By Gerry Murphy
Please, please can you bring me the BMW M Sport Gran Coupé 640d for Christmas. I may not have been quite as good as I should have been, but I haven’t clocked up any penalty points this year and I promise to be really, really good in 2016.
I have cleared out the garage and put all my other toys away to make space for it.
The nice people in BMW Ireland gave me a test drive in one this week and I have fallen in love with it. It should last for many years to come so, you will not have to bring anything next year at all.
As you know Santa, this car is what BMW are all about. It has a glorious 3.0-litre, straight six diesel 313hp engine is so responsive and powerful that it would bring me to the North Pole in no time, comfortably achieving the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.5 seconds. With ECO, Comfort, Sport and Sport + driving settings available you can be as planet friendly or as outrageously fast as you choose.
It’s probably not as quick as Ruldolf but, with CO2 emissions as low as 139g/km on the 640d SE Coupé, the annual road tax bill will be just €280. I don’t mind paying that and the hefty insurance bill myself but at €117,800 including some extras, most drivers probably cannot afford the price of the car. I know the base price of just over €105,000 is still a lot but I do like the extras that BMW had fitted in the test car.
Now, while that sounds like a whole lot of dosh, it is really worth it for what you get. And, I know too that it is a four-door coupe that will only carry four people but it does have a surprisingly big boot for a coupe so that I can deliver presents to the whole family in one go. Oh, and the electric, heated seats are all wrapped in scrumptious leather and lumbar support and are very supportive for an old guy with a dodgy back.
You can have 18” alloys in the standard package but the test car was fitted with 20” M Double spoke style alloys and while they might be too harsh on the road for some drivers, they do add to the handling and others can stick with the smaller wheels if they like.
Santa, you also get a heads-up display, surround sound speaker system, a heated steering wheel to keep you hands warm on these cold mornings and heated rear seats for passengers. When summer comes around there is an electric, glass sunroof to let in the fresh air. BMW have added a reversing camera and 360 degree surround view as part of the optional package.
So Santa, I haven’t written to you since I was about 11 and that’s not today or yesterday. I hope that I might have enough credit built up since then. I know you are a very busy Santa and the car is very expensive but, I have yet to win the Lotto and this is the car that would be top of my list if I ever do. There’s an idea, bring me the winning Lotto numbers instead!
Toyota in high demand
Toyota, Ireland’s best-selling car brand in 2021 and 2022, is urging customers to act fast, with demand high for summer months, after it announced its 222 offers for new car sales registered from now to July 31 inclusive.
The latest 2022 offers include Toyota Easy PCP from 3.9% APR on models such as the new Aygo X and the award-winning Toyota Yaris in both hybrid and petrol powertrains. Firm favourites such as the Toyota Corolla and Toyota C-HR are also available for just 4.9% APR, along with other leading models at 5.5% APR respectively. Toyota customers who avail of these offers in the early summer months will also benefit from three years servicing as standard.
Due to the global rise in fuel prices that are currently affecting the motoring industry, and Ireland’s continued migration to more sustainable, lower CO2 emitting vehicles, Toyota is encouraging its customers to consider a hybrid electric powertrain this season.
Having predicted the demise of diesel many years ago, Toyota believes that its hybrids play an integral role in helping customers transition from higher-polluting diesel vehicles into more environmentally conscious hybrids that don’t require plugging in.
As the leading brand for reputation in Ireland RepTrak 2022, Toyota offers the largest range of self-charging hybrid electrics and provides customers with the widest choice of affordable, electrified options.
With leading vehicles such as the Toyota C-HR and Toyota RAV 4 PHEV now available for immediate summer delivery, Toyota is urging customers to contact their local Toyota dealer, Tony Burke Motors in Ballybrit, to avoid disappointment. Customers can also avail of the latest online tools to explore the breadth of vehicle options on offer.
Demand is high and supply is limited, so customers are urged to contact Tony Burke Motors on 091 480123 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
“We believe that there has never been a better time for Irish motorists to make the switch to hybrid electric vehicles,” said Zoe Bradley, Head of Marketing Communications in Toyota Ireland.
“With fuel prices at a market high, we want to incentivise drivers with a host of great finance offers for 222. Not only benefitting from lower running costs and strong used car resale values, but self-charging hybrids electrics also have many environmental benefits compared to diesel, such as 90% less NOx emissions.
“While demand remains high for our hybrid models, we are offering immediate delivery on popular models such as the Toyota C-HR, Toyota Corolla and the RAV4 Plug-in hybrid, so that our customers will get to avail of these great offers and enjoy their new car during the summer months.
“We have something to offer all customers and we recommend that interested customers get in touch with their local Toyota dealer as early as possible or find out more information on the models via Toyota.ie,” she said.
