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RENAULT ZOE E-TECH 100% electric
drive away from week on the road
0% APR with 3 years servicing and home charger book your 24hr test drive Ireland’s no. 1 electric vehicle manufacturer model shown Zoe GT LINE R135 383km OTR Price €33,944. finance example Zoe Play R110 Z.E.50. RRP €29,244 (includes metallic paint, 3 years servicing and dealer related charges) deposit €3,151. term 36 monthly payments of €386. APR 0%. optional final payment €11,709. Payments drawn monthly. offer is made under a hire purchase agreement. subject to lending criteria. terms and conditions apply. see Renault.ie [warning: you will not own these goods until the final payment is made]. Renault Bank is a trading name of RCI Banque Branch Ireland and is authorised and regulated by the French banking authority and supervised by the Central Bank for conduct of business purposes. rrp incorporates maximum available SEAI grant of €5,000 for private customers. no. 1 electric vehicle manufacturer is based on car and lcv registrations jan-dec 2020. free home charger is up to a maximum value of €1,000 including vat and the customer must qualify for the €600 SEAI grant towards the charger.
elcome to our latest issue of Motors Ireland and as you can see we have gone with a mid year cover refresh. We are delighted to have Kevin J Ryan on our cover and he’s got some great projects he is working on currently. LA based Irish Actor Kevin J Ryan has a wide and varied repertoire under his acting belt. His career is divided between directing, writing, producing and acting. He kindly gave us some of his time and flick forward should you like to read that interview. We have always been a fan of the M cars that BMW produce and the M3 and M4 Competition are no different. The new M3 and M4 in the new ‘G80’ and ‘G82’ shape is new from the ground up, based on BMW’s modular Cluster Architecture rear-drive platform, and sporting a new engine. These latest generations of its high-performance models fuse track-focused performance with everyday usability. On the outside the distinctive, aerodynamically optimised exteriors of both new models perfectly convey their motorsport-inspired character. But the fun was really in the driving. You can read the full review inside. We also have the Audi RS 7 on our new style cover and it is an awesome machine. Despite having an exterior design that looks ‘track-ready’ and an engine to support that view, the RS 7 is also very luxurious and dare I say it, practical. Under its bonnet lies a clever 4-litre V8 twin-turbo engine that’s ultimately been built for speed and yet has a highly efficient side to it too. 441kW and 800Nm may be the output numbers but it’s the 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds and 250km/h (limited) that are the figures to really put a smile on your face. To add to that smile is the fact that you don’t have to stop every 5-minutes to fill up, thanks to its 48v mild-hybrid and cylinder on demand (COD) smartness.
of the new Sorento, but the rear end is where the biggest change lies. The taillights are split into two ‘bars’ of LEDs. The Kia Sorento is the first vehicle to be based on Kia’s new-generation midsize SUV platform. Paired with a larger body to maximise cargo and luggage space, the platform ensures the Sorento is one of the most versatile and spacious three-row SUVs on the market. If you are looking for a seven seat SUV then it’s well worth a look.
I have liked the mew shape Kia Sorento since I first saw it and this 4th generation of the Kia Sorento is without doubt the best version so far. The brand’s signature grille dominates the nose
We also review two fully electric cars so if your in the market for one then you will love our reviews of the Honda e and Mazda MX-30. Enjoy the read!
Email: email@example.com Motors Ireland Magazine 2021 ISSN: 2009-9746
Latest news from motoring sector in Ireland.
BMW M3/M4 Competition M Power.
GIMME 5 Five interesting motoring facts we learnt for this issue. NEW GEAR Check out the latest trending gadgets.
HONDA E One of the best looking small electric cars on sale in showrooms right now.
AUDI RS7 SPORTBACK Ultimate Luxurious Rocketship.
RENAULT MEGANE SPORT TOURER E-TECH An eye-catching alternative to more mainstream small estates and SUVs.
KIA SORENTO PHEV The Kia Sorento is the Korean manufacturer’s largest SUV.
KEVIN J RYAN INTERVIEW LA based Irish Actor and brand ambassador for Opel Ireland Kevin J Ryan talks to us.
PORSCHE BOXTER 25 years on it remains one of the company’s biggest success stories.
MAZDA MX-30 The Mazda MX-30 is Mazda’s first allelectric production vehicle and part of their electrification strategy.
NEWS BMW 4 GRAN COUPÉ
he all-new BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé features enhanced driving dynamics, a sharper design which is aligned to the BMW brand’s new design language and a refined, premium, interior. The model will be offered in a range of engine variants and trims in the UK from start of production including 420d M Sport, 420d xDrive M Sport, 430d xDrive M Sport, 420i M Sport and 430i M Sport, with M Sport Pro Editions offered in addition on each engine variant. M440d xDrive and M440i xDrive will also be available. Standard Irish specification includes 18” M double-spoke Bi-colour Alloy wheels, M Sport suspension, M sport spoiler in body colour, M sport exterior styling, high-gloss Shadowline Exterior trim, Vernsasca leather upholstery, Aluminium Tetragon interior trim, ambient lighting, anthracite headlining, BMW online services, Live Cockpit Professional and ConnectedPackage Pro. In addition, M Sport Pro Edition models include 19” M Double-spoke Jet Alloy Wheels, BMW individual lights shadow line, M Sport seat belts, sun protection glass, M Sport spoiler, M adaptive suspension, M Sport brakes with blue calipers, M Sport differential, Black mirror caps, Individual metallic paint and individual piano black interior trim.
ALL-NEW DACIA SANDERO AND STEPWAY
he All-New Dacia Sandero and All-New Sandero Stepway embody Dacia’s DNA. The Sandero has been the bestselling car in the retail market in Europe since 2017, with almost 2.1 million cars sold since 2004. The more adventurous Stepway is Ireland’s favourite version of the Sandero representing over 60 per cent of all Sandero sales in Ireland. Dacia has revamped the popular Sandero and Sandero Stepway range, with this new second generation model for Ireland continuing to meet the needs of customers at an affordable price. While the same external dimensions remain, they are more modern, more practical, robust and simple. The updated Sandero models offer enhanced levels of quality, sophistication and technology. With a new platform, there are more features including increased active and passive safety systems, new engines including a Bi-Fuel petrol engine which can also run on LPG, a new auto-
matic transmission and new six-speed manual. Our engineers have developed these vehicles from the ground up to provide tangible benefits to our customers without increasing the price. All of the new features are wrapped up in a sophisticated, contemporary exterior design with refined details such as LED lights with distinctive signatures and clever new wheel designs. Furthermore, a completely revamped interior with enhanced materials offers a more premium feel and greater refinement.
ALL-NEW NISSAN QASHQAI
he all-new Nissan Qashqai mild hybrid arrives in dealerships across the country in the coming weeks as Nissan gears up to meet demand from customers who want to buy a 212 registered car and to be amongst the first to get behind the wheel of the new mo-
del crossover. Customers can avail of some really great value deals across the Nissan range and the entry grade price of €30,500 or €318 per month for the new Qashqai is certain to attract 212 buyers who want to make the switch to hybrid and electric driving in Ireland’s most popular crossover.
has increased by 74 litres. It is easier to step into and out of the car and parents will appreciate that the rear doors now open to 85 degrees, allowing easier access to babies and toddlers in child-seats. Nissan is launching the car with four grades and many of its innovative safety and infotainment features are standard across the range. The entry grade XE model is available from €30,500. The SV grade is priced from €33,200, the SV Premium Grade from €37,395 and the top of the range SVE Xtronic grade from €44,600.
