Wednesday June 29th, 2011 22:10 Rolls-Royce Produce One-Off Phantom Drophead Coupé


If driving a highly limited edition and exclusive car is your thing, then you may want to look towards the latest production from Rolls-Royce. The British car manufacturer has unveiled a special edition version of the Phantom Drophead Coupé. Limited to just one car, the Masterpiece London 2011 Drophead Coupé will make its debut in public at the Masterpiece London 2011 art and design fair, held in London from the 30th of June until the 5th of July.

Rolls-Royce say that the car was “designed to capture the essence of a perfect weekend get-away, offering drivers and their passengers the ultimate luxurious and relaxing experience in roof-down motoring.”

The car is the first Rolls-Royce to be presented in a Mazarine Blue bespoke finish, a colour that apparently takes its inspiration from the European and Asian Mazarine Blue butterfly. As well as featuring engraved door-sill plates, the car features special teak deck inlays.

The cars interior is similarly opulent, with Seashell leather upholstery, embroidered headrests, and both mother-of-pearl and wood trim. To top this all off, Rolls-Royce have included a jewellery box, just incase you fancy taking your earrings, cufflinks and rings for a spin.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars expressed his enthusiasm for the special edition Phantom Drophead Coupé. He said: “We are delighted to present this outstanding Rolls-Royce at Masterpiece London 2011. Craftsmanship and attention to detail shine through in features developed at Goodwood and in partnership with Asprey. It’s a model that demonstrates the breadth of our bespoke offering, where the only limit to what we can deliver is a client’s imagination.”

Unsurprisingly, Rolls-Royce has not revealed the price of the special edition Phantom Drophead Coupé, but you can pretty much guarantee that there will be at least one person willing to stump up the cash for it.

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Tuesday June 28th, 2011 23:03 Funding your dream car with car finance

Some purchases in life are essential and cars are one of them.  While nobody is keen to take on debt at the moment, funding a new car with finance can be a surprisingly effective way to save in the long term.  If the choice is between a car that will ‘do’ or your dream car, considering finance to extend your budget may not be as daft as it sounds! So what are the benefits?

Taking on the salesmen

Car dealerships have had it rough for the last few years, the credit crunch has hit them badly and manufacturers are keen to see the market moving again.  This means deals, deals, deals.  It also means extras, upgrades and all manner of goodies.  Using a specialist car finance firm as opposed to dealership finance can put you in the enviable position of being a ‘cash buyer’.  From this lofty position it’s possible to haggle even the most hardened car salesman into the ground.  While offers and extras will be included with finance direct from the dealership, loans from specialist lenders can open far more freebies.

Future proofing

Whatever model your dream car is, the latest model will come with a range of fuel efficiency measures.  This can have a big impact on running costs and the savings will add up over time.  These savings can actually offset the cost of buying on finance, so if you’re nervous of taking out a loan it’s one of the hidden factors to consider thoroughly.  Second hand dream cars are just as prone to sudden and expensive breakdowns as second hand ‘make do’ cars.  New models will not only be more reliable but will have plenty of warranties to cover any problems that do occur.

The types of finance

There are a few routes to consider when buying using finance.  As mentioned, the traditional dealership route is still popular, but to find the best deal from a range of dealers you’ll spend a lot of time checking finance offers and less checking out the cars themselves.  Specialist providers have come into their own in the last few years; and there are plenty that will offer a fast decision online.  This gives you the freedom to shop around and haggle.  Alternatively there are personal loans from banks, although these are harder to get these days, however good your credit rating.  Whichever route you choose the key is to shop around.  Finding a broker that compares a wide range of loans is always worthwhile.  Financially this may not seem like the time to splash out on a dream car; however, the savings that it can offer in the future make it a surprisingly attractive option.

Author Bio:  Buying your dream with car finance can be a surprisingly cost effective method.  With potential savings on fuel and maintenance adding up, the cost of finance may be lower than you think.

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Monday June 27th, 2011 12:30 The Top 5 Summer Driving Hazards

As we all know, driving can be a very dangerous pursuit in any season. Thousands each year are killed on the roads on we are aware that leaving the house in the car always carries a risk. Most of us however are extremely cautious, respectful of other road users and take the necessary precautions when out on the roads.

There are of course some situations that can present more danger than others. Weather conditions have a particular influence on road safety and people often consider extreme winter conditions like snow and ice to be the most hazardous. While this may be true, summer driving can also throw up its own set of dangers.

Here are five things to watch out for when driving in the Summer Months.

1. Driving in Bare Feet

On those balmy summer afternoons, walking around in barefoot or wearing flip-flops really evokes those holiday memories; the gentle breeze whipping around your toes is one of those subtle sensations that make the season such a pleasure. Of course if there is the need to pop out in the car to grab some more charcoal for the BBQ, the temptation is to jump in the car barefooted for that quick jaunt to the supermarket.

