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Car Reviews

New car sales 2020: Registrations down 2.9 per cent in February

March’s data reveals expected collapse of new car market materialised last month; April’s figures could be even worse


It stands to reason that if car showrooms are closed, fewer cars will be sold – and that’s precisely what happened last month, as the coronavirus lockdown saw new car registrations fall by a dramatic 44.4 per cent.

The collapse – while expected – brings new-car registrations down to a level lower than any seen since the 1990s, and has seen the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) downgraded its projected annual 2020 sales figure 23 per cent to 1.73 million cars. 

  • Can I drive my car during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown?

But the worst may yet be to come: with the Government only announcing an enforced lockdown over mid-way through last month, buyers may still have been attending showrooms for the first part of March. April, with dealerships deemed non-essential businesses and closed all month, is likely to see all but online new-car sales dry up completely. 

The SMMT warns other European countries that shut down their countries earlier than the UK saw more dramatic declines last month, with Italian sales down 85 per cent, the French market falling by 72 per cent, and Spanish registrations dropping by 69 per cent.

Despite last month’s significant decline in registrations, some 11,694 pure electric cars were delivered in March, accounting for 4.6 per cent of the market. Plug-in hybrid sales, meanwhile, rose 38 per cent. 

The SMMT also highlighted the positive work being done by the automotive industry in the wake of the crisis, with Formula 1 teams and other firms racing to make medical ventilators, and manufacturers pledging both staff and vehicles to help front-line workers.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “With the country locked down in crisis mode for a large part of March, this decline will come as no surprise. Despite this being the lowest March since we moved to the bi-annual plate change system, it could have been worse had the significant advanced orders placed for the new 20 plate not been delivered in the early part of the month. 

“We should not, however, draw long term conclusions from these figures other than this being a stark realisation of what happens when economies grind to a halt.

“How long the market remains stalled is uncertain, but it will reopen and the products will be there. In the meantime, we will continue to work with government to do all we can to ensure the thousands of people employed in this sector are ready for work and Britain gets back on the move.”

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Car Reviews

Karma Hints At New SiC Inverter For 400 V And 800 V Systems

Karma also is busy trying to introduce silicon carbide (SiC) power electronics in its new models, as well as to sell it to partners.

Karma Automotive takes the opportunity of the COVID-19 slowdown to show us its latest piece of technology – a highly efficient silicon carbide (SiC) inverter.

It’s envisioned for use in various vehicles, not only built on the new Karma E-Flex Platform, but also in other applications, as well as in two voltage ranges – 400 V and 800 V.

According to Karma, the new inverter is in the final stage of development, in partnership with the Power Electronic System Laboratory at the University of Arkansas (PESLA).

“The new SiC traction inverters are engineered in-house by Karma’s Powertrain Power Electronics team, in collaboration with the Power Electronic System Laboratory at University of Arkansas (PESLA). Engineered to deliver enhanced efficiency and performance, the SiC traction inverters will be used in both future Karma vehicles and company partners. This flexible architecture design in a 400V system can be customized to fit various vehicle platforms and is also available in 800V power levels to leverage higher voltage for fast charging. The new inverters will also be compatible with a variety of industries including automotive, aircraft, train, agriculture and industrial applications.”

Silicon carbide (SiC) power electronics is a fashionable topic these days. We guess that at first this type of inverters, chargers and DC/DC converters will be used in high-end vehicles (Tesla is already using SiC).

Being a part of the big automotive supplier Wanxiang Group, Karma should be able to profit on its silicon carbide (SiC) tech in the future.

“At a time when many competitors are still developing their SiC inverters, Karma’s ready-for-market SiC traction inverters place the company at the forefront of this advanced technology. Prior to this, Karma also developed its own insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) based traction inverter that currently supports its 2020 Revero GT and GTS luxury electric vehicles.

