Volkswagen has developed the new petrol powered 1.5 TSI ACT BlueMotion engine that offers diesel-like fuel economy but is significantly cheaper to buy. But there's more. It also saves fuel by simply switching off two of its four cylinders whilst you're driving. Active Cylinder Management, or ACT for short, is able to deactivate the two inner cylinders when power demand is low. The deactivation function operates within an engine speed range of 1,400 to 4,000 rpm and at vehicle speeds up to 130 km/h. The driver is made aware of the barely perceptible changeover from four to two-cylinder operation by the "2-cylinder mode" notification in the instrument display. It also has an "eco-coasting" mode to further reduce fuel consumption. Volkswagen will be launching further derivatives of the 1.5 TSI ACT BlueMotion into the future, and their engine developers have designed the basic technical matrix to enable mild, full and plug-in hybrid drive systems and natural gas engines as well.
This weekend's 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix marks the beginning of Aston Martin's most ambitious global motorsport programme in more than half a century. For the first time since 1959, the Aston Martin name will appear in both the Formula 1 and Le Mans 24 Hours entry lists. "Racing forms part of the original DNA of the company and this reinforces the message," said Aston Martin's President and Chief Executive Officer, Andy Palmer. "It's in the name, Lionel Martin built and raced his car up Aston Hill, so it's always been part of what we are." Aston Martin Racing will be entering an exciting new challenger - the Vantage GTE - in the GTE Pro category of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season. In total, the world-famous racing marque will be significantly invested in 44 races around the world in 2018.
After making its world debut at the recent Geneva Motor Show, Mazda has announced the specification and pricing for the UK of their all-new Mazda6. This is for both the Saloon and Tourer versions. There are many new features for the Mazda6 including an upgraded cabin, revised styling and enhanced technology. The range features 24 models across four trim levels: SE-L Nav+, SE-L LUX Nav+, Sport Nav+ and GT Sport Nav+. There is also the UK debut of Mazda's cylinder deactivation SKYACTIV-G 2.5-litre petrol engine, with the updated Mazda6 also seeing the popular SKYACTIV-D 2.2-litre diesel engine benefitting from a power upgrade to 184ps. "With new powertrain technology, fresh premium design details inside and out, revised model grades and more standard technology, the new Mazda6 is a thoroughly re-engineered and refined update of our stylish flagship," commented Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director Mazda Motors UK. The all-new Mazda6 will be priced from £23,045 to £32,795.
With potholes becoming an increasing problem on Britain's roads, the RAC are helping people with advice of how to report them. Potholes are a persistent concern for motorists, as they cause damage to vehicles and present a potential safety hazard. The RAC track how many of their members break down as a result of a pothole and compile the figures into a quarterly RAC Pothole Index. If your car is damaged by a pothole, you may be able to claim compensation. The chances of being successful in a claim depends on whether the pothole has already been reported. The RAC website now contains a guide to potholes, from reporting them to claiming damage, to help make motorists' lives easier.
Polestar 1, the first car from the new electric performance brand Polestar, is now available for pre-ordering in the United Kingdom. Along with the opening of the pre-order process, a new car configuration tool allows prospective customers to visualise their Polestar 1 before placing their pre-order. The Polestar 1 is an Electric Performance Hybrid GT coupe which produces 600 hp and 1,000 Nm of torque, while offering 150 km of pure electric driving range - the longest of any hybrid car in the world. "With more than 7,000 people interested in owning a Polestar 1 since its reveal, we are extremely encouraged by the passion shown for our product," says Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar. "We will now take the next steps towards delivering this beautiful car to our first customers." The pre-order process involves a fully refundable £2,500 deposit, which serves as a placeholder in the queue for a Polestar 1.
As modern life becomes increasingly more manic and stressful, camping is becoming all the more popular as an easy way to relax and unwind. Recent research by Visit Britain shows camping is becoming a national obsession - with some 15 million trips being made each year. Others are predicting that by 2020, it could be nearer 21 million trips. Many sites have top notch facilities, like the one at Trevornick, a five-star camping and touring haven near Newquay in north Cornwall. Camping has never been so easy with their deluxe Eurotents that have three bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen with utensils, internal lighting, a spacious living and dining area with seating, plus a TV/DVD and on-site movie channel. There's plenty of storage space plus your own picnic table. Literally, all you have to bring is your bedding. It's all the modern family would want.
Automotive data experts Hpi have analyse used sales figures to create a list of the best hybrid vehicles when it comes to depreciation. The analysis looked at hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles at one year old and 10,000 miles on the clock. The Toyota C-HR retains 84.5% of its value after a year, losing around £4,000. The Lexus NX comes a close second, holding 79.5% of its value over the same period. "While hybrids have grown in volume in recent years," said Chris Plumb, Editor from Hpi, "they still remain relatively scarce in the used market compared to the traditional fuel types." He went on to warn that buyers should avoid high mileage and poor condition examples as they are a turn-off to second hand buyers. The Toyota Prius, Suzuki Ignis, Toyota Rav4, Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq also make the list with industry-leading levels of low depreciation. But as Chris pointed out, "always make sure you pick a vehicle with a full-service history."
BMW has chosen to make the Kumho Crugen HP91 the standard fit on the latest generation of its popular X3 model. Kumho tyres are already fitted to examples of BMW's 1, 2 and 3 Series cars and the Munich-based motor manufacturer has now decided the HP91 is the right product for its mid-size SUV. The Kumho Tire Company, founded in 1960, is based in Seoul, South Korea. With over 10,000 employees, it sells over 60 million tyres worldwide each year. The company primarily develops, manufactures and markets tyres for passenger cars, vans and trucks. It operates production facilities in Korea, China, Vietnam and the USA, and maintains research and development centres in Korea, China, Europe and North America. The Kumho Crugen HP91 has the latest generation silica tread compound to ensure excellent handling in both wet and dry conditions. The tyre impressed testers with its good traction on sand and mud, as well as its excellent balance on wet surfaces.
An Optare Metrodecker EV bus has taken a break from trials with Go-Ahead London to join an electric vehicle gathering at the famous Ace Cafe. The meeting was the first of its kind. The Ace Cafe maybe famous for many things, but to be welcoming a bus to one of its well-known meets, and an electric one at that, is certainly something new. The meeting for pure electric vehicle owners, which also included passenger cars and motorbikes, formed part of the cafe's 80th anniversary celebrations. Graham Johnson, Go-Ahead London, New Cross, General Manager said: "As one of the major bus operators in London we are committed to finding solutions to reduce air pollution. We are currently monitoring how the Optare Metrodecker EV responds to London traffic." He went on to say that it is being trialled on route 36, one of the busiest routes in London, an excellent testing ground for this kind of vehicle.
The Rt Hon Nick Gibb, Minister for School Standards recently visited Rolls-Royce's Headquarters and Manufacturing Plant to meet up with current apprentices from the leather, wood, paint, engineering and assembly roles. It was during National Apprenticeship Week where he was able to hear at first-hand the knowledge and skills they have gained since joining the scheme. He said, "It was a pleasure to meet the Rolls-Royce apprentices. Their commitment and developing expertise was very clear from the way they each described their particular contribution to the creative and manufacturing process." Mr Gibb's visit follows the manufacturer's recent announcement that it is recruiting a record number of places for its 2018 Apprenticeship Programme. This year, 24 candidates will have the opportunity to join the team at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.