Toyota’s 222 passenger car offers include:
Aygo X – Toyota Easy PCP with 3.9% APR;
Yaris Hybrid – Toyota Easy PCP with 3.9% APR;
• Yaris Petrol – Toyota Easy PCP with 3.9% APR
• Corolla (all variants) – Toyota Easy PCP with 4.9% APR
• C-HR – Toyota Easy PCP with 4.9% APR
• RAV4 Hybrid – Toyota Easy PCP with 5.5% APR
• RAV4 PHEV – Toyota Easy PCP with 5.5% APR
• Camry – Toyota Easy PCP with 5.5% APR
• Prius – Toyota Easy PCP with 5.5% APR
• Highlander – Toyota Easy PCP with 5.5% APR
For terms and conditions see Toyota.ie.
Latest tweaks sees Peugeot’s catalogue continue to be as strong as a lion
Without doubt, most observers would agree that Peugeot has one of the outstanding catalogues of cars in their range. From the delightful new 208 to the large 5008 SUV, the French brand has developed probably the best-looking model range on the road right now.
Now they have embarked on a new journey with some image changes that introduces a new badge and some clever additional features inside and out. The new emblem is more like a coat of arms and is instantly recognisable.
The first of these is the new Peugeot 308, a firm favourite over the years in the C-segment and a model that take the new image into the future.
At first glance there is an obvious size change to the range from what went before. In fact, they have increased the length and expanded the wheelbase. They have also raised the car up higher and this more than most gives the 308 a much more dominant kerbside stance.
My first drive in the new 308 on the banks of Lough Derg and the Shannon demonstrated once again how far Peugeot has come as a brand. The car is now close to being the most complete family-sized hatchback there is. Once you come to terms with its unique steering and the additional height, you will really feel at home on all grades of roads and surfaces.
Inside, Peugeot continue to offer their i-Cockpit, for which they are now renowned, with its flat-bottomed small steering wheel and their clever 3D dash display. While space in the interior is restricted, especially in the back, it is not shamed by any means and is comparable to other cars in the bracket.
The boot volume is now 412 litres with 28 litres of compartmentalised storage space, with the rear seats folded, the maximum load is 1,323 litres.
Peugeot are initially giving us a choice of petrol, diesel and two examples of Plug-in Hybrid powertrains. An all-electric edition is coming later. The car is available with a PureTech (Petrol) 1.2L, 130 bhp 3-cylinder with an 8-speed automatic gearbox or a BlueHdi (Diesel) 1.5L, 130 bhp 4-cylinder 8 speed automatic engine and CO2 emissions from 117 g/km.
The PHEV have 180 and 225 output with the motor in each case complimenting a 1.6 PureTech engine. Each offers up to 60km in electric mode.
You will notice from that lineup that all models in the new range come only with 8-speed automatic gearboxes. There will be no manual versions as Peugeot chiefs believe that the future will be automatics only.
With the first deliveries starting now, the 308 is initially available in 3 grades – Active, Allure and GT. Pricing starts at €31,765 for the basic Active, the Allure starts at €35,705 while the GT has an entry price of €39,215.
There is also an SW estate model that is quite distinctive and very attractive coming in 2023 costing an extra €1,000 extra across the range.
Nissans turns a new Leaf
By Gerry Murphy
Nissan has been to the fore when it comes to electric vehicles for more than a decade now. The Nissan Leaf has been around since it was first manufactured in 2010 and has to-date been the most successful electric car worldwide.
Now Nissan has launched their newest electric model, the Ariya, and I have been out and about in it recently in the Wicklow area. Our test model was the standard-level version with the 63kWh battery. Comparisons with the Leaf are certainly not legitimate as this car is in a completely different marketplace and at a much higher price point.
Space and serenity are the predominant impressions in a car that is right up there in the luxury class. The Nissan Ariya all electric crossover is designed to not only impress EV buyers but to also demonstrate Nissan’s commitment to meeting a growing demand for new electrified, autonomous, and connected technologies.
On the inside it is delightful with noticeable head and elbow room. The dashboard and touch screen are not just lovely to look at, but very easy to use. Space in the front and back is better than most cars in its class, and while the coupe roofline may be a little low for taller people, it is still not a major drawback once you are inside it.
Technology levels are high with two 12.3-inch displays, one for the digital instruments and the other as an infotainment system. Nissan also add a strip of high-quality controls for more in-demand features that light up and vibrate when used.
It means that you don’t need to take you eye off the road when changing simple things like the climate in the car. The car also features Nissan’s Safety Shield, along with ProPilot with Navi-Link and e-Pedal, wireless Apple CarPlay, cabled Android Auto and a wireless phone charger.
Two battery options are available; a 63 kWh battery that delivers a range of 402 kilometres and an 87 kWh battery that offers a range of 529 kilometres. These range figures are measured in controlled conditions and are somewhat aspirational when it comes to everyday use.
My experience tells me that somewhere between 65 and 70% of those figures are more realistic. This is the same for every EV that I have driven over recent years. However, the quoted figures put the new Nissan right at the top of what is available in its own segment.
Nissan is launching the car with two grade options – Advance and Evolve – featuring many of its innovative safety and infotainment features as standard.
Pricing will start for the entry grade 63 kWh Nissan Ariya Advance from €48,995 and range up to €66,995 for the top of the range 87 kWh Ariya Evolve. These prices include Government incentives and the SEAI grants.