15 February 2019

Continental partners with Multisport Adventure Ireland

Paul Mahon, Outfront Events, (second from left), and Tom Dennigan, General Sales Manager, Continental Tyres Ireland (send from right) with adventure athletes, Padraig O’Connor, Kelly Farrell, Laura O’Driscoll, National Champion; and Bernard Smyth.

Continental Tyres has agreed to be title partner of the Irish National Adventure Race Series in conjunction with Series founders Multisport Adventure Ireland and promotion partner Kayathlon.ie, writes Trish Whelan.

The initial one-year partnership will debut at the sold-out ‘Quest Kenmare’ adventure race along the Wild Atlantic Way on 2 March, concluding with the ‘Sea2Summit’ race in Westport, Co Mayo on 9 November.

Adventure Racing is an increasingly popular, outdoor multi-sport event that includes running, cycling and kayaking in some of Ireland’s most rugged and scenic terrains. Events are open to experienced competitors seeking an endurance challenge, as well as novice participants looking to set a personal goal or team challenge.

The National Adventure Race Series was set up here in 2011 by Multisport Adventure Ireland, giving participants an opportunity to compete for national titles. The series offers a selection of top-quality adventure races around Ireland, offering a variety of challenges based on strict criteria. The races include some new localised events plus more established races such as the renowned Gaelforce West and Quest Series events.

The Continental Tyres National Adventure Race Series offers participants an opportunity to become overall champion by achieving the most points which are taken from their top five events in their respective categories.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch, Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland said: “This partnership is a really exciting new venture for us. Continental is about more than just cars; we also produce bicycle tyres and have a partnership with adidas to develop premium rubber soles for trail and running shoes.

“All our products, including our premium car tyres, are focused on offering premium grip and safety for challenging environments.” He added: “It’s going to be a lot of fun to dive into a sport that relies as heavily on grip as adventure racing does.”

Paul Mahon of Multisport Adventure Ireland said:”Continental is a premium brand with a commitment to high performance, and they bring a level of expertise and profile that we hope will help to promote this emerging sport. Adventure Racing is the perfect sport for Ireland’s spectacular and diverse landscape. For those taking part it’s all about endurance and preparation, including having the right equipment - an area in which Continental excels.”

To celebrate the new partnership, Continental Tyres is giving National Adventure Race Series participants an opportunity to win a range of additional prizes including bike tyres, adidas trail and running shoes with Continental outsoles and some Advance Pitstop vouchers.

The 2019 National Adventure Race Series starts with Quest Kenmare on 2 March followed by other events including:

Windsor Airside Renault enjoyed good start to 2019

Windsor Airside Renault and Dacia dealership in Swords was the number one Renault dealership in Dublin for January, writes Trish Whelan.

The Renault Clio was the bestselling small car in Dublin in January. Renault and Dacia took nearly a 9pc share of the city’s new car market for the first month of the year.

The dealership, launched late last year, is now the flagship for Renault and Dacia cars and vans in North Dublin and is the second location for Windsor Renault and Dacia, having also launched its Galway dealership last summer.

Windsor Airside Renault caters for the large North Dublin market in a state of the art facility which houses all Renault and Dacia models and Renault Pro+ vans, as well as a key Service Area with highly skilled Renault technicians.

The dealership is offering keen finance offers for February across the range, available through Renault Bank, on all orders taken and registered before 28 February 2019. Renault say these complete offers are designed to deliver real value by lowering the cost of vehicle ownership and providing real savings to customers.

On the facelifted Renault Kadjar, customers can avail of 3.9pc APR, three years’ servicing and 12 months’ free road tax, as well as €1,250 cashback.

Across the rest of the Renault car range, including Clio, Captur, Megane Hatch, Megane Sport Tourer, Megane Grand Coupe, the Scenic range and Koleos, Windsor Airside Renault is offering 3.9pc APR, three years’ servicing, 12 months’ free road tax, and €1,000 cashback.

During February, customers can take advantage of 0pc APR and 0pc BIK on the 100pc electric Renault ZOE. Starting at €24,990 after VRT relief and SEAI grant, (including full battery purchase), the ZOE has a range of up to 317km.

LCV customers can take a 48-hour test drive in the large Renault Master, the Trafic or Kangoo, and avail of 3.9pc APR HP finance, five years’ warranty and five years’ roadside assistance, and those who purchase  LCV throughout February will get free ply lining for their vehicle to protect their new van.

Dacia is available with 4.9pc APR across the range for February; the new Dacia Duster is offered from €149p/m, Sandero from €99 p/m and Logan MCV from €119 p/m. 

All models in the Renault and Dacia car ranges are available for 24-hour test drives throughout February at Windsor Airside Renault  www.windsor.ie      

14 February 2019

Hot T-Roc concept will show at Geneva

A high performance version of Volkswagen's T-Roc will be shown in close to production form at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, writes Brian Byrne.

The T-Roc R as a 'concept' at the show has been produced by Volkswagen R, the wholly-owned performance subsidiary of VW.

It will show specific style details for the T-Roc R production version, for both  external and interior design.

Though no specifications are yet officially available, it is believed the vehicle will have a 310hp 2.0 unit based on that in the Golf R.

Volkswagen Ireland say they hope to have news on price and availability 'soon'.

Fiat 500 is now exhibit in NYC's MOMA

The New York Museum of Modern Art has placed a 1965 Fiat 500 as part of an exhibit called 'The Value of Good Design', writes Brian Byrne.

First launched in 1957 as an 'affordable car', the highly successful car was designed Dante Giacosa, and more than 4m units were built through to 1975.

The modern version of the Fiat 500 was launched in 2007.

