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Auto Express 1551

The weekly magazine that brings all the news and reviews for all the UK's Cars

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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51 Issues


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luxury is tempting, especially when the price is right

LET’S be honest, we all like a little bit of luxury in our lives, don’t we? That’s nowhere more apparent than in the car world, where premium brands are seen as aspirational, not only for buyers, but also for rival mainstream brands. In my view, too many of them have ideas above their station; there’s nothing wrong with a brand that offers good old-fashioned value.That’s why I find Vauxhall boss Stephen Norman’s assertion that the British company makes “modest cars for the modest person” so refreshing.But of the many clever things the car industry has done in recent years, two of the smartest have been the premium makers who’ve given us smaller, cheaper models, and the finance gurus who thought up PCPs to make them more affordable for us to…

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we drive audi’s new a1 as it targets mini

James_Batchelor@dennis.co.uk@JRRBatchelor• Five-door-only newcomer is lower, longer and wider than before • Three petrol engines at launch; hot S1 model expected to follow• FIRST DRIVETHE Audi A1 has always been one of the real stars of the ‘posh supermini’ breed, alongside the MINI and a step above the likes of the DS 3 and Ford’s Fiesta Vignale.Since 2011, in fact, the firm has shifted 800,000 examples of the car, introducing plenty of new customers to the brand; and now there’s an all-new version that aims to demolish its British rival once and for all.‘All new’ only really means all new for Audi, of course. The old A1 used VW Polo oily bits and, sure enough, the second generation gets that car’s latest platform.Designers claim the new model is “inspired by motorsport”…

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mini set to go electric for its 60th birthday

Jonathan_Burn@dennis.co.uk@Jonathan_burn• SPIEDMINI will mark its 60th anniversary next year by launching the most radical model in its history: the MINI electric.It will be the brand’s first mass-produced EV following a trial of 600 MINI Es back in 2007, and will launch next summer ahead of customers taking delivery in early 2020. Crucially, it will also be one of the first premium, small EV hatchbacks on sale. It will sit above the likes of the Renault ZOE when it arrives, ahead of Volkswagen’s eagerly anticipated I.D. hatchback.Prototypes of the MINI electric have been undergoing development testing in the Austrian Alps, where engineers are busy fine-tuning the car’s mechanical set-up. Previous spy images show the electric MINI will be based on an entry-level three-door Hatch, and there are currently no plans to…

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sharper new mazda 3 is up and running

(Automedia)CURVYSpies caught new 3 on test, and teaser shot gives glimpse of car’s bold lines• SPIEDTHE new generation of Mazda 3 has been spied ahead of its debut at next week’s Los Angeles Motor Show.The prototype’s swirly disguise can’t cover up the fact that the new 3 sticks closely to the looks of the Kai concept that made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2017. This includes thick-looking C-pillars and slim tail-lights.The biggest benefit of adopting the Kai’s character is that the concept’s wheelbase is much longer than the current 3’s. This should mean useful improvements in legroom for rear-seat occupants.Mazda is tipped to be dropping diesel for this 3, relying instead on a new type of supercharged petrol engine dubbed SkyActiv-X. It uses technology that the firm…

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hot new 369bhp m340i gives a taste of m3

James_Brodie@dennis.co.uk@jimmybrods• OFFICIALBMW is warming up for the reveal of the all-new M3 next year with the first performance variant of the latest 3 Series: the M340i xDrive, which has been unveiled ahead of its full debut at next week’s Los Angeles Motor Show.On sale in Europe next July, the M340i xDrive gets a retuned version of BMW’s 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six engine. Power increases by 47bhp compared with the previous-generation 340i, to 369bhp, while torque is up by 50Nm, to 500Nm.BMW says these gains have been achieved through a number of minor changes to the motor, such as redeveloped turbochargers and higher-pressure fuel injectors than before.The increased power and torque mean the M340i’s 0-62mph time drops to 4.4 seconds, while economy and CO2 emissions stand at 37.6mpg and 172g/km. Those are…

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and plug-in 3 claims 138mpg

BMW has also issued first official details on the new 330e plug-in hybrid. Due on sale in July, the eco-focused edition of the executive saloon has the same 249bhp petrol-electric set-up as before, but it’s lighter overall and can now manage 37 miles of pure-electric running – and at speeds of up to 68mph. It will return official economy of 138mpg and emit 39g/km of CO2. ■…