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Audi's A3 e-tron is a full hybrid.

Starts ups asked to pitch their idea in an Audi e-tron

Could you pitch your new business idea in 90 seconds while being driven around Mondello race rack? That’s what Audi Ireland asked start-up companies to do this week. As part of the Web Summit, taking place in Dublin this week, Audi Ireland offered start-ups the opportunity to take the elevator pitch challenge and pitch their idea to a venture capitalist. The only catch is they had to do it in the back of an Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, and complete their pitch in the time it takes to finish a lap of the Kildare track. The all-new A3 Sportback e-tron is Audi’s first plug-in hybrid model. This new car has the ability to cover up to 50 kilometres in electric mode and its TFSI petrol engine offers a range of over 900 kilometres in combined mode. Audi Ireland is the official car sponsor of this year’s Web Summit and are showcasing their adavanced technologies under the banner of “Audi Innovative …

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The carbon fibre Alfa Romeo 4C.

Alfa Romeo are back

Ask any car nut to name their favourite marques and the chances are Alfa Romeo will come close to the top of most lists. Unfortunately, a lot of that is down to nostalgia and remembering past glories like the Alfasud. In truth, in recent years Alfa have lost their way, with too many bland and uninspiring designs. Happily there are signs that Alfa Romeo are on the rebound, with a plethora of new product on the way, including the long anticipated rear wheel drive 3 Series rival, the Giulia, which unfortunately we won’t see until 2016 at the earliest. In the meantime though, there’s hope in the form of the gorgeous 4C, a truly brilliant mid-engined car that does an inspired job of showcasing Alfa Romeo’s talents. With styling loosely based on the larger, more expensive 8C Competizione, the 4C is a striking car on the road. A strict two seater, it’s roughly the size of a MiTo, in other …

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Budget disappointment for hauliers

THE Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has expressed its deep disappointment that no change to commercial vehicle road tax was announced in this year’s budget. Commenting after the budget announcement, president of the IRHA, Eoin Gavin stated, “The association and its members are dismayed as to why Government has totally ignored the HGV road tax differential between Ireland and the rest of Europe. There was not even a mention of the importance of the sector in the Minister’s comments.” In order to prevent a further increase in the number of vehicles ‘reflagging’ to other jurisdictions, the IRHA is now calling on the Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe and the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly to immediately intervene in order to protect jobs in the sector. Mr Gavin went on to state, “It is extremely disappointing and this will result in a significant number of vehicles registering to other jurisdictions where operating costs are more favourable. The available data over …

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This handsome Toyota C-HR concept has a possible production future.

Paris Motor Show highlights

It’s often the case that Geneva shows the concept cars, while the two larger shows, Paris and Frankfurt, have more of an emphasis on production cars that we will actually see in showrooms. So it proved to be at Paris this year anyway, with a huge amount of new product on display, even if some of it won’t reach here until next year. Seeing as we were in Paris, I thought it appropriate to start with Peugeot and besides, they were the first stand I hit in Hall 1. An updated Exalt concept was the highlight, which incorporates trim made from recycled newspapers. This high-tech design was complemented by a beautifully styled sofa, made of Onyx and carbon fibre. Believe it or not, you can buy this now. More prosaically perhaps, we also saw the new 108, which will be here for January. It’s one of the trio that also comprise the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo. Another car I …

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Garda tyre safety operation

As part of Road Safety week, An Garda Síochána will be conducting a national targeted tyre safety operation for a 24 -hour period from 7am on this Thursday until 7am on Friday. Many drivers are increasing the risk of a collision for themselves and others by failing to replace excessively worn, defective or damaged tyres, a senior garda cautioned. Assistant Commissioner John Twomey, head of the Traffic Corps, said, “Although the minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm for cars and 1mm for motorcycles, the simple fact is the more tread depth you have, the more grip you have on the road. Considering we are moving into wetter weather, this fact is all the more relevant. We appeal to all drivers and riders to specifically check the tread depth and condition of their tyres, and if necessary arrange for them to be changed. In support of this initiative, the Irish Tyre Industry Association are inviting motorists to drop in to …

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The new Ford Focus introduces some new technologies and goes on sale in November.

Ford Focus on technology

A newly updated version of the best-selling Ford Focus will be here in November and will start from €20,295. Engine choices include the familiar 1.6 litre diesels in 95 bhp and 115 bhp forms and a 2.0 litre 150 bhp diesel will also be offered. Petrol options consist of the 1.0 litre Ecoboost engine, which can be had with either 100 or 125 bhp. This is a cracking little engine and has been voted International Engine of the Year three years in a row. It could be a canny choice for anyone not doing enough miles to justify a diesel. An entry level Focus will be offered and the range also includes Style, Zetec and Titanium trims, all familiar to Ford buyers. Bodystyles include a five door hatchback, four door saloon and five door estate. All Focus models come with ESP with Hill Launch Assist, MyKey Gen 2, body colour bumpers and spoiler, electric front windows, tyre pressure monitoring, power …

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The new Jaguar XE

New Jaguar XE launched in London

Jaguar revealed their brand new XE sports saloon at a spectacular launch event at Earl’s Court, London, this evening. The scene was more akin to a West End Show than the usual exhibitions normally seen at the venue. The 90 minute spectacular was narrated by actor, John Hannah and featured performances from Emili Sandé, The Kaiser Chiefs, Eliza Doolittle and what appeared to be half the actors currently appearing on the West End. The story brought us through scenes from Jaguar’s illustrious history as a 16 year old boy, aided by a time traveller, attempted to create a new Jaguar for 2015, distilling the ethos of the brand in the process before the final, spectacular reveal. It was certainly an enjoyable, at times breath-taking performance and really brought home how important the success of the XE is to Jaguar. I’m sure there were many celebrities attending, but I don’t write for Hello and I didn’t recognise any faces, beyond Sir …

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New Volkswagen Passat

New Volkswagen Passat announced

Details of Volkswagen’s highly anticipated new Passat have just been released in advance of the model’s introduction in time for the 151 sales rush. Preorders are being taken now and a National Roadshow will showcase the car in November. Two petrol and three diesel engines will be offered initially, with a starting price of €27,295 for the 1.4 litre TSI petrol model, which produces 125 bhp. A 1.6 diesel with 120 bhp starts at €28,940. Estate models will also be available from the start, attracting a premium of around €2,000. The other petrol engine is also a 1.4, but produces 150 bhp and also employs Active Cylinder Technology to shut off two cylinders when the car is under light loads. It’s amazing technology. In the Golf, I’ve often cruised at motorway speeds on two cylinders and you genuinely can’t tell the difference. This version will start from €35,145 in Highline trim. Two 2.0 litre diesel engines join the 1.6, developing …

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