This year’s shortlist is a very strong one with several seriously good candidates vying for what is the most prestigious car award in Europe and which is deeply coveted by every manufacturer.
Opel’s excellent new Astra is among the favourites to win out this year, followed by such as the truly-exceptional Skoda Octavia, the latest version of Mazda’s brilliant MX-5 roadster, the terribly sophisticated Audi A4, the new incarnation of BMW’s luxobarge 7 Series, Jaguar’s terrific XE and the car which was our own Car of the Year here at Examiner Motoring, the new Volvo XC90.
It would be a massive boost for a revitalised Opel if the Astra were to succeed in winning this year’s prize, but it has to be said that the competition is pretty strong this year and you could easily make a decent case for any one of the other six finalists.
New Mustang arrives
The first version of the new Ford Mustang has arrived at CAB Motor Company in Cork. The much-anticipated new Mustang will have its’ Irish debut at CAB with prices starting from €48,600. For the very first time, the Mustang has come to Europe in right hand drive and will be available as a Fastback or Convertible with a choice of 2.3-litre 312bhp EcoBoost or 5.0-litre 415bhp V8 engines.
Ford’s new flagship is, according to Pat Harte of CAB Motor Group, their best of all time and features superb design, the most room of any vehicle in its segment, and a whole host of amazing features including AdvanceTrac Electronic, Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control, Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS), stiffened body structure that helps reduce roll in corners and Hill Start Assist.
Previous Mustangs were always hugely popular but never available to Irish buyers. That’s about to change.
Michelin’s tyre sealant
Michelin has introduced its own Michelin-branded Tyre Sealant — an emergency tyre repair product that they claim is quick, easy to use and doesn’t require any tools.
The only tyre repair product approved by them, it can be used to repair a puncture and re-inflate the tyre to a safe pressure so that all may continue their journey until the tyre can be checked by an expert.
Suitable for all car tyre sizes up to 245/55 R17, it comes in a 500ml can with protective gloves, a mat to kneel on when using, a disposal box and easy-to-follow instructions.
Applied through the valve, it is ideal for cars with a space saver or no spare tyre. Cars can be driven at up to 50mph/ 80kmh after using. It leaves no sticky residue inside the tyre and can be washed off with warm water.
Likely appeal to bikers too, it is deemed safer than changing a wheel on a busy motorway or other hazardous location by allowing motorists to complete a repair and be on their way with minimum delay.
Audi’s new SUV
Available here from February, Audi’s new SQ5 TDI ‘plus’ is said to provide the practicality of a SUV with the performance of a sports car.
Following on from its highly-successful sibling, the ‘plus’ version has an even higher power output. The bi-turbo V6 TDI produces 340 bhp from its three litre engine. This results in 14 bhp more power compared to the SQ5 TDI. Its peak torque is increased by 50 to 700 Nm. The diesel SUV accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in just 5.1 seconds and top speed is electronically governed to 250 kph. In the NECD cycle, it merely requires 6.6 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres with emission of 174 g CO2/km.
Like all S models from Audi, the SQ5 TDI ‘plus’ delivers its power to the road via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. For the first time in the Q5 family, a sport differential at the rear axle actively distributes the drive power to the wheels for better grip.
The SUV comes with gloss black 20-inch cast aluminium wheels from Audi Sport with size 255/45 R20 tyres.
The Audi SQ5 TDI plus retails for €85,250 OTR in Ireland and is available to order now.