The development of Karma’s new SiC power inverters come at an important time for the company, who earlier this week announced their E-Flex Platform initiative, a series of highly versatile platforms that will offer new electric vehicle mobility solutions ranging from autonomously-driven utility vans, to ‘every-day’ driver vehicles, to high-performance supercars. The platform will allow manufacturers a fast-track into the electric vehicle market with greater speed and efficiency.”

Karma Automotive CEO, Dr. Lance Zhou said:

“Electrification represents a pivotal shift in the mobility industry, which is why Karma is focusing company efforts on our technology capabilities and solutions for our partners. Our SiC inverters, coupled with our upcoming Karma E-Flex Platforms, are a testament to the revolutionary performance and efficiency we are proud to bring to the electric mobility industry.”

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Car Reviews

New Ford Kuga PHEV 2020 review

The Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid SUV is at its best when running on pure electric power


  • 3.5 out of 5

    Verdict

    The Ford Kuga PHEV is at its best when running around in its pure-EV mode. The engine is a little intrusive when it kicks in, and the CVT gearbox doesn’t do the driving experience any favours. Thankfully, the Kuga has a usable electric range, plus enough space for all the family. ST-Line brings plenty of kit, and if you’re planning to buy on finance or as a company car, this PHEV version could work out cheaper per month than an equivalent diesel model.

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    We’ve already driven the new Ford Kuga, and been impressed by its handling, interior and strong kit list. The mild-hybrid diesel model did a lot well, but while that car is likely to be the top-seller, this plug-in hybrid will appeal to company car buyers looking to cut their tax bills.

    We’ll start by looking at the costs. There’s no ignoring the fact that low CO2 emissions result in affordable Benefit in Kind (BiK) tax. This Kuga is no exception, with its 10 per cent banding rising by just one percentage point each year for the next three years.

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    • By contrast, the 118bhp 1.5 EcoBlue diesel automatic emits 145g/km of CO2, so you’re looking at a lofty 36 per cent banding – just one percentage point off the most polluting models. In this way the Kuga PHEV makes a strong case for itself.

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      Yet this pales into insignificance if you aren’t able to use the Kuga PHEV as Ford intended. Despite its generous 35-mile electric-only range (28-30 miles is more realistic), you’ll still need regular access to a plug in order to realise its full potential.

      Rely too heavily on the petrol engine and you’ll quickly realise that lugging around a big battery without being able to use it hits fuel efficiency hard. It’ll be worse still if you flick the Kuga into its ‘EV Charge’ setting. Here it uses the engine to top up the cells; we’d avoid this unless you’re due to enter a built-up area or low-emission zone.

      If you’re regularly driving long distances or live somewhere without access to off-street parking, then one of the cheaper diesel or petrol models is likely to be a more cost-effective consideration. Charging the PHEV on a daily basis will show the car in its best light; there’s no quick-charge capability – instead, the fastest you’ll be able to recharge from empty is in 3.5 hours using a 7.4kW home wallbox. A standard three-pin plug should do the same job in around six hours. Beware, if you want to use a public charge point, you’ll need to specify the relevant cable from Ford – at a cost of £195.

      But what’s the Kuga PHEV like to drive if you meet the criteria? Well, the good news is that it keeps many of the diesel’s favourable handling traits; body control is tight, the steering is sharp and the ride is compliant.

      The complications arrive when you delve into the car’s many drive modes. Not only are there the usual Normal, Eco and Sport settings, there’s also a Slippery Deep Snow/Sand mode. And yet this Kuga is offered only with front-wheel drive. On top of that there are four settings for the electric drivetrain; the aforementioned ‘EV Charge’ tops up the battery using the engine, while ‘EV Now’ prioritises any remaining electric energy. ‘EV Later’ holds the state of charge, and ‘EV Auto’ uses the car’s electronics to determine the most efficient combination of petrol and electric power delivery.

      With a full battery, the Kuga will move off in near-silence. The hybrid powertrain, with the Kuga’s raised driving position and good visibility, makes it very easy to drive in town.