The 12V hybrid system on the new Qashqai provides torque assist, extended idle stop, quick restart and coasting stop, storing energy to power the vehicle’s electrical equipment and to lower fuel consumption. The 1.3 DiG-T petrol engine is available with two outputs – 138hp and 156hp – with either a 6 speed manual transmission, or new Xtronic gearbox (156hp). The popular family crossover is now more spacious and overall luggage capacity
SIX OF THE WORLD’S TEN MOST SUCCESSFUL EV MANUFACTURERS RELY ON CONTINENTAL TYRES
ontinental is expanding its market share in the tyre segment for fully electric vehicles. In 2020, six of the world’s ten highest-volume manufacturers of electric vehicles relied on the high technological expertise of the premium tyre manufacturer for their original equipment. These included Tesla with its Model 3 and Model S and Volkswagen with the ID.3. Also Asian manufacturers, for example BYD, one of China’s largest car producers, rely on Continental tyres as original equipment for their electric vehicles. This underpins the product strategy and quality of the company’s products in the electromobility segment. According to investigations by Continental, tyres account for up to 20 percent of the total resistance faced by a vehicle. Consequently, customers can gain additional range thanks to tyres with optimised rolling resistance. Low rolling resistance tyres are therefore in particular demand for electric cars that focus on efficient driving. In this case, many manufacturers rely on the EcoContact 6, in which Continental uses the Green Chili 2.0 rubber compound. The special compound of natural rubber and other components shows significantly improved behaviour during mechanical deformation. This results in lower rolling resistance and therefore lower energy consumption.
CUPRA IRELAND TO EXPAND WITH NEW RETAILERS
UPRA Ireland has today announced the launch of four new retailers in the key strategic locations of Cork, Dublin, Galway and Waterford, taking the number of retailers across Ireland to eight. Since its launch in 2018, the CUPRA brand has gone from strength to strength, developing a range of premium and technologically advanced vehicles based on contemporary design and sporty performance.
The growing CUPRA range includes the CUPRA Leon, Leon Sportstourer, Ateca and Formentor models, offering customers a wide range of choice for those who are seeking a premium and unique alternative to a new car. The CUPRA Formentor, CUPRA Leon and Leon Sportstourer are now also available as e-HYBRID models, providing the best of both worlds for customers in terms of performance and emissions. Niall Phillips, Brand Director for CUPRA and SEAT Ireland said “It’s a very exciting time for CUPRA Ireland as we add to our network of CUPRA retailers. Since the brand’s launch in 2018, it has seen significant growth, which was marked with the launch of CUPRA’s first standalone vehicle – the CUPRA Formentor in January and the arrival later this year of the brand’s first 100% electric vehicle, the CUPRA Born. With plans to increase our retail network further in Ireland by 2022, we look forward to adding more CUPRA retailers to our network as the brand continues its expansion across Ireland.”
BMW M3/M4 COMPETITION
M POWER New M3 and M4 Competition
Words: Anthony Kelly
Pics: Paddy McGrath
s you flick the carbon-fibre paddle to select another gear on the M3 or M4 it becomes clear very fast these cars are amazingly intense and quite addictive. Few names match the gravitational pull BMW’s M cars exert on enthusiasts. The M3 has been a realistic dream car of many drivers since its 1986 debut, BMW’s sports saloon promises killer performance wrapped in a relatively sensible luxury car package. The new M3 and M4 in the new ‘G80’ and ‘G82’ shape is new from the ground up, based on BMW’s modular Cluster Architecture rear-drive platform, and sporting a new engine. These latest generations of its high-performance models fuse track-focused performance with everyday usability. On the outside the distinctive, aerodynamically optimised exteriors of both new models perfectly convey their motorsport-inspired character. The BMW M3 Competition Saloon and new BMW M4 Competition Coupé add 122mm to the length of their predecessors and are 26mm and 17mm wider respectively. Both models have a deep, frameless and all-black BMW kidney grille. The hallmark M double bars – now horizontally arranged – bear a model badge; either side of the grille are additional cooling intakes with honeycomb mesh covers. The most striking design feature alongside the prominently flared wheel arches are the extended side sills. Together with the attachment parts for the front and rear aprons, they form a High-gloss Black band around the whole of the car. The traditional M gills are integrated neatly into the front side panels and the M-specific High-gloss Black exterior mirrors have aerodynamically optimised contouring. The roof of both models is made from high-tech carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Two fins running longitudinally over the CFRP roof optimise airflow, as does the rear spoiler, which is painted in High-gloss Black and has a central notch. The rear diffuser, finished in black and with eye-catching fins, frames the exhaust system’s pairs of tailpipes (each measuring 100mm in diameter). Darkened, full-LED rear light clusters with L-shaped taillights complete the rear end. Our M4 Competition was in the very noticeable São Paulo Yellow, while our M3 Competition came in Isle of Man green. The cars we drove were the new Competition variant. The Competition-spec is the only version that will be available in Ireland.
BMW M3/M4 COMPETITION
“Both models have a deep, frameless and all-black BMW kidney grille.”
The M3 and M4 Competition are the top versions of the new pair – well, until the more or less inevitable arrival of CS versions later in the life of the G80/G82 chassis. The new ‘S58’ three-litre twin-turbo straight six petrol engine is producing 375kW of power and 650Nm of torque. There has been a switch in auto gearbox philosophy with the new M3 and M4, with the adoption of a ZF eight-speed torque converter automatic replacing the quick-shifting M dual-clutch gearbox of the previous generation that demonstrated relatively poor functionality at low speed. Both models use a specially tuned eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. The M Steptronic transmission enables both fully automatic gear changes and manual shifts with sequential gear selection. Fitted 10
as standard along with the newly designed selector lever are carbon gearshift paddles on the steering wheel. With a simple tap of a paddle the driver can switch from automatic to manual mode. The transmission’s shift characteristics are adjusted using the Drivelogic button integrated into the selector lever. The driver can access three clearly distinct setups – comfort oriented, sports focused or track optimised. Fast is the only word: 0-100km/h comes up in an official 3.9 seconds for the M3 and M4 Competition, though it feels a little quicker again. But it’s really a story of the S58’s girthy torque band that sees the M3 and M4 equipped with more flexibility than ever before. Even if you’ve selected a gear or two too
high, these cars are seriously forgiving and just pull with ease. And if you leave the auto-box to its own devices, it’s intuitive and keeps you in the right gear for the situation regardless. The new M3 and M4 also sound engaging with a classic straight-six soundtrack in the cabin, although how much of this is synthesised I’m unsure. Helping produce some of this distinct sounds is a bespoke version of M TwinPower Turbo technology including two mono-scroll turbochargers that supply compressed air to cylinders 1–3 and 4–6 respectively. An indirect intercooler optimises the power output of the charger and its electronically controlled wastegate supports the turbochargers’ instantaneous responsiveness and heightens the effectiveness of the catalytic converters. Other elements of M TwinPower Turbo technology include VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing. Both models meet the Euro 6d exhaust emissions standard. A dual-branch exhaust sy-
stem reduces back pressure, but also produces a fantastic soundtrack. It leads into a high-capacity rear silencer with a quartet of tailpipes finished in Black Chrome. Electrically controlled, fully adjustable flaps suppress intrusive frequency ranges, increasing comfort levels while the sound is also influenced by the engine mode selected - the driver can choose either SPORT or SPORT+ mode using the relevant button on the centre console. It is also possible to alter the engine’s aural impact using the M Sound Control button on the centre console. Happily, plenty of attention has been paid to the steering of the new M3 and M4. Just like the underlying G20 and G22 3 Series and 4 Series, the new M3 and M4 benefit from an extra decade or so of electric power steering know-how. The ratio is still quick but the steering feeds in linearly and there is more precision helping to rapidly build driver confidence. To be sure, the steering is assisted by high grip levels from the tyres, which on the Competition variant, are now very wide. There is a staggered
“The Competition-spec is the only version that will be available in Ireland.”
