Chris Evans to be new Top Gear presenter

Chris Evans to be new Top Gear presenter

Chris Evans
Chris Evans is known to be passionate about cars

TV and radio personality Chris Evans will replace Jeremy Clarkson as the lead presenter of an all-new Top Gear line-up, the BBC has announced.

Evans said he was “thrilled” to get the job, describing the motoring show as his “favourite programme of all time”.

“I promise I will do everything I possibly can to respect what has gone on before and take the show forward,” he added.

Clarkson was dropped in March after punching a producer while on location.

Car enthusiast Evans, who has signed a three-year deal with the BBC Two show, had been tipped to replace his good friend Clarkson but had previously insisted he was not interested.

An “all-new” line-up means Clarkson’s co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May will not be involved.

New VW Passat BlueMotion emits just 95g/km CO2

VW Passat BlueMotion

15 Jun, 2015 11:55am Lawrence Allan

Volkswagen’s new ultra-efficient 1.6-litre diesel Passat BlueMotion returns 76.3mpg and 95g/km

Volkswagen has set its sights on fleet buyers with thenew Passat BlueMotion. Kicking off at £23,200 for the four-door saloon and £24,750 for the estate, both variants claim 76.3mpg combined and emit just 95g/km of CO2.

Those headline figures are made possible by a modified version of the standard entry-level 118bhp 1.6 TDI diesel engine, with 250Nm of torque and a six-speed manual gearbox. Performance is unaffected, with a 0-62mph time of 10.8 seconds – and the top speed of 130mph is actually slightly faster than the normal model (thanks to tweaks to aerodynamics and gearing). The estate does the same sprint in 11 seconds, and manages 129mph.

Those efficiency figures are almost class-leading, but the Passat’s chief rival, the Ford Mondeo Econetic, just pips it with 78.5mpg and 94g/km of CO2. It isn’t as fast, however, losing out over a second in the 0-62mph sprint.

The equipment is taken from the base ‘S’ model, which gets a Post-Collision Braking System, Driver Alert and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Stop-start and battery regeneration are also standard, but BlueMotion additions include a new 17-inch alloy wheel design that optimises airflow, low rolling-resistance tyres, suspension lowered by 15mm and revised front and rear bumpers.

BlueMotion badging is the only other distinguishing exterior feature, while the interior is completely identical to the standard car. It’s available to order now, with first customer deliveries set for August.

Lane hogging and tailgating on-the-spot fines in force

Careless drivers across Britain who hog lanes or tailgate can now be punished with on-the-spot police fines.

Under the new measures, officers can issue £100 fines and three points rather than taking drivers to court.

Ministers said it would make tackling problem motorists easier. The AA said a third of drivers risked facing a fine.

Fixed penalties for a number of offences, including using a phone or not wearing a seatbelt while driving, have also risen from £60 to £100.

More serious driving offences will still go through the courts and could result in much higher fines and penalties.

‘Lives at risk’

But people caught carrying out offences subject to the new penalties, which were first announced in June, will be able to choose between an on-the-spot fine or the chance to go on a driving course.

The move, which does not apply in Northern Ireland, brings careless or inconsiderate driving offences into line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties. Drivers can still appeal against any decision through the courts.

Among the offences police are expected to focus on are:

•Driving too close to the vehicle in front

•Failing to give way at a junction (not requiring evasive action by another driver)

•Overtaking and pushing into a queue of traffic

•Being in the wrong lane and pushing into a queue on a roundabout

•Lane discipline, such as needlessly hogging the middle or outside lanes

•Inappropriate speed

•Wheel-spins, handbrake turns and other careless manoeuvres

Many such offences currently go unpunished because of the bureaucracy involved in taking a case to court.

Not only does a motorist have to be stopped by the police, but a summons has to be issued and evidence presented in court.

Road safety minister Stephen Hammond told BBC Breakfast that the fines had been increased to “reflect the severity and the seriousness of offences”.

He added: “I think it’s the right level to choose, and I’m convinced that it will be a deterrent for a number of people.”