      Here the Kuga PHEV is at its best. You’d never call it quick, but power is instant and it’s smooth in its delivery. You can boost the level of brake regeneration by clicking the ‘L’ button on the gear selector; it doesn’t allow one-pedal driving, but it helps to make urban treks as efficient as possible. As long as you’ve enough charge, the Kuga will run at up to 85mph without waking the engine.

      The issues come when you ask for a bit more shove, or when the charge is depleted. The engine drones away in the background as it tries to feed the battery, and you find the usual issues with CVT gearboxes. Hard acceleration causes the revs to soar and the engine to groan; we’d prefer a conventional auto ’box like the one in the Hyundai Ioniq.

      Elsewhere, much of what we said of the diesel rings true with the plug-in. The interior is built to a high standard, and on ST-Line and above, you get great digital instruments. The rotary gear selector isn’t the most tactile, but it makes space on the centre console.

      ST-Line is likely to be a popular choice – not only for that dash, but also for its sportier styling, 18-inch alloys and black roof rails. That’s on top of the Titanium’s LED lights, climate control and B&O stereo, at £2,100 extra – or about £25/month more (on a £393/month bill) on a three-year PCP deal.

      That’s particularly competitive when you compare costs with those of a similar ST-Line diesel auto (£407/month) – although the PHEV has a much larger balloon payment at the end of the agreement.

      The Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid is about £600 a month in mid-spec SRi Nav trim, even with Vauxhall’s £2,000 deposit contribution.

      Model: Ford Kuga 2.5 Duratec PHEV ST-Line
      Price: £35,185
      Engine: 2.5-litre 4cyl petrol PHEV
      Power: 222bhp
      Transmission: Single-speed CVT automatic, front-wheel drive 
      0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
      Top speed: 125mph
      Economy: 201.8mpg
      CO2: 32g/km
      On sale Now

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    Car Reviews

    New 2022 Nissan X-Trail leaked in patent images

    The Nissan X-Trail SUV is set to be replaced in 2022, with a boxy redesign and a new range of hybrid powertrains


    The all-new Nissan X-Trail has been leaked in a pair of sketches, filed with Brazil’s patent office. The current model has been on sale in the UK for six years so an all-new version is in the pipeline for 2022. 

    Cosmetic updates fall in-line with Nissan’s latest design language, drawing inspiration from the new Juke. Like the firm’s compact crossover, the new X-Trail will adopt a pair of slim daytime running lights with separate headlamp units below. The radiator grille is also wider than the outgoing X-Trail’s, but it retains Nissan’s trademark U-shaped surround.

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    The rear three-quarter image of the fourth-generation X-Trail looks surprisingly familiar. The doors and tailgate appear to be a subtle update of the outgoing model’s, although there’s a new tailgate spoiler and “double-bubble” roof. The wheel arch and door plastics have been redesigned, too, along with the rear lamps.

    Like the upcoming third-generation Qashqai, the X-Trail will be based on an updated version of Nissan’s CMF underpinnings. That means a new generation of hybrid powertrain could be made available: one using Nissan’s innovative ePower system and one featuring Mitsuibishi’s plug-in hybrid powertrain.

    The first is a series hybrid system that uses a petrol engine working as a generator to charge the battery pack, which then powers an electric motor. The second will be a familiar plug-in hybrid setup like that found in the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

    Nissan also recently confirmed that production of the new Nissan X-Trail will move from Sunderland to the company’s main production facility in Kyushu, Japan. The company cited production optimisation, Brexit uncertainty and “changing emissions regulations” as motivators for the upheaval.

    However, Nissan recently invested £400 million at its Sunderland facility, in preparation for production of the third-generation Qashqai later this year. The factory will continue to produce both the Qashqai and the Juke, supporting around 7,000 jobs.

    What do you make of the fourth-generation Nissan X-Trail? Let us know in the comments section below…

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    Car Reviews

    New Rivian Video On Factory Progress Is Heartbreaking

    COVID-19 stopped construction, but Rivian still wants to share how far it progressed.

