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Malta's 1st Motoring Website

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Forty-year-old MGB with just 77 miles on the clock auctioned off

A classic MGB that has covered just 77 miles since it was registered 40 years ago in the UK is currently being auctioned online.

Described as a ‘time capsule’ and ‘brand new’, this MGB was purchased in 1981 by the owner of a tyre business in Hereford, UK and was ordered alongside a matching example. In 1983, this example was sold to a new owner, and it’s had four keepers since. The most recent owner acquired the car in 2016, though the MG has been stored properly for its entire life, ensuring the perfect condition that it remains in today.

While the car is said to have had the occasional fluid changes, it’s never actually been serviced, with very few invoices accompanying the car. The original spare wheel, still packaged jack and tools and an unused tonneau cover also accompany the car.

The roadster is also a rare Limited Edition model, of which just 480 were produced in convertible form to celebrate 50 years of MG at Abingdon, before the factory was closed in 1980. All of the drop-top models are painted in the rather bold shade of Metallic Bronze, while having an orange and brown interior.

Photos: PA Media

The car is being sold by online auction site Car & Classic, with the MGB having a guide price of £30,000 (€35,400).

Car & Classic head of editorial Chris Pollitt, said: “A car with 77 miles on the clock cannot have been driven for more than a few hours since it was bought in 1981, but it is also clear that it has been stored in a way that has preserved it perfectly.

“Mechanically, nothing has been altered as you can see when you lift the bonnet, and the immaculate engine bay looks untouched. We think that this is a great collector car, especially with such few Limited Edition Roadsters still in circulation.”

The online auction is currently running and finishes on October 27.

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Incredibly rare Renault Clio V6 set to go under the hammer

Mid-engined hot hatch has just 980 miles on the clock.

Hot hatch fans have been alerted to an incredibly rare opportunity to own a low-mileage Renault Clio V6.

An example in the UK is going up for sale on the Collecting Cars auction site and is expected to break records for the mid-engined model.

It is expected to go for more than £70,000 (€82,700), eclipsing the previous record of £62,540. However, it could accelerate well beyond estimates as there are a few desirable aspects that could set off a bidding war.

The first is that it has just 980 miles on the clock, with Collecting Cars saying it is delivered in ‘time warp condition’. It is said to have no exterior blemishes and a pristine interior. Furthermore, it’s one of just 18 Liquid Yellow models sold in the UK.

The Clio V6 is considered highly desirable because it’s an incredible feat of engineering. Renault engineers relocated the engine to the middle of the car, a layout that’s usually reserved for serious sports cars because it provides excellent weight distribution.

Photos: PA Media

It utilises a 3.0-litre V6 Renaultsport engine making 251bhp, routed through a six-speed manual gearbox. Again, its sporting credentials are clear, with the Clio’s standard front-wheel-drive layout ditched in favour of rear-wheel-drive.

Being a Phase 2 model, it has 25bhp more than the earlier car, as well as a longer wheelbase and wider track to improve handling.

That pristine interior is trimmed in half black leather and synthetic suede, with a leather-trimmed steering wheel. The air conditioning, electric windows and cruise control are all in full working order.

Edward Lovett, founder of Collecting Cars, said: “We are delighted to host the sale of what is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable examples of a Renault Clio V6 in the world, with exceptionally low mileage and originality.

“Prospective owners of any collector car are often told to buy the best example they can afford and this particular Clio V6 is among the very best of them all.”

The Renault Clio V6 auction is running now and ends on October 27 at 7.20pm.

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The performance cars you need to check out today

The enthusiasm for driving sure isn’t dead – and these are some of the best cars to enjoy the open road in.

There’s still plenty of enthusiasm for driving these days. Take one look at the new car market and you’ll see a variety of models which trade on their ability to induce a grin on a twisty road. In fact, there are plenty of performance cars out there that have been engineered specifically to make the most of every drive.

So let’s dive in and see some of the best options on the market today.

Photos: PA Media

BMW M5 CS

BMW’s M5 has always been one of the poster stars of the fast saloon segment, but the CS version takes things one step further. Though it’s still a useable and practical car, it’s lighter and more focused than even the standard M5.

