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Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Volkswagen get five stars in latest crash test ratings

Four vehicles have been given top marks in the latest round of crash testing by Euro NCAP.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volkswagen Multivan, as well as two electric vehicles in the Kia EV6 and Volvo C40 Recharge each took home five stars.

All models performed exceptionally well in crash tests, scoring 90 per cent or more for adult occupant safety. The Kia EV6 was rated 86 per cent for child occupant safety, with the other three getting 89 per cent.

Of the five-star cars tested, the C-Class got the lowest score for driver assistance technology, losing marks for its seatbelt reminder in particular. However, at 82 per cent it still performed well, with the C40 Recharge performing the best of the bunch at 89 per cent.

The biggest differences between these models came in the ‘vulnerable road users’ section, with the C-Class’s active bonnet meaning it significantly outperformed the EV6.

As well as these models, Euro NCAP also tested the Peugeot 308 and Vauxhall Astra, which both sit on the same vehicle platform. Unsurprisingly, this meant they both performed similarly in testing, receiving four stars each.

Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said: “On the whole, we see good scores for crash protection which is, of course, reassuring.

“But crash avoidance is as important as crash protection and the benefits of simply not being in a collision are, of course, immeasurably greater.

“So we will keep the emphasis on all areas of safety in the coming years and some manufacturers will have to continue to up their game in this area if they are not going to be left behind by the competition.”

Euro NCAP also gave an ‘Advanced’ reward to Mercedes-Benz’s ‘Car-to-X Communication’ system, which uses data from other vehicles to provide early warning of potential hazards ahead.

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British Motor Show to be ‘greenest car show ever’ through use of sustainable fuels

The British Motor Show 2022 will be ‘the greenest ever event of its type’ thanks to the use of sustainable fuels.

Organisers have teamed up with Coryton Advanced Fuels to ensure that all vehicles within the show will run on advanced biofuels made from agricultural waste.

While most of the car industry is pressing ahead with phasing out combustion engines and switching to electrified transport, the use of sustainable fuels has been increasing in popularity in recent years.

These fuels, which are also known as synthetic or eFuels, are essentially no different in their basic makeup to the diesel or petrol that comes from crude oil. However, they are produced from renewable sources so their emissions are carbon neutral.

The other benefit is that they can be used in existing combustion-engined cars without any adaptation needed.

Coryton’s ‘Sustain’ brand will be the official fuels partner of this year’s British Motor Show, and will supply all of the petrol and diesel used at the event, including everything from passenger shuttle buses to vehicles used in the live test drives.

The British Motor Show CEO Andy Entwistle said: “While electricity is an option for more motorists than ever, many of us want to make a difference now.

Photos: PA Media

“The beauty of Coryton’s solution is that while the fuel emits carbon, it only emits what it takes out of the atmosphere in the process of it being refined, thus neutralising the overall carbon output.

“By using it in our own vehicles, we want to create a show with minimal carbon output and show that combustion-engined cars can be environmentally friendly right now, especially for those who cherish their classic cars or cannot yet afford a new EV.”

Andrew Willson, Coryton’s CEO, added: “As a company we’re committed to creating world-leading sustainable fuels, raising the profile of these options and helping people to understand the impact they could have on reducing carbon emissions in the immediate future.”

On top of the partnership with Coryton, the British Motor Show says it will be offsetting visitors’ carbon footprint as well as promoting advanced fuels and electric vehicles to showgoers.

The event takes place on August 18-21 at Farnborough International.

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Fifty years of BMW M to be celebrated at Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Central Feature at the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed will pay tribute to 50 years of BMW’s M division.

First established in 1997, the Central Feature has been used to celebrate a variety of different car manufacturers and milestones, with each marked by a sculpture positioned in the centre of the Festival, which is located at the Goodwood estate near Chichester in West Sussex.

This year, it is being used to honour 50 years of BMW M. First launched in May of 1972, BMW M has gone on to create some of the best-known sports and racing cars ever produced and plans to make several new announcements at Goodwood.

It’s expected that the much-anticipated M3 Touring – an estate version of the performance-orientated M3 – will make its formal debut at Goodwood, with a strong chance that it’ll be used to take on the famous hill.

Frank van Meel, CEO of BMW M said: “As BMW M, we feel honoured to play a very special role at this year’s Festival of Speed. For our 50th anniversary, we couldn’t imagine a better place to celebrate our products with fans of the brand. I am particularly looking forward to unveiling a certain vehicle to the world’s public for the first time – a vehicle we have been waiting a long time for.”

Photos: PA Media

Visitors to the show – which takes place from June 23 to 26 – will be able to see some of BMW M’s latest models at its Trackside and Stable Yard locations. Full details of the firm’s presence at the Festival will be announced over the next few weeks.

The Duke of Richmond said: “We are delighted to be celebrating 50 years of BMW’s hugely successful Motorsport division at this year’s Festival of Speed, and it is especially fitting as we prepare to honour ‘The Innovators – Masterminds of Motorsport’. BMW M’s success can of course be attributed to half a century of innovation and we look forward to honouring the marque’s past, present and future achievements at Goodwood in June.”

