Jaguar unveils XF Sportbrake
06 March 2012
Jaguar has unveiled its second only estate car, the XF Sportbrake, based on its acclaimed sporting saloon the XF.
And on first appearances, the design gurus at Whitley Engineering Centre, just outside Coventry, have definitely managed to balance style and practicality in creating this new addition to family. The XF Sportbrake builds on the extensive refresh received by the XF saloon for the 2012 model year, which also saw it launch the fleet friendly 2.2-litre diesel version.
A full five-seater with an additional 48mm of rear headroom, remote-fold levers situated just inside the tailgate allow the rear seats to be folded down with just one touch to provide an uninterrupted load surface that is 1,970mm in length. The central portion of the load-space floor can be lifted to reveal an extra, hidden storage compartment, which without the spare wheel helps create an overall load space of 1,675 litres. That’s five litres less than the Audi A6 Avant at 1,680 and five litres more than in BMW 5 Series Touring, which boasts a load capacity of 1,670. However, the XF Sportbrake can’t match the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate, with its massive 1,950-litre load bay.
Jaguar hopes that the XF Sportbrake will help boost sales further after selling more than 10,000 units in 2011, but they refused to be drawn on specific sales targets, simply saying that it expects the XF Sportbrake to account for around 20% of XF sales. It will be fitted with Jaguar’s range of four-cyclinder 2.2-litre and V6 3.0-litre diesel engines, with the 2.2 variant expecting to take the lion’s share of orders. It is offered in combination with an eight-speed gearbox and Jaguar’s intelligent stop-start system, which in the XF saloon offers emissions of 149g/km and a combined mpg of 52.3.
No pricing details have yet been released, but the entry level XF has a P11D price in the region of £30,000, so expect a premium of around £2,000 considering the premiums paid for 5 Series Touring and A6 Avant compared to their saloon siblings.
All drivers in France must carry a breathalyzer
28 February 2012
The IAM is warning that from 1 July this year all drivers visiting France will need to carry a breathalyser kit in their cars, as French drivers will have to. From November there will be an €11 fine for not complying with this.
With a start date for the new measure of 1 July 2012, the rules will apply for anyone travelling to or through France by car in the summer holiday season, even just for a day trip. Single-use breathalyser kits will satisfy the requirement. The legal limit in France is 50 mg per 100 ml of blood, lower than in the UK (the UK limit is 80mg). They cost between £1 and £2 and they will be available at ferry and tunnel terminals for crossings to France. It is intended that people will be able to test themselves to check whether or not they are over the French limit.
The IAM is advising motorists in France to have at least two breathalysers at all times, so that if one is used you still have one to produce for the police if you are stopped. Anyone driving in France is already required to carry a warning triangle and a fluorescent safety vest to use in an emergency. Additionally UK motorists must display a GB plate and have their headlights adjusted to the right.
IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “The new French rule is a genuine attempt to reduce the number of alcohol related-accidents. France’s lower limit means it’s very easy to be over the limit the morning after as well. As always, the best advice for motorists is not to drink and drive at all.”
Government names plug-in vans eligible for grant
28 February 2012
Government has named seven ultra-low carbon vans that will qualify for a discount of up to £8,000 as part of the ‘Plug-In Van Grant’ incentive. The incentive aims to stimulate the market for ultra-low carbon commercial vehicles as it establishes itself in the UK.
“The Plug-In Van Grant and today’s detail on the seven models eligible is excellent news for van drivers, operators, businesses and the industry. The savings on the initial purchase price, coupled with the tax advantages and very low running costs make a plug-in van an attractive proposition – particularly for those running local and back-to-base services,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “Home to a high level of low carbon R&D and manufacturing activity, the UK is well placed to take full advantage of the ultra-low carbon vehicle sector. Incentives that support the development of a flourishing market will add to our competitive advantage.”