Plus, it’s got some unique touches such as the retro-style yellow daytime running lights and the oversized carbon bucket seats.

Caterham Seven

If you want the purest driving experience around then look no further than the Caterham Seven. Still handbuilt in the UK, the Seven is incredible lightweight and this makes it ideal for darting around country lanes.

Ranging in power outputs – from the Suzuki-engined 170 to the supercharged 620R – there’s a Seven for all tastes.

Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R is often seen as the benchmark for hot hatches. The most recent version is arguably one of the best to date, with impressively sharp handling being matched by a useable and practical bodystyle.

Though its looks might not be for everyone, the Civic Type R is still one of the best-driving cars on sale today.

Toyota GR Yaris

When Toyota announced that it would be making a rally-inspired version of its Yaris, there were some reservations about whether or not the final product would be any good. How wrong people were. The end result – the GR Yaris – is a brilliant example of what a hot hatch can be.

With a clever four-wheel-drive system incredibly dialled-in handling, the GR Yaris feels as though it was designed for the open road.

Porsche Cayman

Porsche’s Cayman is often guilty of stealing some of the attention from its larger stablemate, the 911. With its relatively compact proportions but expertly judged steering, the Cayman is a really useable daily sports car that just happens to be one of the best-handling ones around.

It’s surprisingly practical, too, with more boot space than you might expect from a car of this size.

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Genesis GV60 crossover revealed as premium brand’s first electric car

Genesis has revealed the GV60, its first bespoke electric vehicle, in a detailed gallery of images.

With the production car not due to hit forecourts until early next year, details are currently fairly thin on the ground.

However, what we do know is that it uses Hyundai’s E-GMP electric vehicle platform, with Genesis being the South Korean firm’s luxury division, meaning it can benefit from its technology.

That means it will have the same underpinnings as the highly praised Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the forthcoming Kia EV6, but where those cars have quite dramatic futuristic styling, the GV60 looks a little more restrained – if you ignore the lime green paint colour used for the launch photos, of course.

As such, it should have rapid charging capabilities of up to 350kW and a range of up to 300 miles.

Photos: PA Media

Genesis says the GV60 is the next step in evolving its naming structure, where lower numbers will be more ‘athletic’ and higher numbers focus on a more premium, relaxing experience. This model will therefore sit below the GV70 and GV80 in the line-up as the most driver-focused car from the firm yet.

The GV60 takes design elements from the firm’s existing cars but adapts them for an electric vehicle. The huge grille that typically dominates Genesis front ends has been widened and placed lower in the front grille because electric vehicles don’t have the same cooling requirements as internal combustion engines.

The quad lamp design remains, while the bonnet has a ‘clamshell’ design that includes the front fenders. From the side profile there is a clear coupe-like swoop to the rear of the roof with a sporty spoiler.

Jump inside and there’s a pair of ‘floating’ displays that stretch from behind the wheel to the centre of the dashboard, which include the digital instrument binnacle and infotainment screen. Small displays in the doors show the digital wing mirrors, and between the passengers sits a drive gear selector called a ‘Crystal Sphere’, which hides away when not needed.

The Genesis GV60 is one of three electric vehicles to come from the firm in Europe over the next year. Pricing and specification details have not yet been announced, but it is expected to go on sale in early 2022.

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Bono’s Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL set to go under the hammer at auction

A 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL formerly owned by U2 frontman Bono is set to be auctioned off this week with an estimate of €17.5k.

The classic model incorporates a variety of modifications introduced by the singer, who bought the vehicle to celebrate the success of U2’s first album, Boy.

It has an interior that has been entirely retrimmed in a cowhide pattern, with the eye-catching material used on all areas including the parcel shelf and door cards. However, one of the standout features is the Alpine sound system, which was fitted by Bono at a cost of €14k– around €80k today.

Photos: PA Media

Consisting of several amps and a variety of speakers, it was so powerful that Bono kept a fire extinguisher in the car at all times in case it set on fire.

