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New cars and hot deals, 21 March 2008

Save money on Audi A5 and BMW 3 series; Alfa Mi.To

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Market watch – new and used deals

Audi S5

Looking for money off the Audi A5? Good luck – this large coupe is proving very popular. However, both New Car Discount and Orange Wheels can help.

Which has the better discount varies with model (try Orange Wheels if you’re looking at the entry-level, New Car Discount for more money off the range-topping S5), but we suggest contacting both and negotiating your own deal.

BMW 3 Series

Carcraft looks a good place to shop for a BMW 3 Series. It has 56-plate 320d SEs – so that’s an economical diesel and desirable spec – with less than 10,000 miles at £17,995, for example.

Current list price new is over £30k (but that is with BMW’s eco-focused ‘EfficientDynamics’ and engine upgrades). Still – a decent saving for buying a used BMW.

Buy a new Volvo V50 from a Volvo dealer at the moment and you can get three years’ servicing free. This is transferable between owners – helping keep the V50’s already impressive resale values buoyant.

But if you would prefer a discount try Autobytel, which is offering up to £3,000 off new list prices.

Alfa Romeo Mi.To – supermini set to stun

Alfa Romeo MiTo 1

Alfa Romeo has taken the wraps of its brand new supermini, the Mi.To.

The name might sound curious – signifying Alfa’s links with Milan and Turin, apparently – but there’s nothing peculiar about this car’s looks.

Taking influence from the 8C Competizione supercar, it’s very Italian, very Alfa Romeo, and very sharp.

Amongst its features, the Mi.To will offer owners the chance to customise the front and rear lighting surrounds, creating a kind of ‘eye-liner’ effect, and also promises to deliver a sporty driving experience.

Alfa Romeo MiTo 2

As part of this it will include Alfa’s new ‘DNA’ car control system. This allows the driver to change engine, brakes, suspension, steering, and gearbox settings as defined by three different vehicle behaviour modes – Sport, Normal, and All-Weather.

Engines will be turbocharged petrols and diesels, ranging in power from 90-155bhp, with faster versions to follow later. Stability control will be fitted as standard.

The Mi.To arrives in the UK early 2009.

New engines for Seat Leon and Fiat Bravo

Technology marches on, with improved engines joining the Seat Leon and Fiat Bravo ranges.

Seat Leon 1point4 TSI

The Leon is the latest Volkswagen group car to benefit from the new 1.4 TSI petrol engine. Using a turbocharger, it produces more power (123bhp instead of 101), less CO2 (155g/km instead of 180), and drinks less fuel (44.1mpg instead of 37.2) than the existing naturally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol Leon. The engine is faster and more flexible, too. Available in Reference Sport or Stylance trim, from £13,755.

Fiat Bravo 1point6 multijet

Very similar money will also buy you the new 1.6-litre diesel Fiat Bravo. In Active trim, this starts at £13,595, but spend £300 more for the Eco version, and CO2 drops from 129g/km to just 119g/km.

The new engine is also available in Dynamic specification (with an Eco variant again available). Fuel economy for this new Euro 5-compliant diesel is as great as 62.7mpg.

2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep has made a raft of changes for the 2008 model Grand Cherokee.

2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Concentrating on improving interior quality, there are new, soft-touch plastics for the dashboard, better cup holders, instrument cluster and lower console, plus the steering column now adjusts for reach and rake.

Options include a new leather package, and the MyGIG satnav/stereo system already seen in other Chrysler brand products.

Exterior changes include the front fascia and grill, alloy wheel designs, and headlamps.

A 3.0-litre Mercedes diesel engine provides the power for all but the range-topping SRT-8 (which has a 6.1-litre petrol V8 instead), while a new S-Limited trim package joins the line-up.

Prices range from £26,995 to £42,120, while Hill Descent Control is now included as standard.

Mercedes-Benz B-class overhaul

Mercedes B-Class 2008

Apparently Mercedes classifies its B-class hatchback as a ‘Sports Tourer’ – news to us, but never the less, it’s just been given an overhaul.

Alongside a mild exterior face-lift, and some interior upholstery changes, are some significant engineering upgrades.

Made with a view to improving the car’s environmental performance, all the four-cylinder engines now burn less fuel – with savings of up to 7%.

Further than that, a pair of ‘BlueEfficiency’ versions become available in autumn. Complete with an optional ‘Eco stop/start function’ (something that most BMW 1 Series now include as standard), the B150 and B170 petrols are said to make even greater efficiency gains.

Brake lights that flash during emergency stops are standard for the revised model, as is emergency interior lighting, while new options include automatic parking, and advanced stereo and sat nav systems.

Full UK spec details and pricing will be announced closer to launch.

4×4 upgrades from Lexus and Nissan

Lexus RX 400h SR

Toyota’s ‘SR’ models are always great value, and it seems luxury subsidiary Lexus’ equivalent on the RX 400h is no exception.

Pricing for the car remains steady at £37,505 (although it rises to £37,510 on 1 April due to the Budget), but the SR gains a roof spoiler, silver roof rails, new floor mats and a new interior trim option.

The SR version of the hybrid 4×4 sits in the middle of the range, and already includes metallic paint and multi-zone climate control.

Nissan Pathfinder Trek 2008

Meanwhile, the entry-level Nissan Pathfinder, the Trek, gets a £500 price hike in exchange for a third row of seats. This means all Pathfinders now seat seven people as standard. Previously a £1,000 upgrade, this looks like good value on a car that already comes loaded with kit. Starting price for the Pathfinder is now £23,995.

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