    We were not in the mood for April Fools’ Day at first, but it ended up being a sweet escape from most news. Everything is so related to the COVID-19 infection spread that a break came in handy. Back to everyday life in confinement, this video from Rivian put a lump in our throats. Not due to its cheering content, but to the description, which you can read at the bottom of this article.

    Rivian responsibly decided to shut down its activities temporarily. It can seem to be an easy thing to do for a company that still did not produce anything but think again. Not having produced anything is precisely the reason that could push it to rush things despite its employees’ health. Other automakers already sell their products. Rivian has to prove it is capable of manufacturing them.

    Considering the plant is in Illinois – a state that currently has 6,980 confirmed cases of COVID-19 – Rivian could claim the “tougher cold” was not that serious. Or that the closest registered case is in McLean: only one until April 2, 2020. Normal, where the plant is located, did not have a single case so far. Luckily, that was not what the company did.

    Gallery: We Can’t Wait To Get Back: Check Rivian’s Heartbreaking Video Description


    15 Photos

















































    Rivian decided to shoot a video to show all its employees elsewhere and the world how the plant was progressing well. It probably shot it before it knew what was coming in our way. They end the video description by saying: “We can’t wait to get back in there.”

    That may seem unassuming, but it makes us think of all of us that can’t wait to get back: to taking a walk, to driving, to hugging the ones we love. To get back to working, living, solving little problems and worrying about stuff that used to matter and that now seems really small. We also can’t wait to get back, Rivian. As soon as possible. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

    Video Description Via Rivian On YouTube

    Just before temporarily shutting down our facilities to help slow the spread of COVID-19, we made this internal video progress report so our team across all locations could see how far the plant has come. We can’t wait to get back in there.

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    Car Reviews

    New Audi e-tron Sportback 2020 review

    The new Audi e-tron Sportback is an accomplished electric car, but it costs nearly £4k more than the standard e-tron

  • 4.0 out of 5

    Verdict

    The Audi e-tron Sportback is not a car that anyone asked for. It has no direct competition, but having said that, as a relaxing, comfortable and premium electric SUV, it hits all the right notes. Whether it’s worth the near-£4,000 premium over a regular e-tron will be down to personal preference on the new look. 

    If you thought coupe SUVs were already niche in themselves, Audi has gone one step further with the e-tron Sportback. This is the first fully electric coupe SUV to hit the market and it’s priced from £79,900, so you’re paying close to £4,000 premium over the standard Audi e-tron. 

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    The Sportback line-up mirrors that of the regular e-tron so there are two versions available, starting with the 50 quattro, which has a 71kWh battery, 217-mile range and develops 309bhp. The more potent 55 quattro, which we’re driving here, uses a 95kWh battery for a 278-mile range, and develops a more eye-catching 404bhp.

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    • One thing that doesn’t change, regardless of the version, is the compromise you have to make with the Sportback. It’s 4.9 metres long, like the regular model, but there is around 20mm less headroom in the back, along with an overall luggage capacity that has dropped by 45 litres because of the sloping roofline.

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      The Sportback swallows a total of 615 litres, the e-tron 660 litres. With the rear seat folded down, the Sportback is slightly behind at 1,655 to 1,725 litres. Is it a price worth paying? To our eyes it's certainly one of the better-executed coupe SUVs, with a well-proportioned, sporty silhouette. 

      On the move, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that the Sportback behaves much like its bigger brother in every way, despite the new look. The first thing that strikes you is just how calm and quiet the e-tron Sportback is at speed The initial surge is acceleration is always quite surprising and entertaining but right after the 5.7-second sprint from 0-62mph, there’s near silence. Nothing rattles, shakes or booms.

      The steering is smooth and consistent with its weighting, which means the car feels stable and secure on the move. Seven driving profiles are available via Audi’s Dynamic Select button, from Eco to Dynamic. But rarely does the ride become firm; there’s alway a degree of suppleness to the ride quality. On the motorway, the e-tron’s air suspension can even drop the ride height by 80mm to help increase range, too. 