Already on sale, or arriving this year, each van is eligible for a 20% price reduction up to £8,000 with VAT businesses able to reclaim the full list price VAT on top of the reduction. Vans qualifying for the Grant must emit less than 75g/km CO2, be capable of travelling at least 60 miles between charges (10 miles in electric mode for hybrid vans), reaching speeds of more than 50mph and meet European safety standards.
In lobbying for the new Plug-In Van Grant, SMMT stressed the value of low carbon R&D and testing in the UK and the significance of the ultra-low carbon vehicle market for the country’s economy. The early development of a low carbon market in the UK brings with it vehicle trials, engineering and development functions – crucial elements that will help the UK to remain at the forefront of this emerging market.
Plug-In Van Grant eligible vehicles:
Advanced safety technology in all-new Mazda CX-5
28 February 2012
Mazda has developed a safety technology called Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), which helps a driver to avoid a frontal collision when driving at low speeds in the city or in slow traffic. The SCBS system will be standard in Europe for the mid and high grade versions in the Mazda CX-5, to be launched this spring.
The SCBS system uses a laser sensor to detect a vehicle or obstacle in front and automatically reduces the extent of the brake rotor travel to quicken braking operation. If the driver fails to perform any operation to avoid a collision, such as applying the brakes, SCBS automatically activates the brakes and reduces the engine output at the same time. In this way, SCBS helps to avoid collisions or mitigate the damage from rear-end collisions at low speeds, which are the most common accidents with other vehicles.
Mazda is intensifying its safety-related research and development efforts, aiming for the ultimate goal of realizing an accident-free and safe motorized society and intends to extend its advanced safety technologies, such as SCBS, to upcoming new models, starting with the Mazda CX-5, to contribute to provide all customers with driving pleasure together with outstanding environmental and safety performance.
BMW to launch new models at Geneva Motor Show
28 February 2012
An overview of the world premiere’s from BMW at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show
World premiere: the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe.
The brand's first 4-door Coupe combines the sporty styling of the BMW 6 Series with an extended range of functions. Foldable backrests enable the luggage compartment volume to be expanded from 460 to 1,265 litres. Engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology and the 8-speed sports automatic transmission including automatic engine start-stop function ensure pulling power and efficiency. The 6-cylinder petrol engine of the BMW 640i Gran Coupe delivers 235 kW/320 bhp, the 6-cylinder diesel of the BMW 640d Gran Coupe 230 kW/313 bhp. The range is supplemented with the 8-cylinder model BMW 650i Gran Coupe with 330 kW/450 bhp, the latter also available with the all-wheel drive system BMW xDrive.
World premiere: the new BMW M6 Coupe.
The new BMW M6 Coupe includes a V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo Technology and 412 kW/560 bhp, the 7-speed M dual transmission Drivelogic, the Active M Differential, the M-specific suspension technology and extensive body reinforcements as well as the optionally available M Carbon ceramic brake. The new BMW M6 Coupe accelerates in 4.2 seconds from zero to 100 km/h. Its average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is 9.9 litres to 100 kilometres, more than 30 per cent below that of its predecessor..
World premiere: the BMW M Performance automobiles.
The BMW M Performance automobiles, presented to the general public for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show, offer enhanced performance and a characteristic M set-up of drivetrain, suspension and aerodynamics as well as characteristic design and interior feel. The models BMW M550d xDrive, BMW M550d xDrive Touring, BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d will be offered to mark the start of the new BMW M GmbH product category. They are powered by the in-line 6-cylinder diesel engine with triple turbocharger developed exclusively for the BMW M Performance automobiles, delivering a maximum output of 280 kW/381 bhp and a maximum torque of 740 Newton metres. Combined with the 8-speed sports automatic transmission, the all-wheel drive system xDrive and modified suspension technology.
World premiere: the new BMW X6.
The new BMW X6 program of options has expanded with the addition of the M Sport Edition, 20-inch bi-colour light alloy rims and an engine compartment lid with a powerdome.