Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Skoda Vision D: The Reality of Concepts

Last year at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show Skoda (VW) unveiled what looked to be a huge turning point for the company, the Vision D Concept car, this propelled Skoda’s sales to hit a record breaking high in the first 11 months of 2011.  I have already alluded to the success’ of  the modern day Skoda here, but instead of creating a hugely successful turnaround, this time they seem to be staying one step in front of the market, innovating at every level. We can only hope that later this year when the production model is unveiled and tested it performs as well as it looks, and offers the fuel consumption figures we are coming to expect of modern day cars. The anticipation for next months Geneva Motor show builds every day, as does the reputation of Skoda and everything a new Skoda offers.

Monday, 20 February 2012

New VW Golf MK VII spied (Pictures)

Torque Auto has got it hands on some pictures of the new lighter and safer VW Golf Mk VII in testing, before its unveil at the Paris Motor Show in October.

Constucted using a thinner and lighter (45kg less than the MkVI), but stronger steel, the new Golf Mk VII aims to be safer than any of its predecessors and competitors,

The reduced weight will help to improve emissions and economy, as will a host of new three and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines - the highlight of which will be a 1.4 TFSI with cylinder deactivation technology.

The medium-sized family car will continue to be sold as a three and five-door hatch – with an estate and convertible penned in for the future. The MkVII will also gain equipment normally reserved for more upmarket models - including adaptive cruise control and a number of electronic safety aids. When it goes on sale in early 2013, expect to pay slightly more than the current car, which starts at £15,
With more aggresive, sleeker looks and an evolutionary design promised, we can't wait for the new VW Gold to be unveiled in October.


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Faster Ferrari California in Production

With the onset of the Geneva Motor Show next month, 'leaked' news has been steadily trickling in over the last few weeks, and this latest news is certainly worthy of a post. Ferrari have are due to launch a new faster and more powerful Ferrari California model, to be unveiled at the annual show next month. This has got Torque Auto very excited indeed, the California model is already a fantastic addition to the Ferrari line-up, both in looks and sheer mad driving experience, we can only assume Ferrari have gone insane. New exhausts and a remapped engine management system will pull another 30bhp from the 4.3-litre V8, whilst the torque figure will now stand at 372lb ft, obtaining a 0-60mph time of 3.8 seconds.

We certainly can’t wait to see what other surprises the Geneva Motor show brings, and to get our hands on this Ferrari!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Aston Martin DB5 to Return in 'Skyfall'

The original Aston Martin DB5, first seen in the 1964 classic Goldfinger, is set to return in the new Bond film, Skyfall. The DB5 has reportedly been seen filming a scene after it's latest fleeting appereance in the 2006's Casino Royale, even bearing the same number plate as in its 1964 debut, BMT 216A.

We at Torque Auto look forward to seeing the other car choices used in the film, of which they are usually a highlight of the 007 franchise, when it hits the cinemas in November 2012.

Monday, 13 February 2012

BMW M6 Revealed (Pictures)

BMW’s rival to the Jaguar XKR-S, the BMW M6 has been revealed today. The 10-litre engine has been replaced with a Turbo-charged V8 seen first on the BMW M5, delivering 552bhp and a 0-60mph time of 2.2 seconds for the Coupe, and 4.3 seconds for the convertible model, with a top speed of 189mph. Faster than the Jaguar XKR-S then…

Friday, 10 February 2012

Fiat 500L Builds on Success

The Fiat 500 has been one of the company’s most successful models, and it’s not hard to see why - they look good, they’re cheap to run and they hold their market value well. It would be an obvious choice for any first-time car buyer and should definitely be on most potential purchases list. However, if you’re buying a car to haul the family all over the country every day, it’s not the most practical of choices, (although try it, Torque AUTO really like the Fiat 500), but if you’re not wanting to go down that road, Fiat has and answer and it comes in the shape of the Fiat 500L – the ‘L’ standing for large.

The 500L boasts five doors and measures in at 4,140mm long, 1,780mm wide and 1,660mm high. Plenty big enough for the family, and let’s hope all the positives of the original model.  Cited as a cross between an SUV and an MPV, Fiat are really looking to pull together all the benefits of the different sized cars on the market and package them up onto an already solid base.

