Market Watch – new and used deals
Here’s a tip for you: the Fiat Panda. Despite Fiat’s claims to the contrary, there is no way in the world the 500’s arrival is not going to impact on Panda sales. Don’t care about having the latest looks but do want a cheap and cheerful compact car? The Panda is well worth a look. Haggle with dealers for a new one, or check the car supermarkets (Drive the Deal, for example), and watch as used values dip.
Speaking of the Fiat 500, we don’t suppose it’s a coincidence that Motorpoint is currently running a big MINI promotion, either, with delivery mileage Coopers with ‘Pepper Pack’ in stock from £12,999.
That’s a £1,046 saving compared to the basic £14,045 list price, but the cars have a range of desirable options as well. There’s a choice of colours, and deals on the Cooper S also.
Finally, for the chance to win a Mitsubishi Colt CZC coupé-cabriolet all you need to do is go for a test-drive. One is being given away every weekend until the end of March. See Mitsubishi’s website for details.
Fiat 500 finally on sale
Fiat’s new 500 city car finally goes on sale in the UK at 8pm on 21 January. That’s exactly 500 hours into the new year, in case you were wondering.
As we’ve mentioned before, the pricing for what is essentially a MINI rival is keen. Fiat claims to have positioned the 500 as a city car rather than a supermini, but beats the MINI for interior space, and with the most expensive version costing £10,700 (plus options) it’s excellent value.
There are three engines – 1.2 and 1.4 petrol, plus a 1.3 diesel that costs no more than the 1.4 petrol.
There are three trims: entry-level Pop, then identically priced Sport and Lounge. Figuring out resale values could be tricky, however, as there are apparently 549,936 possible option combinations.
It looks great, it’s safe (five EuroNCAP adult occupant stars – a ‘city car’ first), has low CO2 output and it even handles well. Fiat’s appalling dealer network could be the only fly in the ointment, but the new UK Managing Director, Andrew Humberstone, promises improvements in this area.
The Fiat 500 starts at just £7,900. Prepare to join a lengthy queue.
BMW ups value with special editions
It’s special edition time at BMW, with up to £3,000 in added value. 116i and 118i Edition ES models cost £250 over the standard ES hatch, but add £1,340 in equipment, including 17-inch alloys, sports seats and multi-function leather steering wheel. Prices start at £16,370 for the three-door 116i.
All four-cylinder versions of the 3 Series saloon and estate are also available as Edition models. The Edition ES and Edition SE both cost an extra £750, but add approximately £3,000 in extra value, including leather trim, 17-inch alloys and a choice of three special paint finishes.
The Edition M-Sport is a £1,000 upgrade, but with Business Navigation system, 18-inch alloys, and a new BMW assistance and telematics package, that’s a saving of up to £2,100. These Edition 3 Series are priced from £21,785 for the 318i saloon.
Also available is a 520d Business Navigation offer, which is a £350 satnav upgrade, saving £1,310. There are also Edition Exclusive and Edition Sport versions of the Z4 Roadster 2.0i – saving £1,835 and £1,725, respectively. Production for all starts in March, but you can place an order at your BMW dealership now.
Lexus GS gets new V8 for 2008
Lexus has a new range-topping V8 for its GS range. The GS 460 uses a 4.6-litre engine producing 342bhp, 339lb ft of torque, and it features the same eight-speed automatic gearbox as Lexus’ flagship LS model.
Zero-62mph takes 5.8 seconds, top speed is limited to 155mph, which all things considered makes 25.7mpg and 258g/km CO2 almost impressive. Equipment levels are, as you’d expect, very comprehensive.
Meanwhile, the rest of the GS range also benefits from refreshed ride, handling, and styling, while interior upgrades include an auxiliary input for MP3 players. The GS 460 costs £50,500, while the rest of the range starts at £33,100 for the GS 300. On sale now.
North American Motorshow highlights
The Detroit motorshow is underway, and it’s not just showing ‘pie-in-the-sky’ concepts. Here are three of the real world stars that will soon be coming to the UK.
Audi is introducing an S version of its second generation TT Coupe and Roadster. Upgrades include standard-fit magnetic ride and comprehensive changes to the 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine resulting in a staggering 268bhp, 71bhp more than the regular unit.
Zero-62mph takes 5.2 seconds (even quicker with the optional twin-clutch semi-auto), top speed is limited to 155mph, and four-wheel drive is standard. 18-inch alloys (19-inch wheels are optional), four tailpipes and a bespoke interior also help it to stand out. Prices will be revealed later this year.
Not so ‘real world’, but certainly impressive, Audi also unveiled a V12 TDI version of its fabulous R8. A concept for the world’s first diesel supercar, the engine produces 493bhp. This, combined with the 737lb ft torque output, should ensure performance to match the looks.
Volkswagen Passat CC
Confusingly the Passat CC isn’t a coupe-convertible. Instead it’s just a coupe – except that, like the Mercedes CLS, it’s got four passenger doors.
It looks svelte, is stacked with technology (including VW’s new seven-speed DSG gearbox as an option), promises sharper dynamics, and will be offered with a choice of three petrol and two diesel engines. No prices yet, but it arrives here late summer.
Not an all-new car, but an extensive upgrade with changes to the styling, interior and – apparently – the packaging.
New lights are the biggest clue – especially the round LEDs at the rear – but with a stiffer bodyshell, improved acceleration and suspension tweaks, the RX-8 should drive even better.
A new ‘R3’ performance version is also coming when the car launches later in the year.