Problem is driving in bare feet can be very dangerous since that sensation is quite different from what you’re used to when wearing shoes with a substantial sole. This can cause misjudgements in pressure applied to pedals leading to needless accidents. If you are going out in the motor, even for the quickest of trips, don some footwear!

2. Wasps in the Car

We’ve all experienced that moment of sheer panic when we’re cruising down the road, windows open music up without a care in the world when suddenly a wasp invites itself into the cabin. Now, being in the presence of a wasp isn’t enjoyable at the best of times, but having to dodge the attentions of this angry insect when trapped in a cabin travelling at 50mph is positively panic-inducing!

Driving with the windows open in summer is of course necessary, unless you are lucky enough to have air condition, so the wasp issue is largely unavoidable. Just be sure to remain calm, wasps don’t usually sting unless they are agitated. Pull over at the next available opportunity and calmly usher the wasp out/run away screaming.


3. Drinking Water While Driving

We all know that drinking alcohol before driving is an offence that’s more than likely to seriously ruin your day. Drinking water while driving however is essential on hot days to maintain hydration. Getting dehydrated can make you feel lethargic and impact concentration levels causing you to make mistakes.

Reaching for that alluring, icy errant bottle however can also lead to an accident. Since bottles are often a cylindrical shape they tend to roll around on the floor, being catapulted into the passenger footwall under heavy breaking. Reaching for said bottle can lead you to divert your attention away from the road for that crucial second, resulting in disaster.

If you have a passenger, get them to hand you drinks at regular intervals, or alternatively, keep your bottle in the side pocket for easy access.

Man drinking water

4. Glare from the sun

Visibility in the summer months can be as much of a problem as the issues brought about by high temperatures. The likelihood of the sun being out for long periods SHOULD at least be favourable, and for this reason, it is crucial to don a pair of good sunglasses or at least lower the sun visor to aid visibility.

Woman driving car

5. Music Volume

Most of us scowl in disapproval if we see a youngster hacking along in their motor with load music pumping out, but we’d be at pains to admit that we’ve all done it some point, especially when the mercury rises. The feeling of freedom gained from humming and tapping along to our favourite tunes with the wind in our hair is one of the joys of summer.
Excessively loud music in the car can be dangerous however. Not only is it distracting but it can drown other important aural signals you should be aware of when driving. Level crossings for example have an audible warning before they close, and unintentionally ignoring such signals could prove to be fatal.

Enjoy the summer, and enjoy driving, but take the necessary precautions to ensure that the sunny weather doesn’t mean that heat’s turned up in the cabin!

Car stereo

Joe is an automotive blogger currently looking for new Ford Fiesta Deals


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Friday June 24th, 2011 12:29 Toyota to export the British-built Avensis to Japan


Toyota has announced that it will begin exporting the British-built Avensis to Japan later this year. The news comes as a further boost to the UK motor industry after BMW and Nissan both recently pledged to put significant funds into their UK production facilities.

Currently, the Avensis is built exclusively at Toyota’s factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire, and the third-generation version of the model already ships to 47 countries worldwide. Since production of the Avensis began in 1997, over 1.8 million Avensis vehicles have been built at Burnaston. As a result of Toyota’s decision, from July, an extra 750 Tourer estate models will be produced for export per month.

Toyota’s decision to introduce the Avensis to the Japanese market came after an upturn in demand for European styling and engineering from Japanese customers. These customers will be offered cars that are powered by 2.0-litre petrol engines along with a CVT gearbox. This will allow the Avensis to produce a more fuel efficient and low emission performance.

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, welcomed Toyota’s decision and described it as an endorsement of British manufacturing skills and quality. He said: “Toyota exports 85 per cent of the car and engines it makes at its UK plants in Burnaston and Deeside. Today’s news that it will now export its Avensis model to Japan is a tribute to the skills of the workforce, the efficiency of the plants and the quality of its products.”

Toyota’s UK Managing Director, Katsunori Kojima added: “We are very proud that the Avensis has been selected for export to Japan. This is yet another vote of confidence for the factory and the high quality of our products.”

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Thursday June 23rd, 2011 17:11 MINI officially reveal the two-seater Coupé


MINI has announced details of its latest model, the highly-anticipated two-seater Coupé. Set for release in October, MINI hope that the new Coupé will provide a stern challenge to the Audi TT. Described by MINI as having “unrivalled handling agility,” the Coupé is the first “three-box” two-seater MINI. Sitting 52 millimetres lower than the standard MINI, and with a unique “helmet roof” design, the Coupé will certainly stick out from its rivals in the field.

