By Gerry Murphy
In bygone days the traffic on Racecourse Avenue would be peppered with the odd Mercedes, BMW or Jaguar. These were usually driven by the wealthiest bookies, horse trainers and visiting business men.
When money was being splashed around in the ‘naughties’, every Tom, Dick and Harry was parading a big car and nobody turned a blind eye to the plethora of big Beemers, Mercs and Jags that flooded in. Even when a racy Maserati drove by, there would only be the meekest recognition.
But, now though things are on the up again, you will see far more modest SUVs and less costly cars heading for the track. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is not so modest and it is a statement car that many aspire to own at some stage in their driving life.
Maybe it is because I have reached a certain age but after a week testing the E220d Automatic Saloon Avantgarde version with AMG Line exterior and interior, I now know what they are all talking about.
This is the tenth generation of the car and from day one the E-Class has been the standards setter. Luxury mixed with looks and quality underpins the character of this classic sedan.
Even with a growing numbers of competitors, this car is still the one to match and while there are some that have come close, the latest E-Class has raised the bar once again. In Avantgarde specification the attention to detail is obvious from every angle.
One example of that is the 360 degree surround camera system. The clarity and accuracy is the best I have seen in any car. It has been designed, developed and manufactured by Valeo in their Tuam plant right here in county Galway. There are almost 1,200 people working in the plant and the quality of the system fitted in the E-Class is testament to the expertise of the Tuam workers.
The same degree of excellence is evident, too, in the interior furnishings. The fully automatic, leather seats and interior trimmings, the state-of-the-art infotainment system and the bright cabin are just what you would expect from a modern Mercedes-Benz of this standard. And, there is a wide range of driver-assist technology.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Western Motors to host EV information day
Recent registration figures released at the end of last month show that the Volkswagen’s ID.4 is the best-selling electric car in Ireland. Since it arrived in 2021 there has been nearly 6,000 registered and it now leads the charge to electrification here making it officially Ireland’s number one electric EV.
Even more exciting for the brand is the arrival of their new ID.7, the brand’s first global electric model for the upper mid-size class. It was launched globally last month, and Volkswagen chiefs are promising a battery range of 700km. This is massive step up for Volkswagen and will be a game changer for the brand.
Volkswagen Ireland are saying that it will arrive here later this year, and prices will be announced closer to that Irish launch date.
“With the ID.7 we are taking the next step in our electric offensive,” said Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars.
“The saloon offers a high level of comfort and long ranges. Already by 2026, we will offer the widest electric range of all manufacturers in Europe. Our goal is to achieve an electric car share of 80% in Europe by 2030. As from 2033, Volkswagen will produce only electric vehicles in Europe.”
Galway Volkswagen dealers, Western Motors are holding an electric vehicles information event on Thursday May 25 where they will have information on hand for potential buyers of any of the Volkswagen EV range.
The Western Motors sales team and service team will be able to provide information on along with additional information on the grants available and application for same and electrician to talk about the EV Charging Boxes and so forth.
For more information, call Western Motors on (091) 709970.
Award-winning IONIQ 6 is set to rock the Irish market
Following the success of the Hyundai IONIQ 5, we now have the IONIQ 6, a completely different kettle of fish with the same running gear but a completely different design.
Both have been lauded at world level as the IONIQ 6 follows the 5 by winning the 2023 World Car of the Year title.
Not only did it pick up this gong, but it also won the 2023 World Electric Vehicle as well as the 2023 World Car Design of the Year awards.
This is the second consecutive triple win for the Hyundai Motor Group – the Hyundai IONIQ 5 was last year’s winner in the same three categories. A jury of 100 international automotive journalists from 32 countries selected the winners by secret ballot based on their evaluation of each eligible vehicle as part of their on-going professional work.
Up to now, the majority of electric vehicles have been SUVs. It’s the most popular shape of our times as buyers go for taller features and practical family characteristics. It might be strange that Hyundai would bring out the IONIQ 6 which is more like a coupe styled sedan with a lower, striking silhouette that they describe as a ‘streamliner’.
It certainly looks pretty special and while it uses the same battery, motors and platform. There are indications however that it is somewhat offers better range than the IONIQ 5. It is lower to the ground and has a lower drag co efficiency meaning reduced resistance and hence, better distance from a charge.
Under WLPT measurement the car has been tested to return 614km on a full charge. And, it can be charged at a much faster speed than other cars on the market; 315km in just 15 minutes.
There’s also a host of clever technology on board. Of course, a lot of what’s on offer these day are just toys and are not needed for everyday driving but, it is what the customer wants and he/she is always right! You can even opt to have the door mirrors on screens inside the car with cameras outside taking the pictures.
Prices for the Signature version with a 53kW battery starts at €48,295 rising toe €71,250 for the top-of-the-range Finesse all-wheel drive model with a 77kW battery.
Alfa Romeo making a comeback with the stunning new Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4
By Gerry Murphy
There is always a flutter of expectancy when a car company like Alfa Romeo brings out a completely new car. Since the heady days of the Alfa 156, the fortunes of the manufacturer have been slowly eroding and they now need their new Tonale to be loved more than ever.
Launched a couple of weeks ago, the Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4 is truly a landmark for the Italian brand. In what they call the Alfa Romeo’s “zero to zero” process, which will take it from being a 0% electrified brand at the start of 2022 to being a zero-emissions, 100% electric brand by 2027 it will start off a complete conversion in just five years.
Indeed Alfa Romeo has positioned itself to be one of the fastest automotive brands to reach carbon neutrality.
Alfa bosses tell us that the Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4 combines maximum efficiency and Italian sportiness; the all-electric range (AER) is 56km, up to 80km all-electric range city, 600km in the total cycle and emissions reduced from 29g/km.
I have had the pleasure of taking the new Tonale for an extended test drive on the day of its official launch recently. The best compliment that I can give the car is that it is a ‘proper’ Alfa. Those who have history with the brand will fully understand what that means and why it is important that it lives up to its heritage.
The interior especially wraps itself around the driver just as in the days of old. It is a wonderful place to be, and you are completely at one with the vehicle. The quality is right up the in the premier league; dark and moody with clever details and the right amount of new technology.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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