The 500L will be officially revealed at the Geneva Motor Show next month, and if we were a gambling man, we’d bet Fiat have another success on their hands -best to register your interest early at your local Fiat dealer before they fly off the forecourt.

New Audi TT 2013/14 (Pictures)

Pictures have surfaced of the new Audi TT due out in 2014, although we should see the car sometime in 2013. The tear-drop shape remains although sharper and more agressive than the MkI and Mk II TTs, coupled with slimmer headlights, full-width LED tail-lamps and a hexagonal front grille.

Due in coupe and a roadster version with a lightweight fabric roof, judging by the pictures, we can't wait to get our hands on one!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Toyota Gets it Right with the New GT 86 (Review)

Today we got some time with the new 2012 Toyota GT 86 and boy were we impressed. Due for release in June this year, carrying a reasonable £24,995 price tag, here at Torque AUTO we believe it’s worth every penny, and more.

Some stats to get us going; the Toyota GT-86 is just  4.240 mm long, 1.285 mm tall and 2.570 mm wide, being the most compact four-seat sports car on the market. The weight distribution is 53:47 (front to rear). The model is powered by the Subaru borrowed 2.0 liter four-cylinder with the company’s D-4S direct injection technology, which is sending the 197 HP at 7.000 rpm and 205 Nm of torque (151 lb-ft) at 6.600 rpm to the rear wheels.

Chief engineer and the man resposnsible for the overseeing the design process of the Toyota GT 86 Tetsuya Tada, believes that Toyota are getting back to their sporting roots and creating cars that are above all, fun to drive. “I think if it’s not fun, not a car. I truly believe that no matter how advanced the car is, it is important to keep that feeling.” Here at Torque AUTO, we’d pledge that if fun to drive was the focus of the GT 86, it has succeeded on every level.

The cornering, the acceleration, the playful nature of the GT 86 is evident on every bend, every straight and everything in between. If feels like an excited puppy, itching to explore everywhere and everything it can, how high it can jump, how fast it can run and how many competitors it can chase out of the ballpark. We’re not counting, but there’s quite a few top car marques turning their heads in the direction of the GT 86. It feels reckless, yet controlled and smooth but on edge, the Toyota GT86 delivers an exceptional driving experience, on every level.

Looks wise the sleek updated profile fit that part and the no frills shaping aid the cars aerodynamics and control. This is a car to drive, not to sit in garage and spend hours looking and polishing it, and that is why we love. A true sports car, that delivers more than competitor models that are twice the price, and will make you want to drive for the true sake of driving.

On our advice, contact your local Toyota dealer today.
The twin Exhausts of the new Toyota GT 86
The new Toyota GT 86 Interior

The Third Generation Mitsubishi Outlander

This is the third-generation Mitsubishi Outlander SUV. ‘Solid-Safe-Simple’ say Mitsubishi, were the three words being held in focus during the design process. It seems we can expect the usual no-nonsense engineering from Mitsubishi when it rolls out this summer, offered in both 2WD and 4WD, 2.0-litre petrol models and a 2.2-litre diesel edition. We have high hopes for the new Outlander, from the company boldly claiming to have invented the ‘Crossover’ term, they can’t be low can they?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

New Shelby GT500 Convertible Revealed

Today Ford’s SVT (Special Vehicle Team) revealed pictures of the new 650bhp(!) anniversary model Shelby GT500 convertible. Packed with a 5.0-litre V8 engine, 600 torques, two operating modes, Sport and Normal as well as SVT designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers. This is surely going to be on every car enthusiast’s wish list, including ours. Ford dealers rejoice.

Jaguar X-C16, Released in the UK in April

With the news that the new Jaguar X-C16 could be arriving on UK shores as early as April, Torque AUTO takes a look at the beautiful new offering from Jaguar.

The new 3.0-litre supercharged V6 Jaguar C-X16 Is the smallest car Jaguar have built since the XK120 in 1954 and  proof good things come in small packages. The 3.0-litre V6 supercharged engine produces 380bhp and 332lb ft of torque and like KERS on a Formula 1 car, there is a motor generation behind the seats that draws energy draws power from a battery pack integrated into the eight speed gearbox, charged through brake energy regeneration.