There are four variants in the Coupé range, starting with the base model MINI Cooper Coupé and ending with the flagship John Cooper Works Coupé (JCW).

The Cooper, with its 120bhp, 1.6-litre engine, goes from 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds and has a pretty nifty top speed of 127mph. The JCW Coupé has a top speed of 149mph and roars from 0-62mph in an impressive 6.4 seconds. Its four-cylinder, 1.6-litre petrol engine boasts a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection, and has a maximum output of 211bhp at 6,000rpm.

In between these two models come the MINI Cooper S Coupé and the MINI Cooper SD Coupé. The SD Coupé has a four-cylinder, 2-litre turbo-diesel engine with an aluminium crankcase.

The “three-box” shape enables the MINI to have room for a 280-litre load bay. This is 120 litres more than the standard MINI. The impressive storage space doesn’t end there, however, as there are extra storage bins behind the seats in addition to a hatch for any long objects. Loading objects is also made easier by the Coupé’s wide and high-opening tailgate.

Prices for the Coupé begin at £16,640 for the Cooper Coupé and rise up to £23,795 for the flagship John Cooper Works Coupé. MINI describe the car as a “faithful expression of the hallmark MINI design language” and they will certainly hope that the car can gain MINI some new followers when it is released in October.

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Sunday June 19th, 2011 13:45 New Yaris unveiled by Toyota

Toyota have released the first details of the latest incarnation of its widely successful Yaris model. Described by Toyota as “compact outside, spacious inside,” the third generation Yaris is expected to be launched in the UK some time this summer. Construction of the Yaris, just as was the case with the previous model, will take place at Toyota’s factory in Valenciennes, France. It has been designed with engineered there to deliver the highest possible build quality.

Buyers of the Yaris will be able to choose from three different engines. Two of these are petrol – a 1.0-litre and a 1.33-litre engine – while the third option is a 1.4-litre D-4D diesel engine. However, Toyota will make the Yaris one of the first small cars to adopt battery technology when a petrol-electric hybrid model joins the Yaris range in 2012.

Toyota are confident that the hybrid version of the Yaris will be able to deliver “truly remarkable” economy and CO2 emissions.

One of the new features that marks the Yaris apart from the previous model is the introduction of Toyota’s “Touch and Go” media system. This system, first debuted on the Verso-S, combines a 6.1-inch touch screen, along with Bluetooth connectivity. A sat-nav system is also optional. Toyota anticipates that 95% of Yaris models will feature the 6.1-inch touch screen.

The President and CEO of Toyota Europe, Didier Leroy, has high hopes for the new Yaris: “With its new levels of ingenuity, efficiency and quality, we are confident it can build upon Yaris’s previous success and help Toyota rejuvenate its presence in Europe and move towards one million annual sales in the region in the medium term.”

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Thursday June 16th, 2011 22:50 BMW Reveals the M5


BMW has revealed the first official images and details of the latest version of its best known super-saloon, the M5. Set to be unleashed on the public in November, the production version of the fifth M car is nearly identical to the Concept M5 that was revealed back in April.

One area where the new M5 does differ from the Concept M5 is the engine. Whereas the concept car was powered by a V10 engine, the new M5 is to be powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine. This engine produces 552bhp and an impressive 680Nm of torque, making it the most powerful production engine ever seen in a BMW. The installation of a seven-speed double clutch auto box will enable drivers to handle this increased horsepower and torque with ease.

It is not just power and torque that have been improved for the M5, as fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have both been improved by 30%. Fuel consumption now stands at 28.5mpg with CO2 emissions at 232g/km. BMW say that stop-start and brake energy regeneration have played a part in this.

In terms of performance statistics, the BMW M5 certainly looks to be a very impressive model. The super-saloon can go from 0-62mph in just 4.4 seconds, while it takes 13 seconds to go from 0-124mph. The M5’s top speed is limited to 155mph, although buyers who opt for the ‘M Driver’s Package’ will see the limiter lifted to 190mph.

The M5 is fitted with electronically-controlled dampers, a stability control system, adjustable steering weight and an ‘M dynamic mode’. The interior of the car looks pretty luxurious, with sports seats, an M leather steering wheel and an M-specific instrument cluster. A head-up display also comes as standard, in addition to a 10.2 inch colour screen with iDrive control display.

Although there is no official price as of yet, the BMW M5 is expected to cost in the region of £73,000 when it goes on sale in the UK in November.

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Thursday June 16th, 2011 15:43 5 Safety Tips for Long Road Trips

1. Pack an emergency roadside kit. No one ever plans for things to go wrong during a long road trip by car; however, things happen. If you’re not planning on using a car shipping service this summer, then plan on packing an emergency kit for your car that contains some of the following items: jumper cables, gas can, car jack, flash light, tire pressure gauge, car manual, garbage bags, matches, can opener, portable first aid kit, water, etc.