BMW M3/M4 COMPETITION
arrangement, with 285/30 R20 at the rear, and 275/35 R19 at the front. That said, the car does take a moment longer to settle once turned in, largely due to there being quite a weight increase here: about 170kg for the M3 Competition compared to the last generation. The car remains well centred, with body motion controlled well by the steel springs and adaptive dampers. BMW are on a roll with building interiors that are better laid-out than the competition – and build quality is also in a good place at the moment. Just like the underlying 3 and 4 Series models, the M3 and M4 cabin is handsome but functional. The amount of technology in here is right and it doesn’t overwhelm. There is still plenty of it: you get a bright 12.3inch digital instrument cluster and a sharp, bright 10.25inch touchscreen in the centre – but BMW have intelligently retained the physical, rotary iDrive controller that makes interacting with the software much easier and safer in the real world. The screens run BMW’s seventh generation iDrive operating system, and it generally works well, with clear, big targets and an intuitive interface. The voice control is almost flawless, and the inclusion of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto gets a tick. 12
Toys like the interactive Drift Mode are also fun, with the screen able to present data on the quality, distance and duration of slides. Most importantly, functions like volume and climate control still retain clear buttons. Other manufacturers feel this stuff is old fashioned – we think BMW are in the right. Four interior colour schemes are available for the M3 and M4, with the only difference really being the door length – as a two-door car, the M4 is less flexible but still offers space for two in the rear. The M3 is a four door, five seater car. The Competition scores Merino leather available in black, and a variety of two-tone schemes: grey and black, orange-tan and black or blue and black with yellow highlights. The latter is the ‘hero’ scheme for the M4, and it will certainly appeal to some. Even the basic seats offer excellent levels of support and comfort, though, with BMW’s traditional adjustable bolsters included as standard. The range of adjustment is excellent and the seat drops properly low. The back seats offer more room than in the previous generation – this is a longer car with better packaging. Conclusion Rapid, well-equipped and engaging to drive, BMW’s M3 and M4 Competition offer a delicious blend of luxury and performance.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION Model BMW M3/M4 Competition 3.0-litre twin turbocharged six-cylinder straight six petrol
€2,400 per year
M3 From €122,900 M4 From €125,000
FIVE INTERESTING MOTORING FACTS WE LEARNT FOR THIS ISSUE
Lotus, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Porsche & Renault 14
he British marque has unveiled its final combustion sports car, the Emira. Set to go on sale early next year, the modern-day speed machine is a replacement for both the Elise and Exige and will be its only non-EV from 2022 and beyond.
The mid-engine Emira is Lotus’s first all-new sports car since the Evora made its debut in 2009. As impressive as the Emira may look, it’s also got plenty to be proud of underneath its hood. The new model is the first built using the brand’s new Sports Car Architecture, which features the same bonded extruded aluminium chassis technology that debuted on the Elise, according to a press release. The car, which weighs in a relatively lightweight 3,097 pounds, will come equipped with either an AMG-sourced four-cylinder or a Toyota-sourced supercharged V-6 engine.
Whichever engine you choose, you’ll be able to mate it to an automatic, dual-clutch or manual transmission. The former will produce 360 horses, while the latter can generate 400 hp and 317 ft lbs of twist. Neither of those can compete with the Evija’s quad-motor powertrain—which produces 2,000 hp and 1,250 ft lbs of torque—but they both provide plenty of power. The automaker says the quickest Emira, which is almost certainly the V-6, will zoom from zero to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and will have a top speed of 290 km/h. The Emira will be built at Lotus’s new renovated manufacturing facility located in Hethel in Norfolk, England. The marque has yet to announce pricing for the sports car, though it said the model will likely start below £60,000 (about 69,000 euros) when it goes on sale early next year.
FLYING SPUR HYBRID
entley Motors is today announcing details of the company’s latest luxury model on its journey to electrification. The introduction of the new Flying Spur Hybrid builds on the success of the third generation Flying Spur, using a highly innovative third powertrain delivering the most environmentally friendly Bentley to date. The introduction of the Flying Spur Hybrid establishes a family of Bentley hybrids for the first time, emphasising Bentley’s commitment to its Beyond100 strategy to become an end-to-end carbon neutral organisation and the world’s leading sustainable luxury mobility company. The latest addition to Bentley’s new hybrid range demonstrates that hybridisation does not compromise luxury or performance. With an unperceivable blend between the internal combustion engine and electric motor, refined serenity is on offer regardless of driving mode or style. The new powertrain combines a 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine with an advanced
electric motor, delivering a total of 536 bhp (544 PS) and 750 Nm (553 lb.ft) of torque - an additional 95 bhp in comparison to the Bentayga Hybrid. The new Flying Spur becomes the most efficient Bentley ever having the capability to cover over 700 km when fully fuelled. The new Flying Spur incorporates a class-leading portfolio of intelligent and intuitive equipment tailored to the driver and passengers. For the Flying Spur Hybrid, connected car services will now also include My Battery Charge, My Car Statistics, and My Cabin Comfort. To provide further feedback to the driver, the driver instruments include additional information showing when the car is operating solely in EV drive, regenerating whilst deaccelerating or using the combustion engine. Inside the cabin, the automatic Start-Stop switch has been replaced with a control for the three E Modes – EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode, enabling the driver to manage the battery usage during a journey. EV Drive mode is engaged as soon as the car is switched on, and maximises the electric driving experience. This is ideal for city driving and for shorter journeys.
ROLLS-ROYCE BOAT TAIL
olls-Royce has doubled down on its land yacht aesthetics to produce this, the new Rolls-Royce Boat Tail. In many ways, it’s the continuation of two trends that have always been key to the high-end Goodwood brand: maritime style and one-off customisation. The front of the reimagined Boat Tail is fairly par for the course, and features Rolls-Royce’s huge pantheon grille, but there are several nods to the sea; a wraparound windscreen adds some nautical vibes, while the sides of the car feature lines which echo running
boards. As you’d expect from the name, most of the ‘one-off ’ in this Rolls-Royce can be seen at the rear. Just like the 1932 Boat Tail which this car loosely borrows from, the new car resolves into a sleek, tapered form – once again echoing the shapes you’d see parked at a marina. Open it up, and it’s more functional than you’d expect. In addition to space for the car’s convertible roof, there’s room for important luggage such as champagne, coolers and crystal, and there are also fold-out tables to consume it all on. A parasol is also available if the weather is a little too extreme.
PORSCHE 911 GT3 TOURING HITS THE ROAD
s expected when the car was first announced, Porsche’s new 911 GT3 now has a Touring version. Well, a Touring Package to be precise. ‘The Touring is something the customer demands, and we’re happy to play along – we believe in that product very much ourselves,’ said Porsche GT boss Andreas Preuninger when the 911 GT3 was first revealed early in 2021 – there was so much demand for the 991.2 generation that Porsche has decided to craft one again. Essentially all the Touring is, is a de-winged GT3; a rear grille with a plaque replaces the enormous wing. Performance specs are the same for the engine, acceleration and top speed, and you can specify both the six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK. But Porsche says there are other subtle differences, too. The nostrilled bonnet, for example, is now all one colour and there are side stripe decals. The interior is just as discreet, too, with black detailing and a dark brushed aluminium trimmings. The steering wheel rim, gear/selector lever, cover of the centre console, armrests in the door panels and the door handles are covered in black leather. The partial leather interior features black stitching. The seat centre panels are covered
with black fabric, and the roofliner is also black. The head restraints bear embossed Porsche Crests. The door entry guards and trim elements on the dashboard and centre console are made of brushed black aluminium. Porsche also offers almost all the optional equipment for the 911 GT3 in combination with the Touring package. This includes all exterior and wheel colours, LED headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System and Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus, various assist systems, PCCB ceramic braking system, the lift system on the front axle, all seat variants, the Chrono package and the audio systems. Despite a wider body, larger wheels and additional technical features, the weight of the new GT3 is on a par with its predecessor. It weighs 1,418 kg with the manual transmission and 1,435 kg with the Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK). The carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) bonnet, lightweight glass windows and forged alloy wheels exemplify the focus on weight-saving, as does the lightweight sports exhaust system. Its racing genes are expressed in practically all the details of the new 911 GT3.
RENAULT 5 EV CONFIRMED FOR PRODUCTION
enault has confirmed that a production version of its retro-futuristic 5 EV is coming, set to be built in Northern France. The brand says that the new 5 EV will be one of 10 battery-electric cars to go on sale by 2025. The new 5 EV will use a battery-electric version of its CMF-B platform (used on the Renault Clio and Captur, along with the Nissan Juke) named CMF-BEV, with Renault promising around 395 kilometres of range from the platform. It’s a smaller version of the CMF-EV platform used by the new Nissan Ariya, upcoming Renault MeganE (coming in 2022) and Alpine’s new all-electric range of cars. This announcement came as part of an
online ‘ElectroPop’ event Renault held, where it described how it aims to make 90 per cent of its European sales fully electric. Former PSA design grandee Gilles Vidal has jumped ship to Renault and his design team took a chunk of inspiration from the classic Renault 5 hatch, but haven’t simply replicated it. As Honda did with the E, and Fiat with the 500e, the new 5 concept has also been modernised and electrified. ‘The design of the Renault 5 Prototype is based on the R5, a cult model of our heritage,’ said Vidal, Renault’s new design director. ‘This prototype simply embodies modernity, a vehicle relevant to its time: urban, electric, attractive.’ Like the original, the new protoype is an angular city car – and features selective yellow headlights for a very French retro flourish – but this time round it’s an EV.