The exterior of the car is finished in grey paint, while the wheels benefit from new tyres. Recently serviced and given a new starter motor and battery, the Mercedes has covered 163,000 miles since new. It does, however, require a few areas of attention with some corrosion appearing on the underside of the car and a handful of rust spots on the edge of the bonnet.

Bono auctioned the car off in 2000 when it was purchased by Pepsi as a way of raising money for Ethiopian aid projects.

The Mercedes is being sold online by Car & Classic.

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The new Ford Puma range gets automatic transmission

Last September, in Cologne, Ford launched the all-new Puma ST; an exciting car model which acclaims Ford Performance driving dynamics to the compact SUV segment for the very first time in Europe. The Puma is the first small Ford to use hybrid power, in the form of a 48V system bolstering a three-cylinder petrol turbo engine. This new and sensational car model is now in Malta and exclusively at the showroom of GasanZammit in Mrieħel.

The new compact SUV Ford Puma, features a larger frontal area, a higher centre of gravity and more weight. No doubt, this fresh car model, clearly distances itself from traditional ‘driver’s dream’ territory. Thanks to this latest car unveiling, Ford has expanded the Puma line-up, adding a new seven-speed automatic gearbox option for the car turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder mild-hybrid powertrains. Upon its inauguration, Ford said that in-gear acceleration for the 123bhp; Puma Hybrid automatic has improved by four per cent over the previous non-hybrid model. The more powerful 153bhp Puma Hybrid automatic is also 0.2 seconds faster from 0–62mph, with a time of 8.7 seconds.

Besides, the Puma’s automatic gearbox has been devised to hold lower gears when the car is in Sport mode, while the transmission can perform “triple downshifts” when the engine is under heavy load, according to Ford. The manufacturer said that this would make the new Puma speedier when it comes to overtaking. Drivers can also select gears manually using the paddles behind the steering wheel.

In automatic form, the Ford Puma is more economical and puts out a lower level of CO2 emissions than its manual counterpart. The 125hp 1.0-litre EcoBoost Hybrid’s figures of 127g/km and 49.6mpg compare with 132g/km and 47.9mpg for the similarly powered manual version.

Since the day it was formally exposed in public, the new Ford Puma has become a firm favourite of the junior crossover segment. Moreover, it has scooped high-profile awards, and is one of the best cars in its class thanks to a combination of efficient powertrains, practicality and a fun driving experience. Unquestionably, Ford was proved right, and kept its promise with its customers, when the company had guaranteed that the new Puma would have been the world’s most fun crossover on sale.

The Puma offers a properly comfortable interior that delivers practicality and convenience, with a good space for front seat occupants and ample space for children in the back. This is all thanks to the Puma possessing a 2,588mm wheelbase.

With regards to safety, the Ford Puma is well equipped in this department and includes features like Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Keep Aid with Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Impairment Monitor, 180-degree split-view reverse camera and six airbags. Also, it’s interesting to note that this model received a five-star ANCAP rating during testing in 2019. The new Puma is also equipped with performance enhancements and aggressive styling sit side-by side with innovative features including Local Hazard Information connected-car technology and the Ford MegaBox that provides 80 litres of storage beneath the boot floor for everyday practicality.

Puma’s sporty styling – including a sloping roofline silhouette and pronounced wheel arches – lends itself to a more extreme Puma ST design that combines form and function.

Many car critics have described the new Puma ST as being a model all of its own and it can be easily described as an incredibly satisfying small SUV to drive. This new hasn’t been designed to carry the legacy of its predecessor, but it’s a welcome addition to the smaller end of Ford’s crossover line-up. Indisputably, it’s a very accomplished small SUV, funky styling, standard safety gear, and huge and flexible boot space, enjoyable to drive. Get in touch with GasanZammit and book your test-drive now.

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The world’s ‘Favourite Electric Car for 2021’ is in Malta

Mazda’s attractive new all-electric vehicle the MX-30 is finally in Malta, with exceptional driving dynamics, a generous sense of interior space, and a range that efficiently adapts to your daily desire to move – in style. Undoubtedly, the unveiling of this new exciting car model, is a mark of how widespread the car industry’s adoption of EV technology has become, and how quickly it is expanding.