2. Take breaks. Even if you think that you’re ok to drive for 12 hours straight, it is recommended that you take a break to get out of the car and stretch your body every 100 miles or so. If you are traveling with children or older adults, you may have no choice in the matter!

3. Consider obtaining a membership with AAA or another similar service. Depending on how often you travel as well as where you travel, having a roadside service such as AAA can be a lifesaver in the event that your vehicle breaks down in the middle of nowhere.To avoid a situation like this, you may want to start investigating the most affordable car shipping prices and simply have your vehicle transported instead :)

4. Get your vehicle inspected. Something as simple as having your vehicle’s oil changed prior to making a trip from New York to Florida can mean the difference between $30-40 versus $300-400. Having your vehicle inspected by a mechanic is the only way to ensure that your car is prepared to handle a long-distance road trip.

5. Plan for the unexpected. Long road trips mean that you will inevitably hit traffic pits at some point. If you are traveling with small children, make sure that you think ahead and bring plenty of activities to keep them busy. It also helps to plot out your trip in advance. Bring a paper map (in addition to GPS devices) and know where all of the safest rest stops, restaurants, hotels and historical sites are along the way. Avoid stopping at places that look questionable, and make sure that you bring your power chord and extra batteries for your cell phone, just in case!

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Wednesday June 15th, 2011 19:39 Mazda Reveals the CX-5 SUV


Just days after Mercedes announced it would be entering the SUV market with its M-Class, Mazda has revealed plans for its own new SUV, the CX-5. The Japanese car manufacturer hope that the CX-5 4X4 will be able to provide stiff competition in the compact SUV market for the Land Rover Freelander.

Although there are no official images of the CX-5 SUV as of yet, it is based on the Minagi concept car pictured above. It will be the first car to be produced under Mazda’s new SKYACTIV technologies, and will feature a new array of more efficient engines and transmissions.

With the use of SKYACTIV technologies, Mazda expect the new car to be a class leader for economy, emissions and performance. The CX-5′s 2.2-litre diesel engine will boast 173bhp and will produce less than 120g/km of C02. It is also 20% more economical than the current 2.2 diesel, and will be mated to a new six-speed manual transmission.

The CX-5 will be underpinned by a new lightweight modular chassis and suspension set-up. This set-up will also be used by Mazda as a base for a range of new models, ranging from a Mazda 3 to the CX-7. This flexibility is attained because of the new platform’s modularity.

The CX-5′s engine already meets Euro 6 emissions standards, and is also cheaper to build than today’s Euro 5 diesels, so it will be interesting to see whether this impacts on its price tag. Expected to be available in the UK from spring 2012, Mazda will be hoping that the CX-5 makes a big impression in the SUV market.

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Saturday June 11th, 2011 00:23 Mercedes Unveils New M-Class SUV


Yesterday, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new M-Class SUV. Stylistically reminiscent of Mercedes’ saloon line-up, the new luxury 4X4 looks all set to provide a strong challenge to Range Rover in the SUV market. Featuring permanent all-wheel drive, as well as innovative driving dynamics systems and new chassis developments, the M-Class is expected to go on sale in April 2012.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new off-roader, Dr Thomas Weber, a member of Mercedes’ management board, said: “The M-Class embodies all the automotive experience that we have accumulated over 125 years and thus represents – in short – a quantum leap in terms of efficiency, safety, agility and design!”

With fuel consumption reduced by an impressive 25% from its predecessor, the M-Class is set to be the German carmaker’s most efficient off-roader yet. Mercedes will produce gas and diesel versions of the M-Class, these being the ML350 4Matic and the more environmentally friendly ML350 BlueTec. The BlueTec features a reworked 240-horsepower, 3.0-litre V6 engine, and comfortably meets EU6 emissions standards. With increased power and torque, the M-Class will comfortably be able to go from 0-62mph in under 10 seconds.

By making the new M-Class longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, Mercedes have ensured that the interior of the five-seater cabin is also roomier than previous models. The range of wood and leather finishes on offer should help to further enhance the feeling of luxury in the car’s interior.

Drivers looking to take the SUV off-road should be pleased by the fact that the M-Class features a comprehensive off-road programme as part of its standard equipment. This programme includes an off-road button that activates a special off-road transmission mode. A new ‘active curve system’ will also help to ensure that the body of the M-Class remains under tight control when it is cornering.

Although Mercedes has not yet confirmed prices for the M-Class, expect the luxury off-roader to be a popular choice for 4X4 enthusiasts upon its release in April 2012.

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