AN ASTON MARTIN IN SUV FORM
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DELL ULTRASHARP 4K WEBCAM The Dell UltraSharp Webcam is equipped with a Sony STARVIS 8.4-megapixel CMOS sensor that allows to shoot video footage in 4K at up to 30 fps and 1080p at up to 60 fps, as well as a multi-element lens that can capture more light than webcams of old to ensure crystal clear pictures. It offers three field of view (FOV) options, namely 65 degrees, 78 degrees, and 90 degrees, allowing you to do close crop shots and wider angle shots alike, along with autofocus, so you need not fiddle with the lens at the start of every call. It’s not the sleekest-looking webcam around. Appearances aside, though, it does offer some attractive features, all while boasting what Dell claims to be “the world’s best image quality in its class.” www.dell.com from €209
DRINKTANKS TRAVEL KEG
One of the early players in the growler/mini-keg space, DrinkTanks remains a solid option in the category with their 1.9 litre growler and keg cap combo (as well as two 0.5 litres CO2 cartridges). Granted, it only keeps beer fresh and carbonated for a week at most, which is a tad shorter than most newer mini-kegs in the market, although the growler offers enough insulation to keep beer reasonably chilled for up to two days. The set, by the way, includes a standard cap for the growler for those times you run out of CO2 cartridges and just want to pour a beer out like normal. Both the growler and the keg cap can be purchased separately, by the way, along with bigger growler sizes, so you can use the same cap to turn any of the outfit’s growlers into a functional pressurised keg. According to the outfit, a single 16g CO2 cartridge should be enough to keep at least three batches of beer pressurised inside the growler. www.drinktanks.com from €100
Sony is now making drones. The Sony Airpeak S1 is a filmmaking drone measuring 20.75 x 23.38 x 20.25 inches with the propellers folded and the landing gear deployed, so it’s quite big if you’re used to conventional consumer drones. Everything was supposedly developed in-house, so everything is proprietary, from the propulsion and sensing tech to the flight control system, which means the outfit is pouring serious R&D into the category. This proprietary tech includes five sets of stereo cameras feeding input to the vision sensing processor, which uses advanced algorithms to estimate the aircraft’s spatial position and orientation at all times. Along with input from infrared ranging sensors, IMUs, and other onboard sensors, the drone is able to ensure stable flight even in areas where it’s unable to receive GNSS information. The Sony Airpeak S1 can hit max speeds of 95 km/h. The drone comes with a remote controller for operation, although it also gets a companion app (iOS and iPadOS) that can do the same things. www.electronics.sony.com from €8,500
SONY AIRPEAK S1
NIKON Z FC It looks like one of those film cameras from the 80s. You know, the kind your hipster friend uses to shoot film photographs that you can’t upload in Instagram. Despite the vintage styling, the Nikon Z FC is every bit a modern digital camera, making it quite the beautiful fusion of old and new. The Nikon Z FC doesn’t just dress itself like a late 20th century camera. Instead, it offers generous manual controls, so you really feel like you’re working on one too. The Nikon Z FC can shoot 4K video at 30 fps using the full sensor, as well 1080p HD in frame rates of up to 120 fps, making it viable for slow-motion footage. Full-time eye autofocus is also available for shooting video, with full support for third-party mics, so you can plug in your own external mic for better sound. www.nikon.ie from €1049
SATECHI STAND & HUB Designed to sit flush underneath the Mac Mini, the port hub takes up no additional footprint, making it look like a natural part of the diminutive desktop rather than a third-party accessory. Seriously, it’s a seamless way to add more ports and more storage to the compact computer, allowing you to set up a workspace that’s equal parts tidy and versatile. The Satechi Stand & Hub for Mac Mini has a USB Type-C slot (data transfers up to 5Gbps), three USB-A ports (for both data and power), two card readers (one micro, one SD), and even a 3.5mm slot for plugging in your wired headphones, allowing you to hook up a good load of accessories without having to reach for a matching port in the back. Even better, there’s a slot in the bottom for hooking up an M.2 SATA SSD (it won’t fit other SSD drives), so you can give your Mac Mini additional storage that sits completely out of sight. Do note, the accessory is only compatible with the 2020 M1 Mac Mini and the 2018 Mac Mini, so you might not be able to use it with older versions of Apple’s portable desktop. www.satechi.net from €75 23
FIRST DRIVE IN CHARMING The Honda e one of the best looking small electric cars on sale in showrooms right now
Words: Anthony Kelly
“The new Honda e brings unique features to the compact electric vehicle class.”
he quirky electric Honda e was first revealed as a concept back in 2017 to great reception at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Production cars rarely resemble the concept cars that preview them a few years prior, but Honda has managed to retain the basics of the EV Prototype’s looks, meaning the Honda e looks every inch the functioning concept car, finally bringing futuristic looks to the masses. But they’ve also managed to throw in some retro appeal too. It is a car made for urban driving and built on a dedicated EV platform. The advanced electric drivetrain employs proven Honda electrification technologies, with fast-charge capability to meet the demands of everyday commuting. The new Honda e uses a high capacity 35.5 kWh battery putting out 136 hp, providing a range of 222 km. Fast charging is available through a CCS charging adaptor with the opportunity to add 80% of charge in just 30 minutes. A unique thermal management system optimises battery range in high and low temperatures, allowing the car to maintain optimal range capability and enabling more frequent rapid DC charges. Honda says that the all-new EV-specific platform has been engineered to deliver “fun and effortless electric performance with exceptional driving characteristics in urban environments”. A powerful electric motor, compact proportions, 4.3 m turning radius, 50:50 weight distribution and low centre of gravity are said to all combine to give the car a sporty and dynamic character. The result is a quiet, smooth and rewarding drive with instant acceleration to help navigate busy streets with ease. As well as Single Pedal Control, the Honda e also has two drive modes; Normal, and Sport, which increases responsiveness and heightens the dynamic appeal of the car. The new Honda e brings unique features to the compact electric vehicle class including pop-out door handles and a
Side Camera Mirror System. Inside contemporary materials are used to create a relaxing and modern lounge-like space enhanced by sofa style fabric and other tactile materials. The E’s seats are soft and inviting, and the many screens show a wealth of information—or, if you so choose, a virtual aquarium. There are a few hard plastics, and as with the exterior, no sharp lines. There’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay if you want to skip all of Honda’s in-house efforts on its two customisable 12-inch main screens. Driver info sits in an 8.8-inch screen nestled just ahead of the steering wheel, while the mirror-camera displays are at either end of the dashboard on their own 6-inch panels. Five high-resolution colour screens span the entire width of the car’s interior, with the Side Camera Mirror Systems screens ergonomically placed at either end of the dashboard to ensure a natural feel and vision for the driver. The Honda Parking Pilot debuts in Ireland on the Honda e to assist the driver in locating an appropriate space and then manoeuvring the car into it. In addition to this feature, the Honda SENSING suite has also been enhanced with three new functions – Lead Car Departure Notification System, Collision Mitigation Throttle Control and Low Speed Brake Function. Moving off in the Honda e is easy. Simply turn the car on, press the “D” button, lift your foot off the brake, and the E will begin to creep forward. Gently prodding the throttle will whisk you along smoothly and silently. You can choose to operate the car in the traditional two-pedal manner, using the brake pedal to activate the regenerative charging system, or opt for the mode where lifting off the accelerator gives you “engine braking” via regen. While the former feels normal, the latter is more fun. You can adjust how active the regen is using wheel-mounted paddles. Pottering around town using just one pe-
“Five high-resolution colour screens span the entire width of the car’s interior.” 26
