cars on sale

If you can live without rear seats – and you don’t intend to spend much time out of the city – the Smart Fortwo makes sense.

A strong image, an upmarket cabin, low running costs and a tiny turning circle are some of the Fortwo’s highlights, while a 260-litre will be enough for most city centre errands.

Vauxhall Viva – from £10,485

The cheapest new cars on sale

The Vauxhall Viva is the last remaining raffle prize sat atop the trestle table at the school summer concert. According to Auto Express, it’s a ‘decent little city car’, but that’s like describing a Tesco value cheese sandwich as a ‘decent little lunch’.

If you want one, be quick, because the Viva is facing the axe.

Citroen C1 – from £10,140

The cheapest new cars on sale

You could buy a new Citroen C1 for a little over £10,000, but we wouldn’t recommend it. The black bumpers, 14-inch steel wheels and a heater in lieu of air conditioning all hark back to the 80s or 90s.

And if you want to relive the 80s or 90s dream in a Citroen, may we suggest buying a ZX or Xsara? Both are cheap as chips and unlikely to depreciate.

Fiat Panda – from £10,080

The cheapest new cars on sale

We love the Fiat Panda. It’s the car we’d like to hire when in Rome. And it puts us in mind of Giugiaro’s classic. But this isn’t Rome and a lot of acqua has passed under the ponte since the Italian maestro penned the original.

The zero-star Euro NCAP rating makes it hard to recommend the Panda, especially in light of more contemporary, not to mention cheaper, rivals.

Volkswagen Up – from £10,080

The cheapest new cars on sale

The Volkswagen Up is a good case in point. Even in the basic Take Up spec, with three doors rather than five, the Up is a spacious, well packaged and fun-to-drive city car that’s as good outside the city as in it.

Furthermore, because it has a Volkswagen badge, it holds its value better than its Skoda- and Seat-badged siblings.

Mitsubishi Mirage – from £9,999

The cheapest new cars on sale

Goodness, is that the time? We need to crack on… 

Dacia Duster – from £9,995

The cheapest new cars on sale

Perhaps predictably, Dacia dominates the second half of this feature – the Renault-owned company has cornered the market formerly occupied by the likes of Kia and Hyundai.

In Access trim, the Duster is lacking in glamour, but even the Essential trim costs less than the price of an entry-level Corsa. The cheapest four-wheel-drive variant costs a bargain £13,710.

Kia Picanto – from £9,895

The cheapest new cars on sale

Kia secured a foothold in the UK thanks to a range of budget-led hatchbacks and SUVs, but the Korean company has its eyes on the premium establishment.

The Rio costs upwards of £12,495, while the cheapest Picanto city car sneaks below the £10k mark. You get a seven-year warranty, but don’t expect it to look as snazzy as the car in the photo. 

Toyota Aygo – from £9,825

The cheapest new cars on sale

The Toyota Aygo is based on the same platform as the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108, but it has a snazzier face. At the time of writing, the entry-level Aygo X is available with a £300 saving, taking the list price down to £9,495.

Alternatively, a £2,000 scrappage discount is available on all except the X trim level.

Peugeot 108 – from £9,695

The cheapest new cars on sale

Peugeot doesn’t want to sell you a basic 108, which is why its website shows £11,935 as the lowest price. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find the basic Access trim, complete with 14-inch steel wheels and a £9,695 price tag.

There’s no air conditioning, but you do get a… multi-speed heater fan. 

MG3 – from £9,495

The cheapest new cars on sale

We like the MG3, even if the nod to the brand’s heritage feels a bit disingenuous. Even at £9,495, the entry-level Explore trim is best avoided, so we’d upgrade to the £11,395 Excite or £12,795 Exclusive.

Both models undercut the cheapest Ford Fiesta and you get a seven-year warranty as part of the deal.

Hyundai i10 – from £9,200

The cheapest new cars on sale

Hyundai was one of the companies to gain the most out of the original ‘scrappage’ scheme of 2009, with many motorists ‘trading up’ to an i10. Today’s i10 isn’t the bargain city car it once was and the entry-level S model is a little short of toys.