The new arrival of the Japanese brand is a compact crossover and one can easily spot DNA traces of old-school Mazda sports car in the latest electric car. The MX-30 borrows elements of the handsome CX-30 – particularly the chunky wheel arch cladding – but the overall design is sleeker and lower, in part to improve aerodynamic efficiency. In the creation of this novel car, Mazda opted for a fashionable modern SUV body to suit the urban environment in which this car is most likely to be driven; but they’ve also used clever references to other memorable compact Mazda’s of recent times – from the famous MX-5 roadster to the 1990s-era MX-3 coupé – to give the MX-30 some recognisable family gene and a few simple lines sketch out its shape without unnecessary embellishment.

Its most distinctive features, in fact, are the boxy wheel arches and radical handle-less read-hinged back doors, which blend in to give the MX-30 that ever-so-popular coupe-like silhouette. The sleek coupe-like rear end is made possible by “freestyle” doors, similar to those found in the brand’s old RX-8 sports car.

A break in Mazda’s interior design philosophy

Squared-off and edgy where this brand’s SUVs are normally curvy and organic, the MX-30 interior feels like a break in Mazda’s design philosophy. The MX-30’s cabin is simply lovely. There has clearly been a lot of thought in making sure the interior fits the ethos Mazda has gone for with its first EV. Textiles used are leatherette and cloth for the upholstery – the latter available with up to 20% recycled fibres – and there are sections of panelling that use-recycled materials such as plastic bottles to create a felted feeling on the doors for example.

A technology that guarantees safety and reliability

With the launch of this new car model, the MX-30 debuts a range of new design elements for Mazda, including a very cool cascading centre console incorporating a dedicated climate-control touchscreen. There are still physical buttons for all key controls but there is a higher-tech factor at play inside the MX-30.

Mazda’s relatively new software package is mature and intuitive, and thanks to the physical dial, easy and safe to manipulate on a bumpy road. The technology in the all-new MX-30 is not only focused on driving pleasure, but also on delivering a very high level of safety and reliability, with active, passive and battery safety measures expertly integrated for a joyful driving experience. The MX-30 is the first Mazda to achieve an overall five-star rating under the new, more stringent 2020 Euro NCAP crashworthiness ratings.

Focusing on excellent driving dynamics

It’s interestingly to note that the MX-30 takes a different approach to most electric cars, as it focuses on lighter weight, which means a smaller battery, and so a shorter driving range – but a better driving experience. Certainly, the MX-30 is a hoot to drive. When it comes to charge the vehicle, the MX-30 has a right-sized 35.5kWh battery that offers excellent driving dynamics whilst reducing the impact on the environment. Charging at home and on the go is easy and fast, meaning that you are always ready to enjoy the drive. Mazda’s EV offers up to 200KM on a single charge thanks to a 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery capable of charging from 0-80% in just 40 minutes.

Last December, the new full electric SUV model has been named Favourite Electric Car in the 2021 DrivingElectric.com Awards. Since than, it has been praised for its sustainable design and affordable starting price. Moreover, it’s comfortable, stylish from the front, has a feature-packed interior, drives nicely and is unquestionably one of the best yet inexpensive EVs on the market. Get in touch with GasanZammit or else visit their showroom in Mrieħel, to book your test drive now.

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McLaren unveil F1 challenger

Watch: Team ready to challenge for podium finishes

McLaren are aiming to “close the gap” to Mercedes when the new Formula 1 season begins with new driver Daniel Ricciardo looking to get back on the podium, the team announced at its 2021 presentation this week.

The Australian, 31, who has joined the outfit from Renault, will line up alongside 21-year-old Briton Lando Norris who scored a third-placed finish in last season’s Austrian Grand Prix which helped McLaren to finish third in the constructors’ championship.

“As I see it, most teams have a chance for a podium,” said Ricciardo at the digital launch. “Hopefully my experience and my motivation come out on top in whatever battle I am in. I certainly have ambition to be on the podium.