dal is a blast, though it takes a while to get used to. On the speed front, the e isn’t slow at all. With decent reactions at the lights you’ll surprise most of your fellow drivers. Keep your foot pinned and you’ll find yourself going very quickly indeed. It’s fun to point and blast it along. With no gears in the way, the wonderfully linear electric acceleration just moves you forward. It’s not a violent sensation; it gently pushes you back in your seat, giving you a speed hug. A switchable Sport mode gives it a dash more pep, though it’s best used for traffic light drag races and occasional blasts of anger. The normal driving setting is just fine for the rest of the time. Honda e spearheads the Honda brand’s ‘Electric Vision’ strategy for the European region, representing a commitment to a more sustainable model range. It will see all of Honda’s mainstream models in Europe electrified by 2022, three years ahead of the previously announced 2025 goal, demonstrating the confidence Honda has in its electric and hybrid powertrain technology. This accelerated plan will see six electrified models launched over the next 36 months, including the Honda e, all-new hybrid-only Jazz, a stylish SUV and an additional battery electric vehicle. Honda’s new ‘e: Technology’ branding will unify all its electrified products under the same global name. Ahead of its European 2022 electrification goal, Honda will expand the application of its e:HEV dual-motor hybrid system to the entire line-up of Honda vehicles in Europe, starting with the next-generation Jazz, available in Ireland later this year. John Saunders, Sales and Marketing Director of Universal Honda Ltd., said:
“We are very excited at Honda to be welcoming the urban city-car, the all new Honda e, into our model line-up. The all-electric Honda e is part of a wider transition to newer technologies and is the next step on our vision to electrify all our mainstream models sold in Europe by 2022. Later in the year we will be also be welcoming the Honda Jazz Hybrid to sit alongside the already launched CR-V Hybrid. We firmly believe this is the perfect car for urban living, offering fun and effortless electric performance, whilst also producing zero emissions.” Conclusion Honda’s execution is superb; the e drives nicely, it’s comfortable, refined and even fun. It lacks the range I’d like but for most owners should be fine. The tech and style on offer is pretty much unsurpassed on the compact EV market.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION Model Honda e Advance 113kW
Electric motor with 35.5kWh lithium-ion battery
€120 per year
OUR TEST MODEL: €29,995
The Maserati of SUVs
CHARLES HURST MASERATI 62 BOUCHER ROAD, BELFAST BT12 6LR 02895 176167 WWW.CHARLESHURSTGROUP.CO.UK/MASERATI
Fuel economy and CO2 results for the Maserati Levante range in mpg (l/100km) combined: 17.7 (16.0) to 22.6 (12.5). CO2 emissions: 363 - 283 g/km. Figures shown are for comparability purposes; only compare fuel consumption and CO2 figures with other cars tested to the same technical procedures. These figures may not reflect real life driving results, which will depend upon a number of factors including the accessories fitted (post-registration), variations in weather, driving styles and vehicle load.
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AUDI RS7 SPORTBACK
here’s something extra special about the new RS 7 Sportback. From every angle it conveys a message of beauty and brawn. This beast of a car houses one of Audi’s most powerful V8 engines ever so my sense of anticipation was high as I awaited delivery. There’s something about the way this saloon looks, handles and feels that instills intense happiness. Having drove the RS 5 Sportback, the RS 7 felt familiar. Looks-wise it shares the same menacing face, complete with a nod to 80s Quattro, a singleframe grille, huge air-gulping vents and matrix laser headlights. It also boasts 22-inch alloys with just enough rubber, large red RS brakes and extended wheel arches to cover them both. The sloping roofline tapers down to its lengthy Sportback that by the way, possesses a retractable spoiler that shows itself when the speedo needle heads high up north (or via a touch of a button on the MMI system). LED’s make up the tail light cluster and spreads the full width of the rear, while quad sports exhaust tips are encased into two oval surrounds. With a carbon fibre lower framing and that all-important RS badge, it’s more than striking. Under its bonnet lies a clever 4-litre V8 twin-turbo engine that’s ultimately been built for speed and yet has a highly efficient side to it too. 441kW and 800Nm may be the output numbers but it’s the 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds and 250km/h (limited) that are the figures to really put a smile on your face. To add to that smile is the fact that you don’t have to stop every 5-minutes to fill up, thanks to its 48v mild-hybrid and cylinder on demand (COD) smartness. Despite having an exterior design that looks ‘track-ready’ and an engine to support that view, the RS 7 is also very luxurious and dare I say it, practical. The luggage compartment has a base size of 535 litres and can be expanded up to 1,390L when you drop the seats. The rear space is roomy enough for three (if one of them is small) but upfront is where the fun really occurs. All the RS 7’s furniture is leather, however, the driver and passenger sports seats are RS embossed, electric adjustable and heated too. The dashboard trim offers a tactile open pore carbon fibre feel with piano blacks and chrome where expected. Ambient lighting can be adjusted to suit your mood and the MMI system showcases all the bells and whistles that you’d expect from a top Audi. Driver and safety aids are too numerous to mention but basic safety systems fitted include six airbags (front, front-side, two-row curtains), an active bonnet, and driver-attention assist. Active safety functions include adaptive cruise control that can stop the car, active lane-keeping assist with steering
“The RS 7 is a drivers car.” 30
Words: Anthony Kelly
Pics: Paddy McGrath
ULTIMATE LUXURIOUS ROCKETSHIP The RS7 is an agile and involving super Sportback with high levels of performance and luxury
AUDI RS7 SPORTBACK intervention, blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree camera view, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, AEB that works at junctions, and rear cross-traffic assist. Then there’s the all-important drive modes, but in particular RS1 and RS2. In the car set up, you can individualise your driving preferences for RS1 and 2. Basically setting up this RS7 Sportback to perform the way you like it (steering, sound, handling, acceleration etc) and these two modes are then accessed via an RS button on the D-shaped steering wheel. The RS 7 is a drivers car and I did the only rational thing most car enthusiasts would do if they had limited time with such an amazing vehicle, grab the keys to the RS 7 and head out in search of winding roads and open spaces. It’s in those country roads and motorway straights that the Audi RS 7 comes alive.
The RS 7 is a shade over 5m long but in RS mode it feels like a compact vehicle. The Quattro drive system has you sticking to the road and the V8 accelerates without a hint of any lag. Gear changing by the 8-speed tiptronic is seamless, however, should you want to have some loud interaction with the exhaust note, I recommend the use of paddles. Overtaking is a breeze, long straights are an easy way to get points on your license and corners are there to be embraced with open arms and a tight grip on the wheel. The pulse races and the mind clears when you’re behind the wheel of the Audi RS 7. Conclusion Be prepared for a technologically sophisticated supercar capable of transporting four adults and their luggage in comfort. The RS7’s dynamic performance, gorgeous design, and flawless build ticked all of my boxes.
“The sloping roofline tapers down to its lengthy Sportback.”
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION Model Audi RS7 Sportback 4.0-litre turbocharged V8
€2,350 per year
“This beast of a car houses one of Audi’s most powerful V8 engines.”
RENAULT MEGANE SPORT TOURER E-TECH
SPORT TOURER E-TECH
“In pure-electric mode, the Mégane is a very relaxing car to drive.” 34
Words: Anthony Kelly
RENAULT MEGANE SPORT TOURER E-TECH he Megane E-TECH is aimed at buyers unwilling to compromise on space and rock-bottom running costs. Thanks to CO2 emissions of just 30g/km, this is a spacious family or company car that won’t break the bank
The Mégane E-TECH Plug-in Hybrid is equipped with a state-of-the-art hybrid motorisation that works thanks to 3 engines. A 1.6-litre petrol engine specially optimized for hybridization is associated with two electric motors coupled in a series-parallel scheme. This means that the system can use both energies (petrol or electricity) individually or in synergy. Its battery with a capacity of 9.8 kWh (400V) makes it possible to drive in 100 % electric mode up to 135 km/h over 50 kilometers in mixed cycle (WLTP) and up to 65 kilometers in urban cycle (WLTP City). In pure-electric mode, the Mégane is a very relaxing car to drive. With a full battery it’s easy to potter around without waking the engine, while even at higher speeds the cabin remains quiet. When needed, the engine kicks in without much fuss. The driving experience
behind the wheel of the Mégane E-TECH Hybrid is based first and foremost on the priority given to the use of electric traction. Since every start is 100% electric, the driving experience is the same as that of an electric vehicle, with instantaneous response to acceleration. Comfort is improved on board thanks to the silence of the engine. Special work has been done to find the right compromise on the road between dynamic behaviour and comfort. The rear axle has been replaced by a semi-rigid axle with a multi-link system, and suspension settings have been adapted to preserve driving dynamics. The driver benefits from dedicated Multi-Sense settings with 3 driving modes: Pure mode, which allows the driver to switch to 100% electric driving, subject to sufficient reserve; My Sense mode optimizes the hybrid mode for reduced operating costs; and finally, Sport mode allows the driver to take advantage of maximum performance by combining the power of the internal combustion and electric motors. The Megane is smooth over bumps and best suited to urban commutes – maximising that electric range
“Renault offers this version of the Megane in two specification grades.”
