The all new BMW 3 Series has arrived on our shores and is receiving wide acclaim as the benchmark sports saloon by which others will be judged.
I am not going to review the full range here now but I have chosen one of the new 3 series models in particular which really suits our times and that is the new 316d.
This model is specifically tuned for maximum fuel economy and uses some clever technologies to achieve this, including an auto stop start function.
The new 3 Series has grown in size with more knee room and better headroom in the rear, while the level of standard specification has risen also with 17inch alloy wheels as standard with run flat tyres (all models except 320 Efficient Dynamics which gets 16inch alloys on standard tyres) auto stop start and i Drive as well as Drive Performance Control. This allows the driver to select between four modes from economy to performance.
The boot is bigger too going from a capacity of 460 litres to 480 litres.
The quality of the materials used in the car have also improved and as a recent test drive of the 316d at the Irish press launch demonstrated it has also become better to drive.
Powered by a low emission 1995cc turbo diesel and mated to a slick 6 speed gearbox this new 316d will go from 0 to 100km/h in about 10.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 202 km/h, more importantly it will do this while consuming on average just 5.2 litres of diesel per 100km. It also falls into the lowest tax band A at €160.
Prices for the new BMW 316d start at €34,180.
The eagerly awaited launch of the new Peugeot 208 is almost here. It arrives at the end of next month and will of course replace the popular 207.
I really like the new and more dynamic style. The new 208 is actually smaller and sits lower on the road than the car it replaces but clever design has meant that it offers more interior space than the 207.
The interior boasts a new design also with an interesting new dashboard layout and higher quality materials throughout.
Three versions Access, Active and Allure, make up the Irish model range with 3 and 5 door body styles.
The engine line-up includes some amazingly low emission units and Peugeot expect petrol models to make up 65% of all sales as these engines have become so frugal.
The petrol units will include a 1.0 litre 68 bhp with emissions of just 99g/Km.
A 1.2 petrol with 82bhp and emissions of just 104g/km and a 1.4 litre HDI diesel with 68bhp and emissions of 87g/km. This model also comes with auto stop start.
The full specification and prices will be announced shortly but I expect this new Peugeot to be a little gem!
New Seat Ibiza
Another new small car makes its debut on Irish soil in the shape of the curvy new Seat Ibiza.
Boasting a newly styled front and rear as well as the addition of cornering lights and LED rear lights the new Ibiza has also been transformed inside with a new dashboard layout which I must say looks very well indeed.
Styling aside, there is also improved standard equipment on the Ibiza, with the Special Edition model featuring new 15” alloy wheels, fog lights, Bluetooth functionality for telephone, USB and Aux connections and a multifunction steering wheel. As with the previous version, the new Ibiza is available in three body-styles, the 3-door SC, the 5-door, which will account for the majority of sales and the versatile ST version. All of these can be had with a choice of 1.2-litre 70hp petrol or 1.2-litre 75hp diesel. This engine line-up will grow to include the 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine putting out 105hp and 1.6-litre 105hp TDI at a later stage.
Prices start at just €13,800 for the 1.2 litre 70 bhp Edition.
I have always liked the Ibiza as it offers the usual bulletproof VW standard build quality with that touch of mediterranean design flair.
Seat have some special offers to those of you who take a test drive in one between now and June 30. Check it out.