‘Numbers game’

The AA said responsible drivers would welcome the changes but added that a survey of 20,000 motorists suggested one in three could be caught out hogging the middle lane.

“We are pleased to see that at long last new powers and fines will be given to the police to tackle the top three pet hates of drivers – tailgaters, mobile phone abusers and middle-lane hogs,” said AA president Edmund King.

The vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Steve White, said the group was “broadly supportive” of the new fines.

He said: “In theory this is a positive initiative. In practice this will wholly rely on having an adequately resourced police service to enforce.

“Officer numbers are at an all-time low, the number of traffic officers alone has reduced from 7,000 to approximately 3,500.”

Road safety charities welcomed the government’s attempt to crack down on careless driving but expressed concerns about the way the fines would be implemented.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said a “robust monitoring system” was needed to enforce the changes, with more training on the new powers needed for police officers.

Brake said that while it backed the introduction of fixed penalties, the level of fines should be increased to between £500 and £1,000 so they were “high enough to deter all bad drivers”.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) said driver retraining courses would be more effective at improving driving than just issuing thousands of fines.


Hot Peugeot 308 in world debut at Goodwood

June 1, 2015

Peugeot 308 R HYbridPeugeot has confirmed it will host the global debut of the new ‘308 Performance’ hot hatch at the 2015 Goodwood Moving Motor Show on 25 June.

The hot new 308, expected to be the 308 GTi, will be the centrepiece of the firm’s Moving Motor Show stand, sitting alongside an European debutant, the 500hp 308 R Hybrid (pictured above).

A suitably delighted Lord March said: “Since we launched the Moving Motor Show in 2010, it has gone from strength to strength and the fact that major manufacturers like Peugeot are now using it to host global reveals is testament to how far the event has already come.

“The Moving Motor Show is all about giving our visitors the chance to see concepts and premieres ahead of anyone else and it will be marvellous to have the world debut of its new Peugeot 308 Performance here at Goodwood this month.”

Visitors lured by the hot Peugeot allure will be able to act it out on the Goodwood Hill Climb, as the firm’s offering drives of the 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport, plus the ‘warm hatch’ 308 GT 205 THP.

Those of a milder disposition can try out the 308 GT PureTech 1.2.

The sixth annual Moving Motor Show, which was visited by 34,000 people in 2014, will also exhibit some Peugeot racers, to round off the feast Peugeot Sport metal. These will include:

  • 206 T16
  • 208 WRX
  • 2008 DKR

Peugeot will line up alongside 19 other car manufacturers on Thursday 25 June; Goodwood Moving Motor Show tickets are on sale now, priced from £30.

Audi A8 tech secrets revealed ahead of 2017 launch

25 May, 2015 4:15pm  written by Jonathan Burn

New styling direction, advanced new technology and electric turbocharged engines confirmed for next-gen Audi A8

Audi bosses have lifted the lid on some of the revolutionary tech that will make its way into the next-generation Audi A8 saloon when it arrives in 2017.

Everything from Audi’s piloted driving autonomous car tech to gesture control, and organic LED lighting will find its way into Audi’s flagship saloon, ensuring it becomes the technological showcase it needs to be to tackle the Mercedes S-Class. The new A8 will also be the first model from Audi to feature the brand’s new design language as showcased by the Audi Prologue concept at the LA Motor Show last year.

• Audi A7 drives itself on public roads

“The A8 will be the next-generation of the every successful vehicle model for Audi, so what we are doing is looking at which future technologies make sense for our customers, what do they expect and how can we surprise out customers,” Audi’s technical development chief Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg told Auto Express. “The next level of sophisticated technology will be in the A8.”

New A8 to drive itself with Audi Piloted Driving tech
Revolutionary piloted driving tech has been confirmed for the A8. Long-range radar sensors, 12 ultrasonic sensors, laser scanners and hi-resolution video cameras will constantly monitor the car’s surroundings, with the system also able to guide a car safely through traffic jams at up to speeds of 37mph.

Audi believes up to 90 per cent of all innovation in the automotive sector will come from electronics, with lighting playing a significant part. Matrix LED technology is still relatively new but Audi is already working to move the game on further. “We are working on the integration of organic LEDs,” said Ricky Hudi, Head of Electronics at Audi. He claims the advancement will enable “new forms of expression and differentiation”, with their main use expected to be in a car’s digital displays.

