Monday 5 December 2016

Luxury brands are cracking the whip on their designers

Published 20/01/2016 | 02:30

Jaguar XE
Jaguar XE

Luxury brands are also cracking the whip on their designers.

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The Range Rover Evoque might seem so familiar but did you know that it only arrived to the market in 2011?

That was the same year that Audi unveiled its highly favoured A7 4dr coupe.

Jaguar recently launched the XE sport saloon to rival BMW's 3-series and has more than 20 standard models before additional packs or personalisations are taken into account.

And whatever about new and never-seen-before models, manufacturers have created niche segments within existing sectors with real gusto.

The BMW 3 Series coupe is now called the 4-Series. However, you can get a 4-series with four doors too.

The Volvo V40 has a more rugged looking Cross Country version. So does the VW Polo (Cross Polo). And there are many other examples.

Adding to the myriad of different models is an even more comprehensive range of engines. In 2010, many manufacturers almost exclusively dealt in diesel.

Who could blame them? Irish buyers shunned petrol engines from 2008 and registration figures show a dramatic trading of fortunes between the two fossil fuel types. Before 2008 petrols typically represented 75pc of all new-car sales.

From 2008 on, this number fell to 25pc.

Petrol has not quite bounced back to its former numbers - and it may never do so again - but it now makes for a far more attractive proposition.

That is all thanks to smaller capacity engines with turbos and direct fuel injection.

It means that cars such as the new Opel Astra 1.0 litre turbo has just three cylinders and emits fewer than 100grams of CO2 per kilometre but still packs enough fizz with105bhp to make for a pleasant drive.

Ford's EcoBoost engines are celebrated with numerous awards, and in one shape or form appears in everything from the Fiesta to the latest model Mustang.

Hybrid vehicles and four-wheel drive models are no longer bit-part players.

BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen and many more have an extensive range of conventional engine and battery power combinations - hybrids and plug-in hybrids - as well as models with AWD capabilities.

Volvo's XC90 T8 comes with a sizeable battery bank that could power a small village.

Watch out for more of these PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles. They are due to make a big impact on the semi-electric vehicle market over the coming years, further emphasising that there has never been such a choice of car on the market.

Irish Independent

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