With a 0-62mph time of 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 186mph, you’d be pleasantly surprised to hear the C-X16 can also travel up to a 50mph on electric power alone, keeping CO2 emissions at just 165g/km.

Inside the Jaguar X-C16 boasts a dramatic red interior trimmed in the finest materials; leather, Suedecloth, anodised machined aluminium, carbon-fibre and dark chrome. Jaguar design chief Ian Callum said: "Jaguars have always been dramatically different. With the C-X16 we have moved the current award-winning design language on to the next generation, creating a car that is the very essence of future Jaguar performance."

We certainly can't wait to get our hands on what looks like a very sensible and potentially succesful offering from Jaguar. Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.

Torque Auto Askes, the Best Used Car to Buy?

The list of possibilities is endless, and the hours spent trawling through pages on AutoTrader can be too, we see if we can boil down to one car marque and state the top used car to buy.

The conclusion, if you don’t want to scroll through our list of ambitious reasoning, is, buy a Volvo.

The Volvo V60 Hybrid was recently reviewed by Torque AUTO, gaining much praise along the way, and if you look back through the history of Volvo they have all been, juggernauts, truly lasting cars, endearing and resilient. That is why, when looking to buy a used car, a Volvo is the only option, longevity. 

A good friend of mine had a Volvo that was still going strong and reading 350,000 miles on the clock. He recently sold it, not because he needed too, just because he could finally afford to upgrade. 

Now, a good engine should last you to 200,000 miles, but after 125,000 most seem to break and start becoming very expensive to keep due to repairs, therefore it become more financially viable to buy a new car, even it is purchased on finance. There are some genuinely good offerings from car companies at the moment. The Peugeot 3 year ’Just Add Fuel’ offer being of particular note, but contract leasing is a different conversation and something we discussed here earlier in the year.

The answer to buying a used car? Don’t, or if you do, buy a Volvo.

Book a test drive today at your local Used Volvo Dealer.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Fiat Punto 2012

The new Fiat Punto 2012 will be rolling out this year, can Italys top selling car marque continue the success it has enjoyed since it first launched in 1993? Aesthetically, the new model has a new body painted bumper incorporated into the design, with indicator lights placed at either side. The 15” alloy wheels have been updated with a new design, and the interior upholstery fitted with new fabrics. The bumper changes the overall look of the Punto, which is mostly visual on first appearances; however, the original Punto shape is still heavily recognisable.

The engine comes in three ranges, MultiAir and TwinAir for the petrol models, and Multijet supplied by the Diesel offering. Across the board new energy-saving and fuel efficiency measurements have been put in place, including Stop/Start technology and Gear Shift indicator, informing you when best to change gear, for maximum fuel preservation and thus lowered CO2 emissions. The Diesel model is particularly noteworthy, offering a record breaking 90g/km CO2 output.

Available in 13 unique colours, one being a dedicated ‘Energetico Green’ for the TwinAir model, you could do a lot worse than choosing a new  2012 Fiat Punto this year. Book a test drive today at your local Fiat dealer and let me know your thoughts. More Fiat news later in the week when we analyse the Fiat-Chrysler merger.

New Pictures of the Kia Track’ster

Ahead of the imminent Chicago Motoring show later this week, Kia have leaked two teaser images onto the net of the new 247bhp ‘Trackster’ hatchback. Discuss these images here or below, and book a test drive at your local Kia dealer!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Ford: Can The Giant of The Automotive World Stay In Front of The Electric Race?

Recently Ford announced its foray into the world of electric cars with its new Ford ECOnetic Technology. It’s a slightly lacklustre offering in my opinion, from a manufacturer that is one of the oldest and most established marques in the industry. Start/stop technology is present, turning your car off when you stop at a red light for instance, but really that’s not that often, decreasing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by 5%, it’s not earth shattering. Power assisted steering is now done electrically, being used only when needed. I’m pretty sure you steer most of the time whilst driving unless you live and work along the A15. Not much use there then. The gear shift indicator light notifies you when is the most efficient time to change gears. I can’t imagine the magnitude of difference that will make to fuel consumption. Oh, and the front grille opens and closes to improve air flow and will heat your car up quicker in the cold weather we’re currently experiencing.