Audi Prologue Allroad concept interior
Those displays will also be operated by gesture control, a feature also confirmed for the facelifted VW Golf due next year. “We are already working on a new gesture control system as an advanced development,” said Hudi. In-car operations such as adjusting the temperate, answering incoming calls and switching between radio stations will move from button operation to gesture control.

“The A8 is a good car to introduce some of these technologies because it is always good to start with a premium offering,” added Hackenberg.

Electric turbos for new Audi engines
But advancements won’t stop at in-car technology with Dr. Hackenberg also confirming the A8 will feature electric turbocharging. “We are preparing the production of such systems and it will be in the market with the A8 as well as other models in the future”, he said.

Audi Prologue Driverless Concept rear side
With the next-generation A8 to be based on the new MLB platform, around 200kg of excess weight is expected to be shed, while new and revised V6 and V8 engines will be offered. A plug-in hybrid version under Audi’s e-tron strategy is also certain, with the brand committing to having a plug-in hybrid model in each of its model ranges.

All of this technology will be wrapped up in a whole new look for the A8, too. It will be the first model from Audi to feature the new design language from the Prologue concept penned by new design chief Marc Licht. Expect bolder styling, exaggerated proportions and a new take on the trademark wide-mouthed grille.

Please take time to read this story!

Businessman leaves ‘£8m’ Ferraris to RNLI in its most generous gift ever

Two rare Ferraris are to be sold at auction in order to buy a new RNLI lifeboat.

Hannah Furness writes…
A businessman has bequeathed the proceeds of his “lifelong passion”, two remarkably rare Ferraris he drove for 130,000 miles around Europe, to the RNLI, in what could become the most generous gift the charity has ever received.
Richard Colton, who died earlier this year, was said to be “nervous” of the sea and wanted to leave a donation to the British charity to help future seafarers in danger.
He has now left two sports cars, his pride and joy in life, to be auctioned by H&H Classics, with proceeds which could total around £8million to go to the RNLI.
Mr Colton’s godson, who is carrying out his wishes, will oversee the sale of a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB and 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 from his collection, in what experts have described as a sale of “national significance”.
Although there is no official estimate on the cars, two similar vehicles have recently sold for a total of £8million.
The sum would make the bequest the most generous legacy ever accepted by the RNLI, following an anonymous gift of £7.4m in 2013.
The 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB and 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 are to be sold (H&H Classics)
The donation is intended to find a new lifeboat for the charity’s Northamptonshire branch, to be named Richard and Caroline Colton after its benefactor and his late wife.
Mr Colton, a businessman who died in March at the age of 82, was said to be “nervous” of the sea himself, despite regularly travelling by ferry to take his prized cars to Europe.
A prominent member of the V12 section of the Ferrari Owners’ Club, he owned a collection of ten cars in later life, often taking them on jaunts around the continent.
The 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB is one of just ten supplied new to the UK, ordered by famed car dealer Col. Ronnie Hoare to launch Maranello Concessionaires, and has been described by auctioneers as one of the “most beautiful cars in the world” as well as one of the most valuable.
The second, a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, was one of 27 of its kind in the UK.
The late Richard and Caroline Colton (The Colton family)
Between them, the carefully maintained cars travelled more than 130,000 miles around Europe with their owner and a small pet dog for company.
They will now be sold by H&H Classics on October 14, 2015, at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridge.
Guy Rose, legacy manager at the RNLI, said the charity was “deeply grateful and humbled” by Mr Colton’s generosity.
“The impact of his incredible generosity will be directly felt by our volunteer crews and the people whose lives they save for many years to come,” he added.
Simon Hope, chairman of H&H Classics, which holds sales across Britain, said: “We are honoured to have been chosen to handle this sale which is of national significance.
“These stunning motor cars have been with Richard Colton for 40 years and meant a very great deal to him. So we are absolutely committed to realising the maximum amount for the cars. It promises to be an historic sale.”



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