25 October 2016

New Mercedes-Benz pickup for reveal today

This is a sketch released by Mercedes-Benz last year to show its thinking on a pickup in development with Nissan, writes Brian Byrne.

Well, we'll be seeing the actual concept in the metal this afternoon in Stockholm, and we'll bring you pictures and details from the event.

Though the vehicle is being developed in conjunction with Nissan, we can bet that it's not just a rebadged Navara.  Apart from expected larger dimensions and its own sheetmetal, the car will have available to it a range of Mercedes-Benz engines, from which the pickup can be tailored to key markets, which include Australia, South America and probably the US as well as Europe.

Likely on sale end of next year or early 2018. All to be revealed later today.

Altitude Festival moves to winter

The 11th Altitude Festival will move from its traditional Spring-season slot and instead ensure a hilarious start to the winter in Mayrhofen in Austria from 11-17 December 2016.

The famous comedy festival coined as 'the funniest show on snow' presents a raucous mix of top UK stand-up acts, music and skiing over five fun-filled days.

Previous headliners include Eddie Izzard and John Bishop, and this season’s stellar line-up will showcase Zoe Lyons, Andy Askins, Daniel Sloss, Glenn Wool, Kai Humphries and of course The Improv Allstars, with many more acts to be announced.

The Altitude Festival’s organisers say they intend to top the week off with a spectacular Festival of Light in Mayrhofen: a dazzling spectacle which can be enjoyed with some free Gl├╝hwein and Austrian snacks.

And as it’s Christmas, Mayrhofen will also be organising an Austrian Christmas Market in the nearby enchanted forest. For more information, visit altitudefestival.com.

Ford helps in 'ride the green wave' trials

Ford is testing a system that will help drivers in urban areas with lots of traffic lights 'ride the green wave' in a non-stop journey, writes Brian Byrne.

The system, part of a trial in the UK of connected cars systems, provides a recommended speed to drivers which will help them avoid red lights.

The information for the system is provided by roadside transmitters connected to the lights system.

In addition to making a commute smoother and less frustrating, the idea has positive implications for fuel consumption and car emissions.

It's been estimated that in the UK, drivers on regular commutes typically spend the equivalent of two days a year stopped at red lights.

Ford is providing hybrid Mondeos for the trial, which involves 16 partners and is partly funded by the British government.

24 October 2016

On familiar winning territory

The Wales Rally GB is considered to be a home away from home event for Craig Breen who recently secured a two-year WRC works drive with Citroen, writes Richard Burke. He will be driving for the Abu Dhabi Total World Team for the sixth and final time this year.

Speaking ahead of the short trip over to Wales Craig shared his thoughts saying, “I’m looking forward to racing on these stages again, which I have driven on many times in the British Rally Championship and during my five appearances at Wales Rally GB. I have a lot of good memories, the highlight probably being when I won the Junior WRC title in 2011 alongside Gareth Roberts, who was Welsh.

21 October 2016

Alfa Romeo Giulia here in November

The Alfa Romeo Giulia will arrive in Ireland at the end of November at a starting price of €39,995, writes Brian Byrne.

The new car will be available with 2.2 diesels in 150/180hp options, as well as 2.0 and 2.9 petrol engines with 200hp and 510hp respectively.

The most powerful Quadrifoglio will offer a 0-100km/h sprint of 3.9s.

The Giulia will be provided in Ireland in five trim levels, Giulia, Super, Super Sport, Super Lux and Quadrifoglio.

The rear-wheel-drive car's transmission will be an 8-speed automatic.

In the Euro NCAP crash test regime, the Giulia achieved a 98pc protection for adult occupation.

Connectivity is available via the FCA UConnect system, with the option of 6.5" or 8.8" touchscreens.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio version starts at €99,945.

The car may be ordered at Alfa Romeo dealers in Ireland now.