The Premium is the range sweet-spot, with a generous level of standard equipment and prices ranging from £12,000 to £13,000.

Dacia Sandero Stepway – from £9,195

The cheapest new cars on sale

We’re cheating a little bit here because although Dacia positions the Sandero Stepway as a separate model, in reality, it’s a Sandero with quasi-SUV styling and a raised ride height.

Having said that, it does look more premium than the Sandero, and the £11,195 Comfort trim is well equipped.

Suzuki Celerio – from £8,999

The cheapest new cars on sale

The list price for the entry-level Suzuki Celerio SZ2 is £8,999, but at the time of writing it’s available with a £1,000 discount. However, we’d recommend opting for the SZ3, which is on sale for £8,999 after a £1,500 discount.

It’s not the last word in excitement, but Suzuki has a solid reputation for reliability and good dealers. Note: the Suzuki Baleno is available with a £3,250 discount, taking the price down to £9,999.

Skoda Citigo – from £8,890

The cheapest new cars on sale

The entry-level Skoda Citigo S costs £8,890, but aside from a parking ticket holder on the windscreen, there’s little in the way of pizazz.

We’d recommend upgrading to the SE for alloy wheels, air conditioning and a 60:40 folding rear seat. Not bad for an additional £250.

Dacia Logan MCV – from £8,495

The cheapest new cars on sale

Britain’s cheapest estate car has a 573-litre boot and an £8,495 price tag. You’ll have to decide if you can live with the basic Access trim level for the entire duration of a three-year PCP deal, but even the Comfort trim isn’t going to break the bank at £10,495.

The Dacia Logan MCV is also available in Stepway guise, with prices starting from £12,695.

Dacia Sandero – from £6,995

The cheapest new cars on sale

The Sandero arrived in the UK with a headline-grabbing £5,995 price tag, helping the Dacia to corner the budget end of the market. Today, you’ll pay £6,995 for the basic Access model, making it the cheapest new car on sale in the UK. Or is it?

The UK’s cheapest new car: Renault Twizy – from £6,690

The cheapest new cars on sale

Technically, the Renault Twizy is a quadricycle, but it has the same number of seats as the Smart Fortwo, so we’re happy to include it here. It’s electric, which makes it as current as a Sam Fender song, and prices start at £6,690.

Note: you need to consider the cost of battery hire, which starts at £45 a month.

Volksawgen Beetle

How Volkswagen tried and failed to replace the Beetle

Volksawgen Beetle

Too much success can stunt the mind. That can apply to the collective mind of a company just as easily as it can a music artist struggling with that difficult second album.

And back in the late ‘60s, Volkswagen was having exactly this kind of problem with its Beetle.

Volksawgen Beetle

Not that this famous car was anywhere near reaching its popularity peak in 1967, when a 30% sales slump in its native Germany prompted VW’s management to take the challenge of replacing it a whole lot more seriously.

Although it hadn’t been ignoring the task entirely. During that same year VW revealed a whole heap of prototypes to a press becoming increasingly critical at the absence of a Beetle replacement. In fact, VW had developed no less than 70 potential successors since 1952, but none had made production and all shared the same basic rear-engine layout.

Some had been under development for as long as five years before being abandoned, others were simply styling mock-ups. And what they all pointed to, apart from the waste of millions of pounds-worth of r&d money, was the lack of a solid idea for replacing a car that by 1967, had been in quantity production for 22 years, having started life before WW2.

Hitler’s people carrier

Great Motoring Disaster VW Beetle replacement

The ‘Strength-through-Joy’ KdF-wagen was commissioned by one Adolf Hitler from Ferdinand Porsche, the Fuhrer keen for the KdF-wagen to become the affordable car of the people. And it actually became that very thing, though not entirely in the way Hitler had envisaged.