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Festival of Speed 2022 theme will celebrate the ‘Masterminds of Motorsport’

Goodwood Festival of Speed has revealed that the 2022 edition’s theme will be ‘The Innovators – Masterminds of Motorsport’.

Each year the world-renowned automotive festival has a main theme, often celebrating legendary car manufacturers or icons of the industry.

This year’s theme highlights the event’s increasing focus on technology. This will be achieved by showing the ‘human stories of engineering ingenuity’ as well as shining a light on the next-generation visionaries.

The theme will see relevant cars and drivers heading up the famous hill climb as well as special guests and interactive displays.

A key part of this year’s theme will centre around Goodwood’s Future Lab. Introduced in 2017, it will return in 2022 with exhibitors from mobility, robotics, aviation, healthcare and more.

Photos: PA Media

Debuting last year, the ‘Electric Avenue – The Road to 2030’ will return as the home of electric vehicles at the show, and will be host to a variety of experts who will be on hand to answer visitors’ questions.

The Duke of Richmond said: “This year’s Festival theme allows us to celebrate some of the greatest achievements in history, while also highlighting the event’s evolving focus on future technology.

“Just as race-inspired innovations such as four-valve engines, monocoque chassis and turbocharging have shaped the past and present of the cars we drive in the real world, so electrification, autonomy and other new technologies – the development of which is accelerated by the white heat of competition – will have a profound effect on the future of personal mobility.”

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The UK has one of the highest densities of luxury cars in the world

Luxembourg had the highest density by far

Luxembourg has the highest density of luxury vehicles in the world, with the United Kingdom also making it into the top 10.

The UK came seventh in the list, which calculated luxury car sales over the past four years and measured that against a nation’s population to find out how many people there were for every luxury car.

Luxembourg came out on top because although it had the lowest new luxury car sales in the top 20 at 48,584, it also had the smallest population by a long way at 625,978. This means there are 13 people for every luxury car.

The data has come from research by price comparison site Confused.com., which found that Belgium came second with 31 people per luxury car, followed by Germany with 32.

Again there was a big difference in the physical numbers, with Belgium selling about 370,000 luxury cars compared with Germany’s 2.6 million. However, the latter’s population is much bigger, with 83.8m compared with 11.6m.

Photos: PA Media

The United Kingdom’s seventh place came with 40 people per luxury car, with over 1.7m sales and a population of almost 67.9m.

This put it behind Switzerland in fourth (34 people per luxury car), Norway in fifth (36) and Australia in sixth (37). The rest of the top 10 was Austria (47), Sweden (48) and Canada (53).

The list was dominated by European countries, which made up 13 of the top 20. The US was surprisingly low in 12th place, with a score of 64 largely driven by its huge population of over 331m.

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Production of the iconic Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora has come to an end

Lotus has confirmed that production of its iconic Elise, Exige and Evora sports cars has come to an end.

The Norfolk-based firm says it will dismantle the production lines that these models were built on ahead of the introduction of the new Emira.

Over the course of the past 26 years, Lotus says it has built 51,738 vehicles on these lines, as well as nearly 10,000 vehicles for third-party clients such as GM and Tesla.

The current assembly lines were installed in 2000 and will be replaced with state-of-the-art facilities for the new Emira sports car, which will be the first of Lotus’s next-generation vehicles.

This will be followed by the Evija hypercar, which will be the firm’s first EV.

This new high-tech, semi-automated production line will increase capacity to around 5,000 cars per year with a single shift pattern.

Matt Windle, managing director at Lotus Cars, said: “First of all, I would like to thank the Lotus team who have worked on the Elise, Exige and Evora over the years and who are now transferring to Emira and Evija manufacturing.

Photos: PA Media

“I would also like to convey enormous gratitude to all the customers of the Elise, Exige and Evora over the last 26 years for their passion, enthusiasm and support. These customers have given our ‘three Es’ true cult status – usually reserved for long-out-of-production classics.

“As we say farewell to the last few cars, we look forward to the Emira and Evija in the all-new factories at Hethel and sub-assembly facilities in Norwich, which introduce greater efficiencies and automation, higher quality and flexibility and the hugely exciting next chapter in our Vision80 strategy.”

The Elise and Exige were first built in a small assembly hall at the Hethel plant between 1996 and 2000, before being moved to this main facility. They are built on the same ‘small car’ platform, which was also used for the Vauxhall VX220 and Tesla Roadster as well as various other lower volume Lotus models.

The final version of each of the Elise, Exige and Evora will be retained by Lotus and placed in its heritage collection.

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KIA EV6 named ‘Crossover of the Year’ at 2021 Topgear.com Awards

The fully electric EV6 has earned the coveted ‘Crossover of the Year’ title at the 2021 TopGear.com Awards. The EV6 impressed Top Gear’s judges thanks to its style, dynamic performance, long electric range and 800-volt ultra-fast charging – offering 10-to-80 per cent charge in just 18 minutes.

