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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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Meet the 87-year-old switching to electric

After a lifetime of petrol-powered vehicles, 87-year-old Pedro García is proving it’s never too late to embrace the future as he makes the change to electric – with the all-electric Mustang Mach-E his vehicle of choice.

García has owned numerous Ford cars over the years, developing a close relationship with the team at his local Denia-based dealership, Auto Christian, in Alicante, Spain. They made sure he was one of the first to see a Mustang Mach-E and, when he was won over by its style, they made sure he was also one of their first Mustang Mach-E customers. Since then, they have been there every step of the way to help García learn about and adapt to his new car. Not that he’s needed much help.

While some may think that making the switch to a high-tech electric vehicle would be difficult at his age, Miguel Estrela, a salesperson at Auto Christian, notes how well García has mastered the Mustang Mach-E. He knows of younger people who still find the idea of switching to electric daunting but, as García demonstrates, even with a lifetime of petrol-powered habits behind him, making the transition is easier than they might imagine.

Charging, in particular, is something García has quickly adapted to. With a wall box installed at his home, he simply plugs it in at night, waking to a fully charged vehicle in the morning. The quietness and ease of use that the Mustang Mach-E offers – particularly with the one pedal driving – has seen him travel to places he hasn’t been to in fifty years, just because he can. And the best part, according to García? He doesn’t have to stop at petrol stations any longer, or even stop to top-up the charge thanks to the Mustang Mach-E’s range.

People often fear change, but García shows that even at his age adapting to the future can be easier, and more enjoyable, than expected.  

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Lamborghini celebrates fourth anniversary of Urus Super SUV

The Lamborghini Urus Super SUV is celebrating four years since its international launch in December 2017 at the Sant’Agata Bolognese headquarters. The third super sports car model alongside the Aventador and Huracán, opened up a new segment of luxury cars: the Super SUV, positioning itself as a reference point in terms of power, performance, driving dynamics, design, luxury, and everyday usability. The Urus also kicked off the greatest period of transformation for Automobili Lamborghini, with the Urus taking off during the last four years to become a major player in the SUV segment.

Thanks to the Urus, sales, turnover and profitability reached unprecedented levels in the brand’s history. Turnover grew year on year, with 40% growth from €1,009 million to €1,415 million in 2018, the year sales of the car began, reaching a peak of €1.81 billion in 2019 and €1.61 billion in 2020 (COVID period): the year of record profitability for the company.

The overall growth in global sales is even more exceptional, reaching the record of 8,205 Lamborghini units delivered to clients (+43%) in 2019: double the volumes achieved in the period before the arrival of the Urus. From 2018 to the end of 2021, a total of 16,000 Urus cars were delivered worldwide, a figure that established the Lamborghini Super SUV as the best-selling model over four years in the company’s history. The Urus is sold in every corner of five continents, with 85% of clients being new to the marque.

Powered by a 650 HP 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine delivering 850 Nm of torque, the Urus can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds and can reach a top speed of 305 km/h. It also comes in a range of colors, which at the start of sales comprised 16 colors. Today, thanks to the construction of a dedicated paintshop and to the work of the Lamborghini Ad Personam department, which develops new customization options, more than 45 different colors are now offered.

Its great versatility in all terrains is made possible by the six different driving modes (Strada, Sport, Corsa, Sabbia, Terra and Neve), added to which is the EGO system that allows the driver to fully customize the configuration by choosing the rigidity needed for a very comfortable ride or an extremely sporty and dynamic setup depending on personal driving style and road conditions.

Extraordinary performance and versatility have enabled the Urus to face extreme challenges, such as on Lake Baikal in Russia. Here, in March 2021, the Lamborghini Super SUV set a speed record on ice during the Days of Speed event, with a top speed of 298 km/h and an average speed from a standing start of 114 km/h over 1000 meters. And in 2021, the Urus reached the highest motorable road in the world at the top of the Umling La Pass in the Himalayan part of India in the Jammu and Kashmir region, more than 5800 meters above sea level, reaching even higher than the Mount Everest base camp.

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Seven finalists announced for 2022 Car of the Year

The seven nominations for the 2022 Car of the Year have been announced, with the list dominated by electric vehicles.

The finalists have been whittled down from an original list of 38 after a judging panel made up of motoring journalists from all over Europe cast their votes.

The Cupra Born, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Peugeot 308, Renault Mégane E-Tech, and Skoda Enyaq have been selected to battle for the overall win.

Demonstrating the shift towards electrification, the Peugeot 308 is the only model not solely sold with an electric powertrain.

The French firm has been winning high praise over the past few years and the 308 is the perfect example why – it looks great, has a premium interior and is brilliant to drive. To make it onto this list as the sole non-EV cements its credentials.

The Cupra Born is a totally new model, coming from Seat’s sister firm. As a member of the Volkswagen Group, Cupra is able to use the MEB platform that underpins the likes of the VW ID.3, though the Born has a more stylish, premium exterior appearance.

Photos: PA Media

Hyundai has stepped up with a hugely appealing EV in the shape of the Ioniq 5. It has cool retro-futuristic design elements and a modern, spacious interior. It sits alongside the Kia EV6 in the nominations, a model with which it shares a platform with.

Next up, the Ford Mustang Mach-E. It proved mildly controversial when it went on sale, with purists upset that the Mustang name was being moved from its muscle car roots to an electric SUV. However, its smart styling and impressive technology has won over reviewers so far.

Another contender using the VW Group EV base is the Skoda Enyaq, which has won praise for the fact it’s smart, practical and has a nicer interior than even VW’s own model. And finally for the electric contingent it’s the Renault Megane E-Tech, which updates the popular hatchback with an all-electric alternative.

The judging panel will vote on the finalist at the end of February, with the overall winner announced on February 28.

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Flying Spur Hybrid crosses Iceland on renewable energy

Using only energy from waste straw and the power of the planet, an engineering prototype Flying Spur Hybrid has completed a dramatic test as part of the car’s sign off and Bentley’s development of renewable fuels. The Azure Purple Flying Spur Hybrid covered the 733 km (455 miles) required to drive across Iceland in a single stint and entirely on renewable power, through a combination of 100 per cent second generation biofuel and geothermally-sourced electricity available from the Icelandic power grid.

The journey is validation both of the grand touring range of Bentley’s new Hybrid – the second to be launched following the Bentayga Hybrid – and of Bentley’s research into biofuels that can be used without engine modification. The fuel used conforms to the same EN228 standard as ordinary pump gasoline, yet is created entirely from waste biomass (e.g. straw) at no cost to food production or the natural ecosystem. The combination of this fuel and the Flying Spur Hybrid’s intelligent electrified powertrain meant an overall reduction of 45 per cent in CO2 emissions on a well-to-wheels basis over the course of the adventure.

The Flying Spur Hybrid represents Bentley’s next step on a journey to becoming the world’s most sustainable luxury mobility company, as laid out by the brand’s Beyond100 strategy. Market introductions across the world begin in 2022.  This will see all models in the range offered with a hybrid powertrain by 2024, ahead of the company’s first full BEV by 2025.

Photos: Bentley

Bentley’s Member of the Board for Engineering, Matthias Rabe, said: “With the launch of the Flying Spur Hybrid we now have a hybrid range at Bentley, and with this challenge we’ve proved the real benefit of a hybrid – the ability to have an unimpeded grand touring reach of more than 450 miles, while still having usable electric-only range for urban environments. It’s truly the best of both worlds, especially when the use of innovative second generation biofuel means a huge drop in CO2 emissions. We’ll continue working with such fuels in the coming months as part of our development process, with the end goal of a customer-facing solution.”

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