A few were produced before and during the conflict, the war-damaged Wolfsburg plant restarted in 1945 by British Army officer and engineer Major Ivan Hirst. In 1948 he handed over the running of the plant to Heinz Nordhoff, an inspirational ex-Opel manager who expanded production and successfully established excellent sales and service networks for VW overseas, most notably the US where for well over a decade, the Beetle became part of the fabric of North American life.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

In fact, it was not the only car that Wolfsburg was making. Volkswagen Type 1, as the Beetle was officially known, was joined by Volkswagen Type 2 (pictured above) in 1949, this the almost equally famous Transporter van and its Kombi brother.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

And in 1961 came the Volkswagen 1500 saloon (pictured above). It was still rear-engined and air-cooled, like a Beetle, still a two-door and still largely uninterested in ploughing a straight line on a breezy day. Despite this the 1500 did well, the Fastback and Variant estate versions helping it to sales of over three million between 1961-73.

The Beetle replacement, take one…

Great Motoring Disaster VW Beetle replacement

But the 1500  wasn’t a replacement for the Beetle. Another prototype came close to doing the job in 1960, when project EA97 got to the point where the production machinery to build it was being installed, and the first 100 pilot-build cars had been assembled.

A rear-engined two-door saloon, it was powered by an 1100cc engine and would have competed with the Hillman Imp, Renault 8, Simca 1000, NSU Prinz and Fiat 850, several of these big sellers.

But as author Russell Hayes’ excellent book ‘The Volkswagen Golf Story’ explains, EA97 was reckoned to be too close to the 1500 saloon – they looked pretty similar, besides – and now that VW had bought the Auto Union company, acquiring the Audi 60 saloon in the process, it suddenly had another in-house competitor.

So EA97 was cancelled at the last minute, losing VW yet more millions. But it was making so much money from the Beetle that this mattered a lot less than it would have done for other car companies.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

Its next attempt came in the gruesome shape of the 1968 Volkswagen 411, another air-cooled rear-engined car, this time with four doors. Its styling was as tortured as the VW management’s efforts to solve their new Beetle problem, this ugly beast living four short years and selling only 266,000 copies in the process.

By now mild desperation was setting in, Nordhoff’s replacement Kurt Lotz arriving to a largely empty new model cupboard, 411 apart, making him particularly eager for some quick-fix solutions.

Making slow progress

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

One of those came with Volkswagen’s acquisition of NSU, makers of the little Prinz and the radical rotary-engined Ro80 executive saloon. Sitting between these two was a yet-to-be launched modern, front-wheel drive saloon. Crisply styled and glassy, it was a vast improvement on the 411, if far from as gaze-freezingly handsome as the futuristic Ro80, whose design legacy can still be seen in the Audi saloons of today.

Nevertheless, an eager Volkswagen took this NSU design over, relabelled it the VW K70 (pictured above) and optimistically built a new factory capable of making it at the rate of 500 per day.

But like many hastily conceived plans in the motor industry, the K70 soon hit problems. It was expensive to build, sharing almost no parts with other cars in the group, expensive to buy for the same reason and rust-prone. That slowed, sales, as did VW’s activities within other parts of its empire.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

When it bought Audi in the mid ‘60s it was simply to get its hands on another factory in which to build Beetles, because it couldn’t keep up with demand. Audi’s small 60 saloon (pictured above) continued to be made, but product development director Ludwig Kraus was instructed to halt new model development.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

Instead he disobeyed, developing a new saloon in secret. It was eventually revealed to VW’s management, who got over their shock and annoyance to approve what became the 1969 Audi 100, pictured above. That car was a big hit, and would eventually keep a money-losing VW afloat, but in the meantime it seriously undermined the appeal of the less than stylish K70 that came a year later, giving VW yet another failure.

Replacing the Beetle bugs VW

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

If the K70 was a piece of misfiring opportunism, the EA266 prototype (pictured above) was the company’s main attempt to properly replace the Beetle. In fact, it was developed mostly by Porsche, whose engineers produced a hatchback with a water-cooled four cylinder that lay flat beneath the rear seats, to drive a gearbox and differential behind it.

In effect, this was a mid-engined hatchback, and development again advanced to the point of tooling being ordered. But despite its sporty mid-engined layout and Porsche parentage, EA266 apparently had handling issues, besides continuously perfuming its cabin with oily engine vapours via an access panel beneath a rear seat that was expected to get progressively grubbier as mechanics removed it to service the engine.