exterior design with 17-inch wheels. The interior also gets a lift with model-specific upholstery, featuring red striping through the seats and the gear selector. This version also gets the larger touchscreen - optionally fitted to our test car - which looks more impressive. There’s loads of space in the second row with ample space to stretch out, and the boot’s 447-litre capacity is a good shape and size. The part leather-upholstered seats are phenomenally supportive, too. Conclusion The Megane E-Tech is very much about normalising emissions-reducing powertrains. It’s just a solid feeling, reasonably comfortable small family estate car with unusually low emissions for the performance. This E-Tech plug-in hybrid powertrain – has only kept the Megane where it needs to be relative to its rivals, rather than elevating it to the top of the class.
by leaning on the car’s regenerative braking. It’s not quite capable of one-pedal driving, but the Megane has the ability to slow significantly when you lift off the throttle, feeding energy back into the battery that would otherwise be lost. It handles the sorts of short bursts you might need to make the most of a gap in traffic just fine, but sustained periods of hard acceleration reveal a few shortcomings. There just isn’t that much grunt on offer here, so the Mégane manages to feel slower than its 9.8sec 0-100 km/h time suggests it should. Sure, that won’t be a problem around town, but you’ll notice it if you need to join a motorway or overtake slow-moving traffic. Renault offers this version of the Megane in two specification grades, Iconic and R.S. Line, with a €2,000 price between these two models. It’s the Iconic that we’re reviewing here, and it features a more subtle styling treatment around the front and rear bumpers and rides on 16-inch alloy wheels. Among the standard equipment are a 10-inch TFT instrument display, part-leather upholstery and a seven-inch touchscreen. Spending the extra on the R.S. Line gets you a sportier
Model Renault Megane Sport Tourer E-Tech 1.6-litre
€140 per year
€30,490 (Starting price from €26,190)
KIA SORENTO PHEV
“This will be Kia’s most high-tech car ever.” 38
NEW AND IMPROVED
SORENTO The Kia Sorento is the Korean manufacturer’s largest SUV
Words: Anthony Kelly
Pics: Paddy McGrath
KIA SORENTO PHEV
his is the 4th generation of the Kia Sorento, which was first launched in 2002. Along with the Sportage, it brought the Kia brand to prominence both here in Ireland and throughout Europe. You can’t miss the bold new look of the Sorento. The brand’s signature grille dominates the nose of the new Sorento, but the rear end is where the biggest change lies. The taillights are split into two ‘bars’ of LEDs. The Kia Sorento is the first vehicle to be based on Kia’s new-generation midsize SUV platform. Paired with a larger body to maximise cargo and luggage space, the platform ensures the Sorento is one of the most versatile and spacious three-row SUVs on the market. The width of the vehicle – now
1,910mm wide (up by 10mm). The new Sorento is also longer by 10mm at 4,810mm, though packaging favours interior space more than ever, exemplified by the 35mm stretch in the wheelbase to 2,815mm. Inside the Sorento is unfamiliar to the last-gen car with a centrally-mounted 10.25-inch touchscreen heading up proceedings. There are shortcut buttons flanking the touchscreen, and three USB ports in the front seat. This will be Kia’s most high-tech car ever, thanks to its progressive connectivity, driver assistance and infotainment technologies. Twin digital displays deliver advanced graphics, new telematics features and full wireless smartphone connectivity. Drivers can keep track of the powertrain’s status via the 12.3-inch fully-digital instrument cluster. This enables them to check the battery’s state of charge and monitor the flow of electric and petrol power through the powertrain. Drivers can also easily locate nearby charging points on-the-go via the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, powered by Kia’s innovative UVO Connect ‘connected car’ system. The first models to arrive in Ireland were powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine with 202 hp and front wheel drive. The K3 model at €50,000 comes with 18” alloys, 10.25” navigation screen with telematics, rear view camera,12.3” TFT monitor, leather upholstery with heated front seats, and charge ports on all three rows of seats. Other standard features include Blind Spot Detection,
The 2021 E-Class.
Better is even closer than you think. Petrol? Diesel? Plug-In Hybrid? You decide. mercedes-benz.ie
WLTP Co2 range for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class 300e Saloon: 41.0 – 35.0 g/km. Consumption, weighted combined (for plug-in) 1.8-1.5 l/100km. 41 Please contact your local Mercedes-Benz dealership for information on equipment and model offer. Model and images shown for illustrative purposes only.
44736 Mercedes-Benz E-Class A4 Ad.indd 2
KIA SORENTO PHEV
Front Collision Avoidance, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Follow Assist, Smart Cruise Control, Highway Drive Assist and front and rear parking sensors. The K4 model is priced from €54,500 and adds more comfort and safety features including panoramic sunroof, driver and passenger power seats, 12 speaker Bose sound system, rear heated seats, power opening/ adjustable tailgate, Blind View Monitor, Around View Monitor and Parking Collision Avoidance. The PHEV we tested which arrived in early 2021 is available in the same trim levels but with all wheel drive as standard. The Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid features a powerful 1.6-litre T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine, which on its own produces 180 ps and 265 Nm of torque. Combined with an electric motor producing 67 kW and 304 Nm of torque, the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid delivers a combined 265 ps and 350 Nm of torque, making it the most powerful Sorento ever sold in Europe. The engine and motor are paired with a high-capacity 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, enabling the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid’s substantial all-electric range. For longer journeys, the powertrain combines electric and combustion engine power. Drive is sent to the front wheels or all four wheels, depending on road conditions, via a quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Ronan Flood, Managing Director of Kia Motors Ireland, said: “The Sorento story echoes that of the Kia brand as a whole. In 2002 Sorento was a very utilitarian all-terrain vehicle but this fourth-generation Sorento has been transformed into something altogether more desirable. It is an important model for Kia, particularly now that it also represents, with the arrival of Sorento PHEV, the first use of electrified power in our flagship SUV.” It’s immediately obvious that the new Sorento has been set up with comfort and refinement in mind; the SUV does roll a little through the corners, but then you’d expect it to – it’s a seven-seat SUV. However, the steering has a nice weight and is very accurate, which gives the car a real sense of solidity on the move. The ride is well controlled, the engine is responsive and, I could easily think I was driving a ‘premium’ German brand. That’s not something you could have said of a Kia previously. The Sorento PHEV offers enhanced all-terrain capability thanks to a new Terrain Mode. Controlled using the Mode Select dial on the centre console, drivers can choose from ‘Mud’, ‘Snow’ and ‘Sand’ modes. The system automatically optimises the drivetrain to best suit each scenario, adjusting engine torque output and distribution, as well as stability control characteristics. Terrain Mode also adjusts shift timings for the two available transmissions (eight-speed double-clutch 42
transmission for diesel models, six-speed automatic for hybrid variants) to suit different surfaces. Active safety tech on the Sorento is impressive. The new Kia Sorento SUV has been awarded the highest-possible safety rating by Euro NCAP. The entire Sorento line-up has achieved the maximum five-star rating from Europe’s leading independent safety testing organisation. Every car is fitted with seven standard-fit airbags, including a new front centre airbag, a new innovation that provides additional head protection for front-seat occupants. All Sorento models are equipped as standard with Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management and Electronic Stability Control systems to help drivers maintain control under braking and cornering. Conclusion The latest Sorento is a practical, comfortable and safe family SUV but it’s now packed with top tech. It also looks better than ever and is a difficult package to fault. If you’re looking for a large family SUV then it’s well worth a look.