This is basically Ford saying no to producing electric cars, for whatever reason, I hope it’s a good one. They’ve made implied some novel ideas, tagged it with the word ‘Eco’ and hoped for the best. Their competitors are fiercely changing the way they manufacture and market cars, whilst Ford are sitting relatively still. Perhaps to see the outcome of the race, but can they afford to wait?

You can check out the‘new’ Ford ECOnetic range at one of your local Ford dealers and see for yourself.

Friday, 3 February 2012

The Best of British

With the realisation that this has the potential to be the shortest blog post yet, i’m in need of some encouragement to go on. The sad fact is that the present day British car manufacturers are few and far between, most, diluted and arranged from parts imported from all over the EU, when I say parts I mean engines. I was glad to receive the news MG are back in operation, Japanese owned mind, but still partly British, and to be fair the MG3 looks like it could be a real hit, if you look around the cheap and unsightly interior. It is at least a start, not much hope when you’re competing with the VW Golf’s and Audi A1’s of the marketplace though.

The French Invasion

In terms of car manufacturers, peering over the fence in the direction of its German neighbours must turn the French a little green eyed. BMW, Mercedes, VW, Audi… the list goes on. With France only bringing (although there are hundreds of smaller manufacturers), Citroen and Peugeot to the table, (and they’re practically the same company) I often wonder why there is not much on offer from the French market and having never had an experience with a Peugeot or Citroen, I thought it best to see what is on the market, if it’s any good..
I was away this weekend and had a few hours to spare, checked for Peugeot Southampton and was in luck. I took out the Peugeot 508, Peugeots competitor to the Ford Mondeo giant. I was genuinely pleasantly surprised.  Quiet, and smooth whilst targeted sounds make the drive incredibly quiet and relaxed. The interior quality seemed high, plush, spacious and inviting. Comfortable, and with all the recent mod-cons available on the market. From what I’ve heard,  Peugeot are looking to turn around their fortunes with this car and with a price range from £18,150 to  £28,750, its lapping at the feet of its German counterpart luxury models.
In light of the recent news Peugeot are shutting down there operations in Mumbai, we really hope they can create success with future models, if they’re anything like the 508, I’ll sleep a little easier.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Skoda: Rebuilding a Brand Identity

In recent years Skoda has begun to build a sterling reputation based on quality, design and reliability. A mammoth task when you consider, the general perception on Skoda brand was about as bad it could be before the turn of the century. They were ugly, cheap and unreliable cars, a last resort for car buyers and a faltering business model. Remember the Skoda jokes?

What do you call a Skoda with a sun-roof? Answer: A skip

What do you call a Skoda with twin exhaust pipes? Answer: A wheelbarrow

Why does a Skoda have a heated rear windscreen? Answer: To keep your hands warm when you push it

Yet with a new marketing and manufacturing turnaround, in 2011 the car tied 3rd with Jaguar in a UK car survey, closely behind Lexus and Honda. How did Skoda do this? They became ‘in touch’ with the consumer and reacted. They started to be aware of their public image, helped by the onset of new media in the early 00’s. Went back to the drawing board, and came out with the now cornerstone of the Skoda range, the Fabia. A couple of self-deprecating adverts, humourous marketing campaigns, a solid, forward-thinking design and the promise of reliability, things began to change rapidly for Skoda.

Of course it would take time to heal like most things, but in a relatively short time, Skoda have managed to completely re-haul their identity as a car manufacturer, so much so I wouldn’t think twice about contacting my local Skoda dealer and booking a test drive. Asked me 10 years ago? No way.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Think you can sell yourself? Sell a BMW