Nevertheless, EA266 was part of a major management review of VW’s new model plans in May 1969, along with a new front-wheel drive hatchback from Audi, its four-cylinder engine mounted longitudinally, and a similar prototype from VW itself whose front wheels were propelled by a Beetle engine.

Great Motoring Disaster VW Beetle replacement

It was this car, codenamed EA235, that would eventually lead to the VW Golf that became the Beetle’s real successor. A variation of it, codenamed EA276 (pictured above), can be found in Volkswagen’s museum.

At last: enter the VW Golf!

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

Neither prototype was a beauty, but one of VW boss Lotz’s best decisions during his brief and troubled career at the helm was to instruct Giorgetto Giugiaro’s ItalDesign to style the car that would become the Golf, pictured in launch guise above.

It would be released in 1974, at the end of seven troubled years that had produced one of the ugliest family cars of the ‘60s in the 411, had proved the riskiness of opportunism with the K70 and ultimately, threatened the very existence of VW itself.

Great Motoring Disasters VW Beetle replacement

And that’s without including all the abandoned prototypes built between 1952 and 1967, VW beginning its long and painful quest for a successor when the post-war Beetle was only seven years old.

But the lesson was learnt – many of us can count our lives out in Golfs, VW now building the seventh version of this car since 1974. And this multi-brand group is a long way from being dependent on only one model, the mighty Golf one of a number of big sellers.

Past master: the Beetle returns

Concept One

There is a footnote here. For decades, the original Beetle was moribund. It was still produced in South America for an increasingly diminishing market, but eventually faded away for good in 2003.

Then came the craze for nostalgia, one arguably accelerated by Volkswagen, which showed a ‘modern’ concept version of the original Beetle in 1994, called Concept One. The world swooned. Production for the Californian-designed concept was approved.

1998: the Volkswagen Beetle is back

New Beeetle

The New Beetle was introduced in 1998. Ironically, it was based on the platform of the car that sealed its fate back in the 70s, the Volkswagen Golf, but this did ensure it drove well.

Built in Mexico, it was shamelessly retro, taking the original cues of the Beetle and exaggerating them with cartoon-like emphasis: the separate wings, round headlamps and tail lamps, rounded roofline and chunky running boards.

New Beetle cuts a dash

New Beeetle

The interior was retro-inspired too. This meant packaging was dreadful, with a tiny boot and cramped, rear seats, but few at the time seemed to mind, because it was so bold. It even came with a vase on the dashboard.

New Beeetle

Yes, a vase.

2011: New Beetle take two

New Beeetle

Sales clearly convinced Volkswagen it was worth replacing. An all-new car arrived in 2011, with more of a fastback profile to the roofline and a more sophisticated, more practical interior – but still clearly a Beetle.

As with the original New Beetle, this second retro recreation also came in convertible guise, and was later offered with a tiny 1.2-litre petrol engine – the smallest since the original model ceased production. Luckily, it was turbocharged, so wasn’t quite as lethargic as the 1960s models…

Today: the Beetle’s second coming comes to an end

New Beeetle

But sales of this second remake never quite took off. And, like the original, soon started to go the wrong way. It seemed the world had moved on: a retro Beetle was nice as a passing fad, but didn’t seem to have staying power.

Rumours had thus circulated for years that this model would be the final Beetle – its second coming would come to an end. On September 13 2018, it was confirmed.

This week, the final Beetle was once again produced, 21 years after it returned from the great scrapyard in the sky. The last models off the line are going to VW’s ever-expanding heritage collection, presumably to sit alongside the previous final Beetle.

Goodbye again, then Volkswagen Beetle. It’s been an interesting ride, for sure…

The Volkswagen Beetle is dead (again)

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

Volkswagen has officially ended production of the Beetle in Mexico – again. The original Type 1 Beetle survived there until 2003 and now the third-generation car (successor to the ‘New Beetle’) is no more.

