Models dropped and a new family memeber: All the latest news from the world of cars

X marks the spot

McLaren has revealed an ultra-limited-edition, race car-inspired version of its 570S — the MSO X. Developed by McLaren Special Operations, the special projects arm of the British supercar manufacturer, just 10 of the MSO X have been made, and all of them were ordered by McLaren Newport Beach in California.

Based on the 570S Coupe, the MSO X takes inspiration from the GT4 race car version of the supercar. This has led to external additions such as a large rear wing, a carbon-fibre air intake on the roof, and a unique rear bumper, while the roof, bonnet, side skirts, and engine cover are made from satin-finished carbon fibre.

The visual package is finished with an MSO-produced titanium exhaust, and all 10 cars feature a livery inspired by the McLaren F1 GTR race cars from the mid-1990s. The race car inspiration continues on the inside of the MSO X, with a minimalist design that has resulted in nothing but essential equipment in the cabin. Carbon-fibre bucket seats feature, as do exposed sill panels and a carbon-fibre bulkhead that allows stowage space for a racing helmet. Each car is also equipped with six-point racing harnesses in addition to the three-point seat belts.

Jolyon Nash, McLaren Automotive’s executive director of global sales and marketing, said: “The MSO X collection is the perfect example of the rich vein of bespoke service offered by McLaren Special Operations. Customers come to us with their thoughts and ideas and MSO works with them to set boundaries within which they can then let their imaginations run wild.

“What could be better than a McLaren buyer playing the role of ‘race engineer’ in briefing the MSO team and directing them to test and validate those ideas to create a race-bred road car such as this?”

Despite the race-focused additions, the MSO X remains road-legal. Pricing has not been revealed, but expect it to be well in excess of the standard 570S’s £143k price.

Models dropped

Kia is to drop its Rio and Venga diesel models, after a slump in sales. The South Korean carmaker announced that falling demand for both vehicles, coupled with a desire to reduce the size of its range, prompted the move. Petrol versions of both Rio and Venga will remain on sale, and diesel variants will be sold until stock runs out.

A spokesman said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to maintain a simple, effective and easily-understood model range, we have taken the decision to end diesel-engine sales of Rio and Venga in due course. We continue to offer, support, and maintain existing diesel-engine versions of these vehicles and there are still models in stock. These will remain available to customers but it is clear to us that the focus for the future in these two categories should be on petrol.”

Despite the dwindling popularity of these two models, Kia recorded a 4.3% increase in the number of UK new car registrations in 2017. And the firm increased its market share in the UK in 2017 to 3.67%, up from 3.32% in 2016, with almost half of its UK sales attributed to its Sportage and Sorento SUVs.

New generation is A-Class

Ahead of this year’s Geneva Motor Show, a raft of new cars are being unveiled and this week Mercedes-Benz has lifted the covers off one of them.

The Stuttgart giant’s all-new A-Class is the latest in a generation of cars that the German manufacturer believes will redefine modern luxury in the compact class and Mercedes describe this new model as more ‘grown up’ and more comfortable than before whilst still retaining all of its youthful appeal.

The new A-Class is expected to arrive into Ireland immediately before second-half registrations commence and the model range and prices will be announced closer to introduction.

Aimed at wooing a new, younger generation of motorists into Mercedes-Benz ownership, this latest A-Class takes over from a bestseller that has given the brand a distinctly more youthful fan base. According to Mercedes-Benz, drivers are now some 13 years younger on average than those of its predecessor.

Though numerous body changes have been introduced to give it a noticeably larger and even more energetic appearance — noticeably a more sloping bonnet and lower, more angular headlights and grille with inset star — its most pronounced changes can be seen in an interior that its designers say is completely new and quite revolutionary.

Exuding a new sense of spaciousness, its interior architecture is said to be marked by an avant-garde dashboard design and control-and-display systems that are said to be a USP in this segment.

Its most ingenious feature is an ultra-modern multimedia and infotainment system, one of whose characteristics is a capacity to ‘learn’ thanks to its use of artificial intelligence. Branded the Mercedes-Benz User Experience — MBUX, for short — this ‘intuitive’ operating experience is said to significantly reduce driver distraction.

At its heart is a high-resolution, wide touchscreen operation that embodies a navigation display with augmented reality technology, plus intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition. Destined to capture the imagination of younger drivers, its workings focus on a finger-touch concept that combines a touchscreen, centre console touchpad, and touch-control buttons on the steering wheel.