Model Kia Sorento PHEV K4 1.6-litre
€140 per year
KEVIN J RYAN
“I WANT TO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING!” LA based Irish Actor and brand ambassador for Opel Ireland Kevin J Ryan talks to Motors Ireland Words: Emer Kelly Images: Taz Smith Photography (www.Didwejustclick.com)
A based Irish Actor Kevin J Ryan has a wide and varied repertoire under his acting belt. His career is divided between directing, writing, producing and acting. Having recently completed directing principal photography on ‘Bad Suns,’ an Irish film production using Los Angeles and surrounding areas as his main filming locations. As an Actor, Mr Ryan has starred in BBC America’s Copper, Sons of Liberty, Crossbones, Guilt, Once Upon a Time and closer to home The South Westerlies. Currently back on home turf and filming a new television series, ‘Harry Wild,’ Kevin very graciously gave up some of his time to talk to Motors Ireland about his brand ambassador role with Opel Ireland, his love of cars, his career and the future. “I grew up beside the mountains and all of my friends were interested in cars. When we were young we tried to build our first go kart but that didn’t work. As we got older our interest transpired from mountain bikes to motocross,’’ said Kevin J Ryan. “I was working my ass off working three jobs before I got my licence and I bought my first car even before I had my licence so the day I turned 17 I went for my driving test and I passed it immediately. “It was the era of boy racers/ Fast and the Furious. My first car was a Mitsubishi Lancer which I converted into an Evolution 5 and I had it running at about 380 brake horsepower and the thing was a bullet,’’ added Mr Ryan. In terms of what Kevin’s dream car would be? “I like old Ferrari’s like the F50’s. I actually sat in a bunch of amazing cars in 2019 when I was working on a film in New York and the guy who owned the property that we were shooting on had an incredible collection of cars which included some of the best and rarest in the world. The Bugatti Veyron is incredible, I really like some of the Audis and Mercedes. “Years ago, I would have had more of an interest in the WRC style (rough and ready) whereas now I like my comforts so something with luxury that can go fast and that I can handle well is ideal for me,’’ enthused a laughing Kevin. As to how he has become a recent brand ambassador for Opel? “As a car enthusiast and a massive fan of Opel, I was approached by them and happily accepted the brand ambassador role. I’m driving the Opel Insignia which is really stunning and it is an executive car. The interior is beautiful, it handles really well and it’s diesel. It’s very sleek. The car is a dark, dark navy almost like a black which is really unusual. It’s spacious and comfortable with room for Copper (the dog!),’’ continued Kevin. The aforementioned new show is ‘Harry Wild,’ and the drama is written by the Irish Author Jo Spain and London screenwriter David Logan. The show will run for eight episodes and it is set to hit American television screens in 2022 with an Irish release date yet to be announced. “It’s a crime, mystery, comedic drama. It’s a really different style of show and it’s hilarious. Jane Seymour plays my Mother and she is beyond perfectly cast for the role. She’s a recently retired Professor and out of pure boredom she starts involving herself in some of my cases but it turns out that she is very, very intelligent and she starts helping to solve some of these cases which causes a lot of tension and it creates this really interesting and unique sort of relationship between my character Charlie and Harry Wild. I play the role of Detective Inspector and each episode has a new plot. It’s great to get back to film in Ireland. “Each episode has such intricate parts in them. The writing on this show is incredible. “When I was researching the role, I was lucky that I got to sit down with a Detective Inspector who had experiences of solving murders and discuss what that means for an Actor trying to approach a role in that capacity. Having always wanted to be an Actor and having had a rather successful
KEVIN J RYAN career since it began, does Mr Ryan have any acting highlights or stand out moments? “Each job is like a new chapter in your life so as an Actor you try and be conscious of the material that you choose and the path that you go on. There are certain types of shows and genres that wouldn’t interest me. You are constantly looking for exciting material and challenging characters as you learn something new with every job,’’ imparted Kevin. “Copper was a massive show for me to get on and I wish that show ran for longer. It was definitely a show that was great fun to be a part of.” In terms of choosing a favourite part of his profession in terms of acting, writing, producing and directing? “They are so different and the responsibility and creative input into each is so different. I think acting is the most timely rewarding part of it because you get hired, do the job, get paid and walk away from it with no responsibility for anything else but your job is pretty much done. Writing is a whole different story! It fries your brain, you take one step forwards and 10 steps back. In terms of directing, I’ve only ever directed stuff that I have developed myself. “I’m so visual and I always have been so when I’m writing something, I’m directing it in my head. I’m always open to ideas. Generally the concept is there and the imagination is in my head and I’ve had that since I was a kid. I’ve always had an amazing creative mind visually with what I see,’’
revealed Mr Ryan. As to what the future holds for the tenacious Kevin J Ryan? “I want to make my movie that I wrote which as of now we’re on track to do that and I would aim to do that this year. It is an Irish drama set in 1928 in the Wicklow Mountains and it revolves around a family that works in a granite stone quarry. The husband passes away and the wife is left with this decision whether she stays on the land and learns the trade whilst being able to sustain a life for herself in order to give her son the opportunity of a better life than she had. “There are a couple of other shows and films that I’m looking at. I just want to work! Especially after COVID I want to hit the ground running. I absolutely love what I do and when I’m on a set or in a trailer, I’m home. A movie set is such a special place and it is one of the few places where everyone is there because they love what they do and they want to make something amazing. “For me, auditioning, reading scripts and taking meetings; that’s work. Being on a set is not work, it’s doing what I love,’’ concluded Kevin J Ryan. Emma Toner, Marketing Director at Opel Ireland, a member of the Gowan group said: “The year 2021 is the most important year for the Opel brand in decades, the year will see a rejuvenation of the 160 year-old German brand. A daring new exterior and interior style signature,
“It’s spacious and comfortable with room for Copper!”
no less than seven exciting new models, including the new Insignia, and a rapid electrification of the range will attract a whole new audience to Opel. “Opel’s positioning in the market is changing dramatically; we are the modern German challenger brand. We are exciting, approachable, fun and daring. “Kevin’s return to Ireland was timed perfectly with this momentous renaissance and we are delighted to have appointed him brand ambassador. Indeed, Kevin is the perfect face for our new, executive Insignia. Kevin’s integrity and raw talent clearly demonstrated throughout his career which spans between acting, writing, direction and production has earned him legions of followers in Ireland and afar. “I have no doubt the Opel brand will gain further traction and awareness, thanks to his new brand ambassador role,’’ concluded Ms Toner. *A special word of thanks must go to Adele Walsh, Majken Bech Christensen and Sara Dolan of Cliff at Lyons for their time, assistance and use of the venue on the day of our interview and photoshoot. An extra special word of thanks must also go to Taz Smith of Did we just Click (www.Instagram.com/taz_photos) for capturing seriously epic pictures of Kevin, his fabulous Opel Insignia and Copper who managed to steal a piece of everyone’s heart on the day.
25 YEARS OF THE
The Porsche Boxster concept resulted from a change in strategy – 25 years on it remains one of the company’s biggest success stories.
PORSCHE BOXSTER n 1948, the first Porsche 356 “No. 1” Roadster – the car that defined the beginnings of the Porsche brand – featured the mid-engine, and in the 1950s the same layout was chosen for the 550 and 718 racing cars. Now, Porsche is marking 25 years of the mid-engined Porsche Boxster.