“McLaren has been on an awesome journey over the last few years, and I’m looking forward to helping the team maintain this positive momentum.”

Norris finished ninth in the 2020 drivers’ championship but his preparations for the new season were hampered in January by a spell of quarantine in Dubai after testing positive for COVID-19.

“I felt drained, tired for a couple of weeks, but I am now fully recovered,” he said. “I am altogether confident I can come into the season knowing what I really want.”

McLaren, entering their 54th season in Formula 1, finished last season well behind Mercedes, the seven-time defending champions for drivers’ and constructors’ championships, but hope that their new engines, supplied by Mercedes, will help them to fight for the titles. 

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The heat is on

By TONIO DARMANIN

In anticipation that the SUV market, which has grown consistently for the past 10 years and has gradually nibbled away at the mid-sized segment, will start to subside under the increase pressure from governments to curb the use of gas-guzzling polluters and the ever-increasing cost of fuel, the competition in the estate segment is unprecedented.

As if proof that competition is healthy was needed, the effort that each brand is making to try and out-do its competitors and distinguish its product is resulting in the creation of innovations from which only the consumer stands to gain. The effort that is being made in terms of styling, comfort, quality, safety, technology can be seen in every new model that hits the market. However, the greatest effort being made is in relation to driving pleasure. This segment has been plagued for many years with absolutely boring models, cars aimed at the fleet markets and manufacturers adopting the attitude of “pile them high, sell them cheap”.

However, if this segment is going to win back some of the lost ground from the more exciting SUV competition, it needs to get its act in order and create vehicles that appeal emotionally, not just rationally. Cars that look striking, offer all the creature comforts and are generally perceived as high quality with up-market internal quality and comfort and reflecting the status of the owner. So much so that Citroen are actually promoting the new C5 as a French car, which it is, but with German build quality, simply because German cars are perceived to be superior.

From an aesthetic point of view, I feel Citroen have done a great job. The latest C5 is distinctive and at first glance, looks more like a premium brand vehicle in the league of Audi and BMW. The effort the brand has traditionally made on its flagship model, the C6, has been inherited by the C5 and I have a feeling that eventually the bigger model will be dropped, placing the C5 at the top of the pile.

Another indication of the desire for the brands to tear away from the perceptions of the past is the way in which they change the way they refer to certain models. The terms ‘station wagon’ and the ‘estate’ are completely passé and the days where the saloon version was simply squared off at the rear to give additional storage space are finished. Today, we speak about sport wagons or, as is the case with Citroen, the Tourer. Locally, the mentality still has not fully embraced the concept of the sports-tourer, however if we eventually follow the trends in Europe, this type of model is set to become more popular. Abroad, couples with young children or living a lifestyle where they have hobbies or pastimes requiring the transportation of bulky stuff generally opt for this version as their preferred means of transport.

Citroen have managed to make a seemingly large vehicle look good. Despite the substantial loading space, however, to the dismay of the Minister of Finance, the car is not any longer than the saloon version, therefore no additional taxation due to the length of the vehicle can be levied and Citroen engines are particularly clean with low emissions.

A serious effort has been also made on the inside of the car where one can choose from a vast selection of different materials and finishes with particularly supportive front seats and enough space for three adults to sit comfortably in the back. The unique fixed hub arrangement for the steering is obviously used in this model with a vast array of functions operated from the fixed central unit of the steering. On a negative note, I did not like the way in which the rear seat folds down.

An interesting range of engines are available but it will be interesting to see how petrol and diesel engines are going to be treated under the new tax regime before one can make a choice. The gearbox is smooth and having to choose between the two different suspension systems available, I would opt for the basic which is more than adequate. The C5 kicks off with a decent basic price tag but there is a long list of goodies that will raise the price accordingly.

I feel the C5 represents a quantum leap in terms of quality, styling and materials used over the previous model. It offers the versatility and comfort one would expect without losing the looks, and the size and weight do not negatively affect the driving dynamics of the car. The Tourer is a worthy contender in a segment that is becoming ever more competitive and where we are bound to experience interesting developments in the near future.

This article was first published on Times of Malta on October 6, 2008

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