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Kia Niro interior

Kia Niro concept to be unveiled at Frankfurt

Kia has confirmed that its dramatic new European concept, to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, will be called the Niro.   The Niro hints at a possible future B-segment contender ready to take on the urban environment and will preview an innovative new powertrain when it is revealed on September 10.  The car was designed at Kia’s Frankfurt design studio under the direction of Gregory Guillaume, Chief Designer Europe. Niro’s unveiling in Frankfurt will be used to gauge potential customer response for future showroom models.

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The gorgeous E-Type with St Michael's Mount in the background.

To St Ives in an E-Type

It’s easy to forget that you don’t have to travel far for a great holiday. We’ve all been so spoiled by cheap flights that we seem to have abandoned the option of hopping on a ferry and visiting our nearest neighbours. Last year, my wife and I decided to try a holiday in Devon and Cornwall, mainly because of my fond memories of the area from a childhood trip in the mid 70s. At the same time, we were marking our 20th wedding anniversary and Shelly came up with the bright idea for my anniversary present of renting a vintage car for a few days while we were over there. I was definitely game for that and quickly decided that nothing short of an E-Type Jaguar convertible would do.   The problems began when I tried to find one for hire. It was easy enough to find cars, but none of them were near Cornwall. I got a lead on …

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Audi Sport quattro concept

Audi Sport quattro concept

To celebrate the 30th birthday of the Sport quattro, Audi are unveiling its spiritual successor at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The new concept is a plug-in hybrid, generating a total of 700 bhp in all. Fuel consumption is quoted at 2.5 l/100 km and 0-100 km/h takes just 3.7 seconds. 21” wheels and short overhangs echo the styling of the original Sport quattro. Flat C-pillars and the rectangular double headlights complete the look. The headlights feature new Matrix LED technology, which will also be available later this year in the facelifted A8. Torque of 800 Nm is fed to the road through an eight speed tiptronic into a quattro drivetrain, with a differential on the rear axle. The engine itself is a 4.0 litre twin turbo V8, with the ability to deactivate up to four cylinders under part load. A stop start system also features. An electric motor, producing 150 bhp is mounted between the engine and the transmission. The …

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High performance Golf

Two high performance models have been added to the Golf range, the new Mk 7 having been launched late last year in Ireland. The new Golf was the best selling car on 131 plates and has already been awarded the titles of European Car of the Year and World Car of the Year. The new variants are the iconic GTI and the more practical, but no less fun, GTD. Visually, there’s almost nothing to choose between the two, save some minor differences in trim. It’s down to personal preference whether the high revving nature of the petrol or the torque and fuel economy of the diesel floats your boat more. The new GTI is powered by a new 2.0 litre TFSI which produces 220 bhp and 350 Nm of torque. This is enough to take the car from 0-100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds. Top speed is an impressive 246 km/h. Emissions are particularly low, at 139 g/km, especially given …

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In car distractions compromise road safety

Are we being driven to distraction by in car technology?

Delegates attending the 2013 Automotive Forum, organised by the Irish Motoring Writers Association (IMWA) and sponsored by Continental Tyres, were given a glimpse of some of the new and emerging automotive technologies that will soon be a key feature of the cars we drive. Just imagine your car communicating with the road infrastructure and other road users to warn you about traffic jams or an accident up ahead; then imagine being able to stream music and video material from the internet through your car’s audio-visual system and being able to consult apps from the dashboard that provide information about restaurants, hotels or shopping options on your drive route. However, what of the distraction potential for drivers who are facing information overload in this brave new world of motoring? An audience from motoring, road safety and other sectors came together today at the RDS in Dublin to hear two expert international speakers talk about how car technology is changing the role …

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The Jaguar XF is a tempting option in the executive car sector.

Jaguar XF is a class act

There was a time when Jaguar was seen as an old man’s car and a rich, old man’s car at that. Time moves on and the XF, in particular, was instrumental in changing people’s perception of Jaguar. When launched, this mid-range executive car was as modern as anything else on the market. With great handling and a sublime interior, it quickly became a real alternative to the established German executive alternatives. I’ve already tested the 3.0 litre, with its creamy V6 diesel, but lately, this model has been joined by a more affordable 2.2 litre unit. Given our car tax rates, this version will be the more practical option for most buyers. Straight away, what strikes is the interior, which conspires to be both comfortable, luxurious and elegant in a way only Jaguars seem to manage. This being the base model, I was slightly disappointed to find that the seats were only half-leather, a decision that seems surprising, given that …

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Hyundai's Veloster is an interesting and attractive choice in the coupé sector.

Something completely different

There was a time, not so long ago, when Hyundai ruled the roost in the coupé market. Their not so imaginatively named Coupé was conventionally styled but very pretty and sold by the bucket load, particularly in Ireland. Now, Hyundai are back in the coupé game with a very different model, the Veloster. At first glance, this looks like a very attractive, but conventional three-door hatch, but if you look a little more closely, you’ll discover the Veloster’s party trick. On one side, there’s just a single driver’s door, while on the other, you also have a rear door, offering easy access to the rear seats. In some ways, it’s the best of both worlds, with the style of a coupé and the practicality of a five-door. It’s not a unique solution, Mini having pulled the same trick with the Clubman, but kudos to Hyundai for engineering the car properly for right hand drive, with the extra doors on the …

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An interior view of the BMW M3.

Latest M3 hits the road

Since its launch in 1986, the BMW M3 has been a performance icon. Conceived initially to be what used to be known as a homologation special, it only made production because BMW wanted to go racing in it. That first M3 was quite a raw car, more at home on the rally stage than the Autobahn. A four cylinder 2.3 litre engine, loosely based on BMW’s Formula 1 engine of the era provided 238 bhp, which, in a light bodyshell, proved more than ample. Like many things, the M3 has moved on and become more sophisticated. The last two models were propelled by increasingly more powerful versions of the Bavarian maker’s iconic inline six and the M3 has evolved to encompass saloon and convertible versions, to further broaden its appeal. So far over 150,000 examples have been sold. The launch of a new M3 is always noteworthy, especially when the new car has evolved so much. Not wishing to get …

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