Think you can sell yourself? Sell a BMW
11/5/2012 12:00:00 AM

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There aren't too many jobs out there that carry an air of respectability, plus an acceptance that the role requires in-depth knowledge. A career as a sales executive with a BMW dealership offers this and much more, however.
It used to be the fact that politicians and bankers were held in high regard, but today, after numerous high profile scandals and economic disasters neither of these careers guarantees a good standing with the general public, in fact it could be quite the opposite.
By contrast there are other occupations which have flipped the other way. Today being a sales executive for BMW in a contemporary modern dealership is about as far away from the old 'Arthur Daley' stereotype as you could possibly get.
The benefits of working for one of the world’s most respected brands are apparent immediately after you walk into a BMW showroom. The reputation for excellence in manufacturing and quality has been hard won over many years and is maintained in no small part by the role that BMW Sales Executives play.
When it comes to a brand such as BMW, the qualities that make successful Sales Executives are many and varied, but mainly revolve around a few simple core values.
Being responsible for every aspect of the sales process means that a BMW salesperson needs to be an expert on every model in the range, as well as the ability to carry themselves in such a way as to be an ambassador for the brand itself.
Working with the public is not something everybody is suited for and being able to listen to their individual needs and pair them with the ideal vehicle solution that fits their requirements is a rare skill.
Of course, an ability to sell something often comes down to being able to sell yourself to the customer, creating a relationship that instantly lays a grounding of trust based on a friendly and knowledgeable manner.
BMW Sales Executives are quite literally at the forefront of the industry, offering brand new vehicles that are at the cutting edge of development and which utilise every aspect of contemporary motor car technology.
Not only do customers rely on you for your in depth knowledge, but as a successful sales executive you will be working alongside like-minded individuals who will respect your own professionalism and help you develop your talents and career in a positive team-based atmosphere.
Finding out more about vacancies at BMW dealerships is an easy and simple process and you can apply online in a few short steps. Our website covers the whole range of the UK retail network via a straightforward 4 step process with an online questionnaire and application form.
Successful applicants receive all the training they need to be fully up to date with their knowledge at our BMW Group Academy UK and of course the salary and remuneration package reflects the quality of those we accept to become part of the team.
So what are you waiting for? Kick start your sales career with BMW today .

A Short History of...

This week, the Toyota owned, luxury Japanese manufacturer, Lexus.

Welcome to the first edition of what we hope to be a series of regular articles focusing in on the history of a specific manufacturer. Today we’re going to look at Japans largest automotive export, Lexus.

First introduced in the United States in 1989, Lexus is now sold globally and has become Japan’s largest selling make of premium marques. They even named the city in which the Toyota manufacturing plant has stood since opening after the brand, Koromo, is now known as Toyota, Aichi. I wonder if we can set about starting a petition to change the name of Coventry to ‘Jaguar’. I might even consider living there, but it’s doubtful.

Global expansion didn’t really take off for Lexus until the turn of the century, in 2000, Lexus introduced the IS line, a new series of entry-level sport sedans. In 2001, the marque debuted its first convertible, the SC 430, and the third generation LS 430. The GX 470 mid-size SUV debuted in 2002, followed by the second generation RX 330 in 2003. The following year, Lexus recorded its two-millionth U.S. vehicle sale.

 In 2004 Lexus was one of the pioneering forces behind electric technology and gave birth to the first luxury-branded production hybrid SUV, the RX 400h. The first new Lexus to use its new hybrid drive system, combining electric and gasoline motors to produce lower fuel consumption, increased power and less emissions.

By 2005, Lexus was a big enough boy to go it alone, and with dedicated engineering, design, manufacturing and training centres working exclusively for the division, Lexus completed an organizational separation its parent company, Toyota. The same year, Lexus launched in its home-market of Japan and expanded its global growth, selling in China and later, Russia.

In 2008, amidst the late-2000s recession and a weakened world car market, global sales fell 16% to 435,000, with declines in markets such as the U.S. and Europe where deliveries fell by 21% and 27.5%, respectively. In 2009, the marque launched the HS 250h, a dedicated hybrid sedan for North America and Japan, the RX 450h, the second generation hybrid SUV replacing the earlier RX 400h, and later that year debuted the US$375,000 production LFA exotic coupe. In late 2009, citing higher sales of hybrid models over their petrol counterparts, Lexus announced plans to become a hybrid-only marque in Europe. By the end of the decade, Lexus ranked as the fourth-largest premium car make in the world by volume, and was the number-one-selling premium car marque in the U.S. for ten consecutive years. Now that’s not bad going is it?

To me Lexus has always had a confused identity, I’ve always thought its looks didn’t blend in well to the European markets, looking always like an obvious import. I’m sure as we see the electric car market explode over the next year or so, Lexus will be one of the front-runners, and maybe for the next 10 years.