Dublin car showroom hosts unique exhibition of vintage Mercedes-Benz cars

A selection of the most iconic and rare vintage passenger cars from the acclaimed O’Flaherty Mercedes-Benz Classic Collection is on exhibition from today in the recently redeveloped showrooms of MSL Ballsbridge Motors on Dublin’s Shelbourne Road.

Intended as a tribute to company founder, the late Stephen O’Flaherty and his eldest sons, Michael and Nigel O’Flaherty, this is the first occasion on which the Collection will be placed on display for public viewing.

Cars from the collection will be displayed on a rotational basis for a limited four-week period in each case throughout the year, each model being replaced by another until visitors have had the opportunity to view all of the cars involved.

Centrepieces at a reception to launch the exhibition were the two most prized models in the O’Flaherty Mercedes-Benz Classic Collection. These are a limited-edition working replica of Karl Benz’s famed 1886 Benz Patent Motor Car, the world’s first passenger car, and a 1898 Benz Velo Comfortable — the first motor car ever imported into Ireland.

Amongst the models that will feature for periods throughout the course of the year will be an extremely rare 1911 vintage Benz model 8/18, the imposing 1935 Mercedes-Benz 200 two-door sports-roadster, a 1936 500 K Cabriolet and a two-door 1955 300 SL Gullwing with its distinctive upwards-lifting doors.

Showrooms at MSL Ballsbridge Motors can accommodate over 30 vehicles. In addition, the location has its own very special place in Irish motoring history, being the premises where, in 1950, the first Volkswagen Beetle built outside Germany was assembled.

Pictured are the 1911 Benz 8/18 (top), 1935 Mercedes-Benz 200 (above),  and (below) 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Cabriolet.

Honda launches hybrid CR-V

Honda has launched the hybrid version of its CR-V SUV in Ireland at a starting price of €38,000, writes Brian Byrne.

The car is powered by a powertrain system based on a 2.0 petrol engine and an innovative generator and electric motor system which has the wheels powered by electricity most of the time. There is no gearbox.

Available in four grades, the new car represents the first time that Honda has used an electrified powertrain in an SUV. There will be no diesel.

A petrol-powered CR-V has been on sale here since last autumn. Unlike the hybrid, which is limited to five seats, it has a 7-seat variant.

John Saunders (above left) , Sales and Marketing Director for Universal Honda Ltd, says the initial delivery of 100 units of the hybrid vehicle have already been sold, and he envisages total sales in 2019 of the car at around 300 units. He has also said the CR-V hybrid marks the beginning of Honda’s commitment to an electric future in Europe with a specific aim to have electrified powertrains in two thirds of European cars sold by 2025.

Adrian Cole (above right), Managing Director, Universal Honda Ltd, said at yesterday's launch that the Jazz supermini will be the next of the brand's mainstream cars to get a hybrid option. Also, the production version of an urban electric car will debut in the autumn.

12 February 2019

Review: Mercedes C-Class Estate

Maybe there are better ways to start a year of car reviews, but I'm certainly happy to do so with a 191 Mercedes-Benz, writes Brian Byrne.

In this case, the C-Class estate, possibly quite the nicest Merc currently available and decently achievable.

It's a facelifted version of the model that is one of the traditional cars from the brand. When it came out first in 1993 it was the 'baby' Benz, but since then has grown through its teens to adulthood and is very much a full car in size and accommodation. The 'baby' space has for some years now been occupied by the A and B classes which opened up the premium brand to a much younger demographic.

New SEAT Tarraco expands SUV presence

The new SEAT Tarraco mid-sized SUV has launched on the Irish market at a starting price of €34,700, writes Brian Byrne.

The car is available in 5- and 7-seat formats, though SEAT Ireland expects that 95pc of sales will be on the 7-seat version.

There are two grades, SE and Xcellence, and powertrain options are 150hp/190hp petrol and diesels of similar outputs. DSG automatic and AWD versions are available.

The company expects that 65pc of buyers will opt for diesel.

Standard features include LED lights front and rear, and a 'digital cockpit' instruments and information system.

The key competitors outside the Tarraco's related VW Group vehicles are Hyundai's Santa Fe, Nissan's X-Trail, and the Peugeot 5008.

SEAT Ireland is offering finance PCP packages with APR as low as 1.9pc, which provides a competitive edge against those competitors, according Neil Dalton, Head of Marketing and Product at SEAT Ireland.

Brand Director Niall Phillips said at the launch that the Tarraco will be a 'halo' car for SEAT and will be a key driver for the future growth of the company's business.

He said he expects sales this year to be 400 units. Speaking on last year's sales of SEAT cars in Ireland, he noted that the 3,700 units was the highest for the brand here since 2001, and had achieved a 3pc market share.

Niall Phillips also noted that the SUV genre had grown from 34pc of the market in 2017 to 42pc in 2018. "I expect it will have reached 50pc by the end of the year, he added.

The brand has developed a long way in the last couple of years, he said, and noted that there will be three new arrivals in 2020, including a new Leon, a new CUV, and a new urban electric car.

Redesigned ASX for Geneva debut

A redesigned Mitsubishi ASX will debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, writes Brian Byrne.

A substantial reshaping of the front end and new LED lights at the rear will mark the main external changes, while the interior improvements include a larger central display and enhanced connectivity.

The ASX was launched in 2009 and some 1.3m units have been sold globally.

Electrified models coming from Subaru

Subaru is to unveil two electrified models at the Geneva Motor Show next month, writes Brian Byrne.

The powertrains will be defined by the name e-Boxer.

The company will also reveal a mildly restyled Levorg with a new 2.0 boxer engine.