      But this is an extremely heavy car, at 2,480kg. The battery alone weighs up to 700kg, so rather than trying to inject the e-tron with any sort of sporting dynamics, Audi has focused on making it refined and soothing to drive rather than truly agile and engaging. In our view, it is the best strategy it could have taken.

      Passengers in the back are a little shortchanged, however. The 20mm lower roofline may not sound like a lot but it is noticeable; those approaching 6ft will feel their heads beginning to gently brush the roof lining. But overall, there is still enough knee and shoulder room to fit three abreast. 

      Up front, there is on change over the standard e-tron. That’s to say there’s a feast of digital displays that are used to operate all of the car functions; the lower set-up gives access to the climate controls, while the upper section is used for navigation and media. As we’ve come to expect from Audi’s latest cabins, everything is beautifully built and ensures long drives don’t become a chore. 

      Speaking of long drives, they are reasonably feasible, thanks to the e-tron’s rapid-charging capability. Hooked up to an ultra-rapid 150kW charger, the battery can be topped up from 10-80 per cent in 30 minutes. The only trouble is finding one; currently there are fewer than 900 publicly available in the UK, compared with around 27,000 slow, fast and rapid chargers.

      Model: Audi e-tron Sportback 55 quattro
      Price: (from) £79,900
      Engine: 95kWh battery, two electric motors 
      Transmission: Single speed auto, four wheel drive
      Power: 404bhp/664Nm
      0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
      Top speed: 124mph
      Range: 278 miles 
      CO2: 0g/km
      On sale: Now

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    New Toyota C-HR GR Sport badge trademarked

    Toyota has filed a new trademark name for the C-HR crossover, which hints at a new sports-inspired styling pack


    Toyota has registered a trademark for the “C-HR GR Sport” nameplate, suggesting the firm’s compact crossover will soon receive a sports-inspired trim-level. The styling package will act as the flagship model for the standard-issue C-HR range, offering competition for the Nissan Juke Tekna+ and Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line.

    Like Toyota’s existing Yaris GR Sport and Corolla GR Sport models, the C-HR GR Sport will use the same mechanicals as the standard C-HR crossover, but it’ll feature a sporty exterior styling package inspired by the upcoming performance-focused 250bhp C-HR GR.

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    We expect that the jazzed-up GR Sport will launch later this year. The model should be fairly easy for Toyota to create, as it requires only minimal changes to the crossover’s body and interior. It should also prove to be as profitable as the firm’s existing GR Sport models – both of which have enjoyed sales success in the UK.

    Revisions over the standard-issue C-HR should include wider front and rear bumpers, deeper side skirts, larger alloy wheels, privacy glass and a pair of LED headlamps. Like the Corolla GR Sport, buyers should also get a pair of sports seats and a reupholstered interior.

    As the C-HR GR Sport is a purely cosmetic trim package, it’ll be offered with the crossover’s standard range of engines. Buyers will be offered a choice of two four-cylinder hybrid powertrains – either a 120bhp 1.8-litre or a 181bhp 2.0-litre unit.

    Do you think the Toyota C-HR GR Sport will be a success? Let us know in the comments section below…

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    Racing

    Wild Supercars wagon finds new home

    The wild Triple Eight ‘Sandman’ wagon, once driven by Formula 1 star Daniel Ricciardo, has found a new home.

    The V8-powered wagon, based largely on T8 Supercars running gear, has been on the market since late 2018.

    Aussie touring car dealer V8 Sleuth is reporting it has now found a new home, father/son duo and regular GT competitors Stephen and Brenton Grove purchasing the Sandman from Triple Eight.

    According to Brenton Grove, who ran a VF Commodore under the T8 banner in Super2 last season, there was an element of trade to the deal.