Out of the crisis with a brilliant idea The early 1990s were a very difficult period for Porsche AG economically. Declining sales figures – partly due to the fall in value of the US dollar – and the excessively high production costs of the company’s four technically very independent product lines, the 911, 944, 968 and 928, meant that the sports car manufacturer was in serious trouble. It even became a takeover target for large car manufacturers. But the introduction of the completely newly developed Porsche Boxster in 1996 marked a turning point in the company’s fortunes. The agile, mid-engine roadster not only opened up a new market segment for Porsche, but also attracted a significantly younger customer group, thanks to price positioning below the established 911. But the concept for a two-seater, mid-engine roadster was only part of a new strategy introduced by a new genera-
tion of the management board in 1991. Horst Marchart, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development, was one of those involved in the realignment, alongside Wendelin Wiedeking, at that time still Member of the Executive Board for Production and Materials Management, and Dieter Laxy, Member of the Executive Board for Sales. “We did not believe that the four-seater Type 989 being developed at the time would rescue us from our difficult financial situation as the expected sales figures would be too low for the company and the dealer organisation, and the vehicle would also not allow any common parts with the 911 model series because it was an independent product line,” says Marchart, remembering the presentation to the shareholders. “The idea was to create an additional product line from the vehicle concept and components of a new 911. It was to be a two-seater with a front end close to that of the 911 to guarantee clear identification of the car as a Porsche. In addition, the new car should cost around 70,000 marks and also appeal to younger customers. My concept was accepted.” says Horst Marchart. Marchart’s roadster concept made more use of the com-
The early 1990s were a very difficult period for Porsche AG economically.
mon parts or carry-over parts (COP) principle. As a result, the first 986 generation Boxster shared the front end, doors and numerous other components with the 996 generation 911, which launched in 1997, a year after the Boxster was introduced. The move resulted in significantly lower production and inventory costs for both product lines, and some rigorous cost management. “We had set ourselves the goal of reducing costs throughout the whole company,” continues Marchart. “We wanted to reduce the production costs for new cars by 30 per cent, which was possible among others through a carry-over part concept for the assemblies. In order to realise this, we created development teams that were simultaneously responsible for both vehicles. Fictitious price targets were defined for the components in the Development and Purchasing departments in order to ensure that we would achieve the desired manufacturing costs.” New limited-edition anniversary model: Boxster 25 Years Porsche is celebrating the 25th birthday of its roadster fa-
mily with a special anniversary model: the Boxster 25 Years. The limited edition is restricted to 1,250 units worldwide and is based on the GTS 4.0 model, which is powered by a 4.0-litre six-cylinder boxer engine with 294 kW (400 PS). It makes reference to numerous design features of the Boxster concept car that heralded the success story of the open-top two-seater at the 1993 Detroit Motor Show. The production version was launched in 1996 with hardly any changes in its visual appearance and is now in its fourth generation after production of more than 357.000 units. One of the most striking features of the special model is the reinterpreted colour Neodyme, a copper-like shimmering brown, which provided an exciting contrast to the basic GT Silver Metallic colour on the pioneering 1993 showpiece. In the special edition, it is used on the front apron, the side air intakes with mono bar as well as for the lettering and the two-tone 20-inch alloy wheels. Porsche is offering the Boxster 25 Years in GT Silver Metallic although Deep Black Metallic and Carrara White Metallic are also available. Another striking element can be found on the fuel filler cap, which is enhanced by Porsche script from the Exclusive Design range. This shines in an alu-
minium look as do the high-gloss tailpipes of the sports exhaust system while the windscreen surround is finished in contrasting Black. In keeping with the style of the historic original, the special model combines a Bordeaux leather interior with a red fabric convertible top. The convertible top bears embossed Boxster 25 lettering. Both are also available in Black. An interior package in Aluminium, 14-way electrically adjustable sports seats, door sill trims with “Boxster 25” lettering and the heated GT multifunction sports leather steering wheel are just some of the features on the new model’s extended standard equipment list. The power plant of the anniversary edition offers pure exhilaration: the 4.0-litre flat-six engine of the 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 is also used as a higher-power variant in the purist 718 Spyder. With effortless response, exceptional power delivery and a rich sound, the high-revving 294 kW (400
PS) naturally aspirated engine guarantees an especially emotive driving experience. Porsche is offering the Boxster 25 Years with a manual six-speed transmission and a seven-speed Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK). The special-edition model reaches a top speed of 293 km/h and, in combination with the PDK gearbox and standard Sport Chrono package, sprints from zero to 100 km/h in four seconds. Other standard features include Porsche Active Suspension Management sports suspension (PASM), which is 10 millimetres lower, and Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) with mechanical limited-slip differential. They combine remarkable ride comfort and sporty, dynamic handling. The new Boxster 25 Years is available to order now and will roll into dealerships end of March 2021. Prices in start at 94,986 euros – including VAT and country-specific equipment.
The limited edition is restricted to 1,250 units worldwide. 52
OPEL INSIGNIA GERMAN ENGINEERING. BUILT TO PERFECTION 54
azda has delivered an exciting new interpretation of kodo design proving the beauty of simplicity. Comprising basic lines, minimalist curves and a friendly face make the first Mazda all-electric vehicle very approachable, but unmistakably Mazda. The approach highlights the fancy rear-hinged back doors which are a great feature. In order to keep the MX-30’s frame reasonably short overall, yet trying to make the interior as practical as possible, the smaller and more compact rear doors ensure there are no B-pillars in the cabin. It’s also a nice nod to a historical Mazda model, the RX-8. The Soul Red Crystal paintwork with the black roof and dark arches complete the look and make it a very modern and sleek exterior. The MX-30 introduces a new electric drive technology to Mazda, called e–Skyactiv. The power output of the car is 145 hp and there is about 270 Nm of torque. The MX-30 is powered by a 35.5 kWh battery with a range estimated somewhere in the region of 200 km. Following a study by Mazda and the Kogakuin University which has been published in the Sustainable Science magazine, the company’s research has shown that, over their entire life cycle, EVs with smaller batteries tend to produce lower CO2 emissions than comparable diesel-engined cars. To that end, Mazda believes that the MX-30’s battery capacity of 35.5 kwh provides the optimum balance between a driving range which gives customers peace of mind and lower CO2 emissions. Furthermore, this keeps overall vehicle weight lower for good handling and greater agility, which is currently not the case for many EVs. Mazda has assessed that most European customers only tend to do 50km a day on average and therefore they do not need 300, 400 or 500km of capability in their mainly urban EVs. The MX-30 uses the brand’s new Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture and employs a number of new technologies and innovations to create the most natural feeling EV powertrain. Electric G-Vectoring Control Plus (e-GVC Plus) is an evolution of a system already found in Mazda’s fleet and promises a feeling of more natural feedback by precise torque control and sound that lets the driver know exactly what the car is doing. Mazda has developed its own bespoke motor pedal concept for the Mazda MX-30 for a more natural feel relative to the driver’s intended amount of acceleration and deceleration. They have also developed special sound or ‘aural feedback’ through the audio system corresponding to the driver’s pedal action that helps the driver to more precisely control vehicle speed and adds to the driving pleasure.
“Mazda cabins have become among the class best in recent years.” 56
Words: Anthony Kelly Pics: Paddy McGrath & Mazda Press
MAZDA GOES ELECTRIC
WITH MX-30 The Mazda MX-30 is Mazda’s first allelectric production vehicle and part of their electrification strategy
MAZDA MX-30 Mazda has gained a reputation for producing cars that are good to drive and the MX-30 shares its ‘MX’ moniker with the best of all: the MX-5. As a small SUV, its handling is obviously not as good as the two-seater’s, but it is still a good drive. There’s a nice weight and directness to its steering, while acceleration is ample thanks to the instant torque offered by the electric drivetrain. It also rides nicely. The quality of materials and build used in Mazda cabins have become among the class best in recent years, and the MX30 cabin reflects this. It uses sustainable material throughout, including cork to line centre console trays and for inner side door handles, as well as recycled plastic bottles in the door trims to give a premium feel while highlighting its environmental credentials. Mazda Ireland has confirmed that the MX-30 will start at €30,495 including grants, for the GS-L version. It comes with adaptive cruise control, head-up-display, front and rear parking sensors, LED headlights and a rear camera as standard. Above that are the MX-30 GT at €31,595, and the MX-30 GT Sport, available in Bright (€34,795) and Dark (€35,095) guises. On top of that, Mazda will do two
limited-time First Edition models (Bright and Dark again), which come with a more generous kit list than the base versions - including eight-way powered driver seat with memory setting, adaptive LED signature headlights and a choice of dark or light leatherette and cloth interior - and cost from €31,795. The MX-30 comes with a range of standard safety equipment that includes vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane centering, radar cruise, road-edge sensing and LED headlamps plus no less than are 10 airbags. Conclusion The impressive interior is a highlight but it has to be the way Mazda has made their first go at a mass-production EV feel like a Mazda. The same driving responsiveness that features in everything from a Mazda 3 to a CX-5 is very much present in the MX-30, and the overwhelming air of quality in both its materials and the way it feels put together make the MX-30 a great choice if looking for an urban SUV.
“There’s a nice weight and directness to its steering.”
Model Mazda MX-30
107kW electric motor
€120 per year