Production of the third-gen Beetle was short compared with the Type 1, which was made (on and off) for more than five decades. Indeed, its roots go back to designs first conceived in the 1920s.

In all, more than 21 million Type 1 Beetles were built.

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

The outgoing car, meanwhile, ends production just eight years after its 2011 debut. Half a million have been made in that time.

The Volkswagen de Mexico production line will now gear up for a small, sub-Tiguan SUV. 

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

“It’s impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle,” said Scott Keogh, president of Volkswagen Group of America.

“From its first import in 1949 to today’s retro-inspired design, it has showcased our company’s ability to fit round pegs into square holes of the automotive industry. While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished.”

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

The second-generation New Beetle was a bit more of a success. The Mexican plant built 1.2 million examples of that car between 1998 and 2010.

It was something of a pioneer at the time, introducing the idea of a modernised retro design. It also came with a flower vase on the dashboard.

Volkswagen Beetle ends production

The Beetle has been around for near-on 75 years. And if you count the KdF-Wagens of the Nazi era, that’s over 85 years.

Regardless of what we think of the Beetle, a couple of things are certain: it was the original people’s car, and it will be remembered.

ABT turns Audi RS3 into a 470hp Porsche-chaser

ABT Audi RS3

German tuning house ABT has turned its wizardry to Audi’s warbling RS3. The result is a 470hp five-cylinder hot hatch that can nip at the rears of a new Porsche 911.

Contrast to the original S3, which debuted 20 years ago with a heady 210hp, the current RS3 near-on doubles the original fast Audi hatch’s muscle, with 400hp. Now ABT is taking it to near-supercar power levels with a performance upgrade to 470hp.

ABT Audi RS3

The ABT Power S performance package adds a new intercooler and ABT’s high-tech Engine Control unit. Along with the power upgrade, torque is up from an already mighty 346lb-ft, to near-on 400lb-ft.

The standard Audi RS3 gets to 62mph in close to four seconds flat, so this ABT version should be even more potent. Top speed is up from the limited 155mph to 177mph.

ABT Audi RS3

Although the sleeper factor is fun, if you want people to know that your RS3 is packing a bit more muscle, there is a selection of visual upgrades available.

New wheels, which can lop up to 32kg of unsprung mass out of the car, ABT badging, vents and a quad-tipped stainless steel exhaust system are available.

ABT Audi RS3

Carbon and leather interior bits are also available, so you never forget your RS3 is just that bit more special.

The wizards at ABT have a history of tuning and racing Audis, and tarting up many different cars from the Volkswagen Group. They’ll spruce up everything from your Skoda, to your Vokswagen, through to your Seat and, of course, your Audi.

Drivers more likely to be breathalysed in Europe

Drivers more likely to be breathalysed in Europe

British motorists driving abroad this summer are being advised to stay off the booze. Lower drink-drive limits and a higher chance of being stopped and breathalysed are the issues facing drivers who choose to drink and drive in Europe.

In Estonia, an astonishing 68 percent of inhabitants are breath-tested every year, while the figure in Poland is 47 percent, 28 percent in Finland, 19 percent in Austria and 15 percent in France.

Drivers should be prepared for strict drink-drive laws, with Malta the only country with the same 0.8mg of alcohol per millilitre of blood limit you’d find in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In most European countries, the limit is 0.5mg, while drivers in Poland, Norway and Sweden are limited to 0.2mg.

Meanwhile, the authorities in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Russia operate a zero tolerance approach to drink-driving.

‘Remove the guesswork’

European drink-drive limits

Hunter Abbott, managing director of AlcoSense Laboratories, suggests carrying a breathalyser in the car to “remove the guesswork” from drink-driving.

“It’s far easier than you think to still be under the influence the morning after a few drinks the night before. If you drank four pints of medium-strong beer or four large glasses of wine, it could take as long as 14 hours for the alcohol to clear your system.

“This is especially important when extra care must be taken driving on the opposite side of the road.

When driving through France, drivers are obliged by law to carry a single-use breathalyser in their car that is NF approved (the French version of the British Standard Kite Mark).