Some features in the new A-Class are drawn from models that rank above it. For example, its multifunctional steering wheel is derived from the S-Class while its front seats incorporate comfort features from its more luxurious siblings, including seat climate control, multi-contour features, and a massage function.

A range of new engines comprises two 4-cylinder petrol options of 1.4-litre and 2.0-litre capacity and a new 1.5-litre diesel with power outputs in the 116 to 224hp range initially with higher performance AMG versions following. Transmission is 6-speed manual (on A220 version) and 7-speed automatic (on A250 and A180d versions).

We will have more in due course.

Welcome to the family

Another newcomer making its debut at Geneva will be the Kia Ceed. The Ceed five-door hatchback is due to be unveiled in Geneva alongside a second member of the new Ceed family.

Designed, developed, engineered, and built in Europe, the third-generation Ceed features innovative new technologies and engines, a mature and athletic new design, and a more engaging drive.

The Kia Ceed has been designed at the brand’s European design centre in Frankfurt. Inspired by the fastback design of the Stinger, the new Ceed conveys a more self-confident new look. Engineered exclusively for use on European roads, the ride and handling characteristics of the new model elevate the Ceed over its predecessor in terms of dynamism, driver engagement, and refinement.

The new model also adopts a revised name — cee’d becomes Ceed, consolidating its reputation as a car for the Community of Europe, with European Design.

The new Kia Ceed goes on sale exclusively across Europe during Q2 2018 and we will have more on pricing and spec. when we get it.

Range in Tipo top shape

The Fiat Tipo range is expanding to include the new S-Design, a car dedicated to drivers who don’t want to compromise on style or substance.

Available only as a hatchback, the new S-Design dials up the sporty styling without compromising the classic Tipo qualities of roominess, functionality, and flexibility.

This new version is immediately recognisable thanks to its distinctive wide grille with glossy black trim, which continue around the edges of the fog lights and on the mirror caps. It also encases the Bi-Xenon headlights, which make their first appearance in the Tipo family.

New diamond-cut 18in alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, and body-coloured handles complete the look. It is available in a choice of five colours including the exclusive Street Grey.

The interior has been entirely restyled with Techno leather and fabric seats. Double stitching on the Techno leather and Airtex seats is replicated on the gear knob and steering wheel, while glossy black accents highlight the dashboard and Tecnico Grey fascia, which spans the entire width of the passenger compartment.

The Fiat Tipo S-Design includes the best of technology as standard, including the next-generation Uconnect 7-inch HD LIVE infotainment system, fitted with high-resolution 7in touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to allow drivers to access their phone’s functionality while in the car.

These enhanced looks and equipment are underpinned by the nimble 1.4-litre T-Jet 120 bhp petrol engine. Combined with a manual transmission, it produces 139g/km CO2 while returning 6. l/100km on the combined cycle and travelling from zero to 100km/h in 9.6 seconds. The 1.6 M-Jet 120 bhp diesel with a manual transmission, it produces 98g/km CO2 while returning 3.7 l/100km on the combined cycle and travelling from zero to 100km/h in 9.8 seconds.

The Fiat Tipo S-Design hatchback is in showrooms and is available to order now, priced from €22,995 for the 1.4 T-Jet 120hp petrol and €24,745 for the 1.6 M-Jet 120hp diesel.

Doing your Civic duties

The tenth-generation Honda Civic Diesel is the latest addition to the Honda Civic family in Ireland. With prices starting from just €25,550 ex works, the all new Civic Diesel is available with a highly competitive offer for all cars registered before March 31.

This will include free Honda Civic Diesel Service Plan and one year free road tax.

Honda says the Civic 1.6 i-DTEC Diesel is completely re-designed and re-engineered and epitomises Honda’s innovative spirit and quest for technical excellence. The result is a car created with a unique personality and sporty soul, it is exciting to drive, refined, comfortable, and sophisticated.

The comprehensively revised 1.6 litre i-DTEC diesel engine for the all-new Honda Civic range, offers an outstanding combination of performance and efficiency. The development objective for this engine upgrade was to deliver an athletic response and agile feeling for the driver, greater refinement through precision technologies, and lower levels of NOx emissions. The four-cylinder 1,597cc i-DTEC diesel engine provides maximum power of 120 PS (88 kW) at 4,000 rpm and maximum torque of 300Nm (221 lb ft) at 2,000 rpm, powering the Civic from 0 to 100 kph in 10.5 seconds. CO2 emissions (under the updated NEDC test conditions*) are from 93 g/km when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission. Combined fuel economy figures under the updated test conditions* 3.5l/100 km.

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