    We sold my Supercar back to Triple Eight at the end of last year, so essentially it’s something of a trade,” he told V8 Sleuth.

    “We were really interested in the Sandman and it all just happened to be a few weeks before the Holden announcement of Holden closing.

    “Over the off-season the Sandman was stripped of every nut, bolt and bumper, it was painted, all the guards, the suspension arms, the whole body work, the whole chassis has been repainted, engine and transaxle rebuilt, it’s back to showroom status.

    “RD [Triple Eight boss Roland Dane] wouldn’t let it out of the workshop until it was Mickey Mouse!

    “We did a test day with Steve in my Supercar last year and they had the Sandman there doing some filming with Red Bull, so we had a chance to drive it.

    “That was deal done, the easiest sales pitch for them ever!

    “Originally we were going to do some sponsor rides in it but I think RD has made it so Mickey Mouse that we’re too scared to drive it now!”

    The Sandman is based on Jamie Whincup’s 2013 title-winning Commodore, but is now fitted with a number of modifications including a paddle-shift gearbox.

    It’s also had its engine upgraded to a 5.6-litre unit making more than 700 horsepower.

    The car is best known for being driven by Ricciardo for a Red Bull promo at Sandown back in 2016, while it was also used as the test mule for Holden’s short-lived twin-turbo V6 engine programme in 2017.

    Source: Read Full Article

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    Car Reviews

    New Audi A3 2020 review

    We get a first taste of Audi’s all-new premium hatchback in petrol and diesel guises and find it’s a great all-round package

  • 4.0 out of 5

    Verdict

    The A3 has been refined rather than reinvented. It has shed its conservative image for a more daring design, which is backed up by a great interior and plenty of technology. Good levels of equipment and a broader range of engines give buyers more choice than before, while a refined driving experience keeps up its premium brand credentials.

    The Audi A3 is a staple of the premium hatchback segment, racking up more than 600,000 sales in the UK since its arrival in 1997. These days it faces stiff competition from the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class, not to mention rivalry from within the Volkswagen Group in the form of the Golf.

    Now into its fourth generation, the A3 benefits from a more striking exterior design, with greater differentiation between trims, right down to the style of the lighting. The three-door A3 hatchback is no more, leaving the five-door Sportback and yet-to-be-revealed four-door A3 Saloon in the range. In time you’ll be able to choose your new A3 with almost any kind of engine, because petrol and diesel versions will be joined by a 48-volt mild hybrid and, further down the line, a plug-in hybrid that’s likely to offer around 37 miles of electric range.

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    • The A3 is built on an evolution of the MQB platform that underpins a range of models within the VW Group, such as the Skoda Octavia and Golf. For the A3 this time around some of its proportions have changed, with a wider track and an increase in overall width and length. The tweaks bring with them more headroom and legroom for passengers front and rear, although there is no increase in boot capacity in comparison with the outgoing A3. It remains at 380 litres, expanding to 1,200 litres with the rear seat backs folded.

      When you sit in the driver’s seat, you’re greeted by a very different cabin design to past A3 models. There’s a real cockpit feel to it, with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster fitted as standard (a larger 12.3-inch version is available as an option) and air vents placed high on either side.

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      A 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen is included too, and is angled towards the driver. Models with the S tronic automatic gearbox get a stubby toggle switch in place of the usual gear selector, freeing up more space on the centre console.

      The A3 35 TFSI we’re driving here uses a 148bhp 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine, and cylinder-on-demand tech allows it to run on two cylinders when cruising to reduce fuel consumption. New for this generation A3 is a mild-hybrid version that takes fuel saving one step further, courtesy of its 48-volt electrical system. This provides engine-off coasting for short periods, uses uprated hardware to restart the engine more smoothly and harvests energy when slowing down. However, we found the brake pedal to be short on feel when compared with A3s without the technology. Think of it as a stepping stone to the full-on plug-in hybrid e-tron model that’s in the pipeline.