Tom Ford, associate editor, commented: “With the EV6, Kia has gone all-in; wholly electric, wild styling, class-leading charging, gadgets galore. It delves deeply into the concept of a mobile lounge, the EV6 pushes into the darker corners of making an EV actually interesting to drive. It’s also spacious, nicely-equipped and well-built. It cruises with all the best bits of EVs – quiet, smooth, calm – and then punts down a backroad with proper potential. A crossover in more than one sense, then. For the car, and the brand.”

Jason Jeong, President at Kia Europe commented: “We are delighted to have won Crossover of the Year at the prestigious TopGear.com Awards. EV6 is a revolutionary vehicle for the Kia brand and for electric mobility and this award is welcome recognition of that. It’s another addition to the trophy cabinet for EV6, a model which continues to grow in popularity as part of our evolving electrified line-up.”

The EV6 is Kia’s first dedicated electric car, and shows the exciting potential of the company’s new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The EV6 offers buyers a choice of multiple fully-electric, zero-emission powertrain configurations, including long-range (77.4 kWh) and standard-range (58.0 kWh) high-voltage battery packs. EV6 GT-line is available with both long-range and standard-range battery packs, while EV6 GT features the long-range battery pack only. This is Kia’s first electric vehicle to be available with two-wheel (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) options – the latter offering enhanced dynamic capability in even the most challenging conditions.

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Five new Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 posters for the walls of future generations

A series of new Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 posters is completed, with the fifth and final in the collection revealed recently. The five posters feature the limited edition super sports car, of which all 112 are already sold, presented at Pebble Beach in August 2021 as a tribute to the original Countach’s 50th anniversary.

The futuristic limited edition Countach LPI 800-4 continues to be a source of inspiration, reflecting its predecessor’s non-conformist iconic status that defined a new horizon for automotive design. The image of the original Countach powerfully denoted the passion of the most refined car connoisseurs, as well as the teenagers of a generation who chose a Countach poster for their walls.

The love for the Countach’s timeless lines reinterpreted in this poster collection emphasizes how image alone can stimulate creativity. The five posters by Automobili Lamborghini each bear the signature of artists and illustrators specialising in 3D and digital works, feeding the Countach myth and confirming the immortality of the icon, and available at the Lamborghini Store.

The contributing designers, from around the world, each bring a particular dimension and interpretation of the Countach LPI 800-4 as a future icon.

Omar Aqil, a Pakistani 3D illustrator and CGI artist, places the Countach in the centre of the incredible technological evolution of the last 50 years.

Yegor Zhuldybin, a young Russian creator specializing in surreal digital collages, explores the integration of the new Countach into today’s world, balancing between the modern incarnation of the iconic model and the celebration of Lamborghini’s history.

Shy.Studio, an independent motion graphics studio specializing in 3D animations and still life, is inspired by the influence of the vintage 1980s posters, reproducing the legendary Countach design in a modern setting mixed with abstract, tactile elements and objects that seem to come from another world.

Andreas Wannerstedt, a Swedish artist known for his 3D works featuring hypnotic looped animations, proposes a reinterpretation that stages the encounter between nature and the most advanced human technology: the delicate shades of an imaginary sunset meet the clean lines of the Countach LPI 800-4.

LRNZ (Lorenzo Ceccotti): graphic designer, motion graphics creator, animator and illustrator, highlights the extraordinary graphic qualities of the new Countach, focusing on extreme minimalism and high-tech vibrations.

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New FIAT 500 awarded best urban electric car at 2022 DrivingElectric Awards

The new Fiat 500 has picked up further recognition as the go to electric car, having most recently been announced as Best Urban Electric Car at DrivingElectric’s 2022 Awards.  

For the fourth ever DrivingElectric Awards, and the first year to feature the ‘Best Urban Electric Car’ category, the new Fiat 500 has continued to build on its success in previous years.

Judges praised the 500 for setting itself apart from its competition thanks to its impressive fun driving style, nippy agility and range.

Richard Ingram, editor, DrivingElectric, said: “Last year’s DrivingElectric Car of the Year, the Fiat 500 is still the best in its segment. Reinvented for the electric era, this retro take on the evergreen small car is nippy, agile and fun to drive – with a range that will satisfy urban drivers twice over.”

The new Fiat 500 is the first fully-electric Fiat designed from the ground up. The car provides a raft of best-in-class features such as Level 2 Autonomous Driving technologies, a variety of battery options and a substantial driving range of up to 199 miles (WLTP) – the longest range of any electric city car on the market today. The New 500 is also the only four-seater convertible in its segment.

The sustainable philosophy of the new 500 is reflected not only in the electric powertrain but also within the interior. The seats are partly made with Seaqual yarn, the weaving of which produces a material derived from recycled plastic, 10 per cent of which originates from the sea and 90 per cent from land.

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