Drink-drive limits across Europe

These are the maximum drink-drive limits across Europe for drivers, along with special limits for commercial and novice drivers. All figures shown in grammes per litre.

See the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) website for more information.

 Standard   Commercial drivers   Novice drivers
Czech Republic
France0.50.5 (0.2 bus drivers)0.2 
Latvia0.50.5 0.2

*Scotland 0.5 for all groups.

Calls to abandon ‘private cars’ over brake and tyre pollution

Calls to ditch “private cars” over brake and tyre dust pollution

A zero-emissions car population still won’t be pollution-free, says the UK government’s Air Quality Expert Group. The only solution, it implies, is to abandon ‘private cars’ altogether.

Before you ask, this isn’t a reference to burning fossil fuels to generate electricity for EVs. The group of government advisers is referring to the micro-plastics and particulates that come from tyre and brake use.

Calls to ditch “private cars” over brake and tyre dust pollution

It says these pollutants could pose a threat long after the internal combustion engine has been legislated out of existence. And that road surface wear contributes to pollution of the air, soil and the oceans, too.

“No legislation is currently in place specifically to limit or reduce particles,” warns the Air Quality Expert Group.

“So while legislation has driven down emissions of particles from exhausts, the non-exhaust proportion of road traffic emissions has increased.”

Calls to ditch “private cars” over brake and tyre dust pollution

The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has also acknowledged this pollution issue.

“The industry is committed to improving air quality and has already all but eliminated particulate matter from tailpipe emissions,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.

“Brake, tyre and road wear is a recognised challenge, as emissions from these sources are not easy to measure.”

Nissan GT-R

Although ministers have said they want to develop policies to regulate such pollution, critics fear the only solution is a mass exodus from private car ownership.

Reducing the number of cars on the road is the only sure way of reducing the emission of such pollutants, they say. Lets hope they never find out what drifting is…


Welsh town has the highest percentage of older drivers

Older drivers in Llandrindod Wells

The area in and around the small Welsh town of Llandrindod Wells has the highest percentage of drivers aged 70 and over. That’s according to a study conducted by Hippo Leasing.

Of the 41,398 drivers in the LD postcode, 7,684 are aged 70+, meaning 18.56 percent of the population are classed as older drivers.

Hippo Leasing also discovered that, of the 5.4 million people over the age of 70 with a valid driving licence, 1.45 million are 80+, 113,492 are 90+, and 319 have reached the grand old age of 100.

Most centenarian drivers can be found in Brighton, Llandudno and Kingston-upon-Thames.

In May, we reported on the news that 49 percent of Brits want older drivers banned from the road, with 69 percent of the respondents to the survey believing older drivers should be forced to retake their driving test from the age of 60.

No Duke of Edinburgh vehicles

The subject of older drivers hit the headlines in January, when the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a crash while driving near the Queen’s Sandringham estate.

Once a driver reaches the age of 70, their driving licence expires and must be renewed, with the DVLA sending a D46P application form 90 days before the 70th birthday.

The licence must then be renewed every three years at no cost to the driver. The motorist must notify the DVLA if they have any medical conditions that could affect their driving or the ability to read a number plate from 20 metres.

‘It doesn’t matter if they’re 20 or 120’

older drivers

Tom Preston, managing director, Hippo Leasing, said: “As the UK’s population ages, it’s inevitable that we’ll see more older motorists. While many people think this will impact road safety, it’s important to remember that age is just a number when it comes to a person’s ability to drive.

“So long as motorists are medically fit to drive and their vehicle is road-legal, it doesn’t matter if they’re 20 or 120.”

Highest percentage of drivers aged 70+

No.Postcode areaDrivers aged 70+Total drivers
1.LD Llandrindod Well7,68441,398
2.DT Dorchester32,821178,177
3.TQ Torquay40,199263,655
4.TA Taunton46,154273,009
5.EX Exeter76,304454,456
6.HR Hereford23,807142,893
7.BH Bournemouth75,656458,217
8.SH Shrewsbury44,513271,258
9.NR Norwich92,824577,514
10.TD Galashiels14,15390,106