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BMW 4 series coupé

New name, same class act

Luttrestown Castle has launched many a celebrity marriage in its time, but recently it was BMW’s turn to launch their replacement for the 3 Series coupé. Introducing the 4 Series, a new name intended to distance the coupé from its saloon siblings and allow it to move upmarket. To look at, it’s clear where the 4 Series gene pool lies. It’s recognisably based on the recently introduced 3, but it’s longer, lower and sleeker. Every panel has been changed and it’s undeniably a sleek design which will impress wherever it goes. To drive, it’s the same BMW experience we’ve come to know, with excellent ride, steering and handling. I drove the 420d, which is expected to take the lion’s share of sales and it represents the base model until the arrival of the 420i petrol, later this year. It’s a responsive, economical engine, producing 184 bhp. Curiously, just like the saloon, I found myself slightly disappointed with outright performance on …

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Consumers support motor industry swappage scheme

Consumer research has shown emphatic support for the Society of the Irish Motor Industry’s (SIMI) Budget submission scheme, Swappage, which proposes a reduction of €2,000 in VRT for any new car purchased in 2014 when a car aged 6 years or older is traded in. The research, conducted by Ignite Research, shows that 78% of people would be likely to purchase a new car if a new scheme was introduced to reduce the cost. The average discount that would be expected by consumers is €3,087. Alan Nolan, Director General of SIMI said; “There has been an extremely positive reaction since we proposed Swappage for this Budget. There is an overriding consensus that this works for everyone, the government, the industry and as this research shows, the consumer too. “The proposal would reduce the VRT by €2,000 on a new car with a trade-in of six years or older. However, the feedback we have had from manufacturers and dealers is that …

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The Fiat 500S

New sportier Fiat 500S launches

In the aftermath of the recently launched 500L, the Fiat 500 family continues to grow with the introduction of a new 500S, which brings a sportier look to the range. Inspired by Abarth editions of previous Fiat’s, the new car is designed to appeal to those who want the look of something a bit out of the ordinary, combined with affordable running costs. The 500S gets new front and rear bumpers, new side skirts, a boot-lid mounted rear spoiler, dark chrome detailing, chrome exhaust, rear privacy glass and new alloy wheels. A total of eight body colours are available now, with matt black available soon. The interior features new sports seats, a flat bottomed steering wheel and red detailing on the seats, wheel and gear lever. A matt silver dashboard also makes an appearance. Powering is provided either from the 69 bhp 1.2 petrol or the 85 bhp TwinAir turbo petrol. Both models come with air conditioning, Blue & Me …

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The Fiesta ST is a real pocket rocket

Fiesta ST brings back joy of driving

I was driving up to the All-Ireland last Friday and as I passed a Cork car on the motorway, I thought ‘Ha! In 24 hours we’ll have the beating of ye.’ Then I was struck with a horrible thought. My test car that week was a Ford and Ford being a  Cork firm, the car was registered in Cork. For a good Bannerman like myself it was almost unthinkable to be driving a flame-red Cork registered car at a time like this. I hate those little flags that attach to car windows with a passion but if you offered me one that night I’d have snapped your arm off. At least by way of compensation, I was driving something rather special. The Fiesta ST is a hot hatch from the old school, with a simple philosophy of a stiff chassis, meaty wheels and a powerful engine driving the front wheels. As part of the never ending drive for efficiency, downsizing …

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Honda CR-V

Honda announces pricing for new CR-V 1.6 diesel

Honda has confirmed launch pricing for their CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC 2WD SUV. Arriving in Honda Dealerships nationwide from October 21st, the CR-V will offer class-leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions from €31,995. The CR-V is powered by the 1.6 litre diesel engine already employed in the Civic. The lightest engine of its type in the world, it offers impressive emissions of just 119 g/km, resulting in annual road tax of €200. Fuel economy is aided by Honda’s stop start system and claimed fuel economy of 4.5 l/100 km means a theoretical range of 1280 km from a full tank of diesel. The CR-V is a proper family sized SUV, with 1,669 litres of luggage available. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, 17″ alloy wheels, cruise control, folding rear seats, electric windows, alarm, usb audio and daytime running lights. The new CR-V brings Honda straight into the family car market with a well priced offering. The full fat 4wd version is …

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Alfa Romeo 4C

4C brings Alfa Romeo back to sports cars

Alfa Romeo’s breathtaking 4C sportscar has been launched although it will be a short while before it hits these shores. Styled in the same vein as the larger 8C Competizione, it has to be one of the best looking cars to be introduced by any marque. The mid-engined car is powered by a new, aluminium turbocharged petrol engine. Although it might seem small at just 1750cc, it develops 240 bhp and 350Nm of torque, both records for specific power for this size of engine. The engine is twinned with the latest TCT twin clutch semi-automatic gearbox and Alfa’s DNA driving mode selector, which in this application also comes with a race mode. The chassis is made of carbon fibre, endowing the car with great strength and light weight. The weight of the chassis is a remarkably low 65 kgs, while the car as a whole has a dry weight of 895 kg and a 40:60 front:rear weight distribution. 0-100 km/h …

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SsangYong Rodius

Rodius new to Ireland

SsangYong are making a comeback in Ireland. They have already launched the Korando, earlier this year and that model has now been joined by the Rodius, which is being launched at the National Ploughing Championships this week in Co Laois. The Rodius is a full seven seater and this time around, it’s powered by Ssangyong’s own diesel engine, a 2.0 litre unit producing 155 bhp. At this stage, let’s deal with the elephant in the room. The old Rodius – in fact all Ssangyong’s – were hideously ugly. They looked ungainly from all angles and faces that not even a mother could love. Happily, the first time I saw a Korando, I didn’t know what it was until I got closer and I thought it was a very good looking design. The same can be said for the Rodius, which has a distinctly upright, almost American inspired look. It’s going to be one of the largest MPVs on the Irish …

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Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Suzuki’s new Crossover is on the way

Suzuki are bringing a brand new Crossover onto the Irish market. The SX4 S-Cross goes on sale in mid October, priced from €19,995. The new car is available in a choice of two or four wheel drive and with either a 1.6 litre petrol or diesel engine. In 2WD trim, the diesel engine emits just 110g/km of CO2, equating to 4.2 l/100 km. All models get seven airbags, ESP, tyre pressure monitoring, DRL, bluetooth, cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, heated door mirrors and a space saver tyre. GL+ trim gets spoked alloy wheels, dual zone climate control, front fog lamps, rear privacy glass, silver roof rails and silver skid plates. Top of the range GLX gets front and rear parking sensors, ALLGRIP 4WD, leather upholstery, a world-first double sliding panoramic sunroof, electric retractable mirrors, 17” alloys, HID projector headlamps, headlamp washers and LED DRL. Both 1.6 litre engines, whether petrol or diesel, produce power of 120 bhp, although …

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