      On the move, the A3 is composed and it delivers the kind of smooth drive you’d expect from a premium product such as this. Even without quattro four-wheel drive, there’s plenty of grip and composure in faster corners, helped by the multi-link rear suspension design.

      The optional Progressive Steering set-up requires fewer turns at low speeds, and drivers can alter its feel through different drive modes. We tried models with the adaptive suspension, which has been further improved over previous versions, and found the comfort levels to be pretty good. Nonetheless, the standard suspension set-up will meet the needs of most people, so the adaptive system is no longer an essential option.

      A 35 TDI diesel model will also be offered at launch, powered by an improved 148bhp 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine and mated to a seven-speed S tronic auto with front-wheel drive, followed up by an all-wheel-drive quattro option later. It delivers power smoothly and more quietly than its predecessor, thanks in part to the addition of a sound-insulating windscreen. It also feels punchier than the petrol car, courtesy of its 360Nm of torque.

      However, if you’re in the market for something more frugal again, then it’s worth waiting for the 114bhp 30 TDI, which will offer better economy and lower emissions without a big drop in overall driveability. Early pricing makes the new Audi A3 costlier than its nearest rivals, but the quality and design could be enough to win buyers over

      Model: Audi A3 35 TFSI MHEV S tronic Sport
      Price: £28,000 (est)
      Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl turbocharged petrol mild hybrid 
      Power/Torque: 148bhp/250Nm
      Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive 
      0-62mph: 8.4 seconds
      Top speed: 139mph
      On sale May

      Source: Read Full Article

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    Car Reviews

    New Highway Charging Park In Germany: 20 Tesla & IONITY Chargers

    At strategic locations, chargers of different fast charging networks are installed side-by-side.

    This week, at the 24-TOTAL-Autohof Lutterberg rest stop, along the A7 highway in Germany (between Kassel and Göttingen), a large DC fast charging station was opened with 20 stalls. One might say it’s not a big deal, as we already saw larger stations many times, but let’s take a closer look.

    First of all, the site consists of chargers from two networks – Tesla Supercharging network and IONITY network. The presence of different operators at a single location is not accidental, because this is a strategic location. We saw such examples also elsewhere.

    This new installation displays one major thing – the different approach. As we can see, there are 16 Superchargers (V2 with up to 150 kW output – shared between each two stalls) and just four 350 kW IONITY chargers (with an option of two more).

    It’s quite interesting that Tesla installs more chargers per site. In Germany, the company already installed close to 80 stations – the biggest has 22 stalls, while 24 are equipped with at least 10 stalls, according to the supercharge.info.

    IONITY is quickly approaching a similar number of stations, but it seems that it limits itself to 4 chargers per site, at least in the majority of cases.

    Fast charging station in Germany (source: 24-Autohof)

    Another difference is the charging output. IONITY is going all the way up to 350 kW and 800 V, while Tesla stays at about half the voltage and 150 kW. Moreover, every two stalls share power from a charger.

    Supercharge.info so far does not show any V3 Superchargers in Germany, which are rated at 250 kW and are able to provide full 250 kW to each stall, regardless of power usage at an adjacent stall.

    Availability is another difference – Tesla Superchargers are only for Tesla cars, while IONITY is a more open network, for all vehicles, compatible with the CCS Combo 2 standard.

    In terms of pricing, there’s no surprise here. Tesla seems to not charge much per kWh (some models are offered with free Supercharging), while IONITY set quite a significant price of €0.79 per kWh for customers without contracts – those with contracts with Connected Mobility Service Providers, can replenish energy way cheaper:

    As far as we know, Tesla did not join the IONITY bandwagon as a Connected Mobility Service Provider, which means that both networks (or maybe rather Tesla as an EV manufacturer and the group of manufacturers behind IONITY*) are basically fortified behind their moats.

    * – IONITY is a joint venture founded for the European market in 2017 by BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Porsche AG. In 2019 the endeavour was joined by the Hyundai Motor Group.

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