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New cars and hot deals, 18 July 2008

£3.5k off a Lotus Elise; £1,500 off Nissan Qashqai

Market watch – new and used deals

Lotus Elise R

£3.5k off Lotus Elise R

Our jaws literally dropped when we saw this deal. Online Cars can save you up to £3,448 on a Lotus Elise. Brand new with factory deliver mileage only, the offer is made while stocks last.

The big discount is on an R model, which could be yours for £29,977 – including all costs, metallic paint, air-con and a hardtop. Similarly equipped S models are available for £28,475 – a £3,101 saving.

Seat Altea Freetrack 4

Seat Altea Freetrack 4

The Seat Altea Freetrack 4 is an unusual car – part MPV, part 4×4, and not especially pretty with it. Even more reason not to pay full price we reckon.

All Approved Cars is showing a 57-plate ex-demonstrator registered last September with just 5,623 miles on the clock – for £16,495. It includes part-leather interior and desirable 2.0-litre diesel engine, and is £3,500 less than buying new.

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai: £1,500 off

Nissan is all set to unveil a seven-seat version of its popular Qashqai at the British Motor Show. But if you don’t need that much space, try Online Car Deals for a good price on the regular five-seat version. It’s offering 1.5 diesels in basic Visia spec for £13,795 – £1,524 less than list price.

With two-wheel drive only, this model is the most economical Qashqai you can buy.

Mazda revamps RX-8 coupe

Mazda RX-8 face-lift

Mazda RX-8 face-lift

Mazda has revamped its popular four-door coupe, the RX-8, and we’ve been behind the wheel in this week’s first drive.

Now labelled the RX-8 R3, it comes in just a single variant priced at £24,995, and features a number of styling and mechanical upgrades.

Power remains the same as the top spec previous version, at 228bhp. But considerable work has been done in an effort to further improve engine durability, including changes to the oil pump, cooling system, and increased oil capacity.

Gear ratios have also been altered for an improved driving experience, the bodyshell is now stiffer, and suspension and steering components have been completely revised.

Appearance-wise, the new car gets a sharper looking front end, larger 19-inch alloys, and twin round LED tail lamps at the back. A rear spoiler and sports styling kit are now standard, and the asking price includes metallic, mica, or pearlescent paint.

Equipment levels are now so comprehensive Mazda isn’t even offering a factory fitted options list. 0-62mph takes a scant 6.4 seconds, top speed is 146mph, but the unusual rotary engine design is anything but environmentally friendly.

The official figures are 24.6mpg and 299g/km CO2. Funnily enough Mazda left them out of the press release.

British brands set to star at the Motor Show

The British International Motor Show kicks off on 23 July – we’ve already featured several exciting highlights, and look out for our full report soon.

But in the meantime, here’s a quick mention of a few British brand highlights.

The Vauxhall Insignia may well be the star of the show. Its appearance represents the full international debut for this crucial Vectra replacement. Packed with technology – including the ability to read street signs – and looking good, too, the Insignia is a genuine threat to Ford’s successful new Mondeo.

Jaguar XK60

Jaguar XK60

Jaguar will be there, not only debuting the XK-RS for the first time on British soil, but also introducing a limited edition XK60 – celebrating 60 years of XK sports cars.

Alongside that will be the latest X-Type diesel automatic (we can barely contain our excitement, but sales are apparently up). And, if rumours are to be believed, the BMW M5 rivalling XF-R.

Ford Focus RS

Focus RX

Ford is showing the new Fiesta – as we’ve already seen. It may also take the wraps off the new Ka (though it’s likely to be saving this for Paris in September).

Far more exciting, however, is the new Focus RS. It delivers 296bhp and is front-wheel drive only, and apparently painted bright green. Essex is already a-buzz…

Lotus Eagle

Lotus Eagle

Finally – for the moment – how about this? The very first official picture of the new Lotus Eagle supercar was released late on Tuesday night. Powered by a 3.5-litre Toyota engine, it represents a real step into the big league for Lotus, which hasn’t had anything like this level of performance since the Esprit. We’re not exactly sold on the looks, though…

New Proton GEN-2 – already at a discount

Proton GEN-2

Proton GEN-2

Getting back to the real world for a moment, Proton has announced a new version of its GEN-2 hatchback.

A mid-life refresh, rather than an all-new model, all versions get a tough new sporty looking front bumper, while the GSX also adds side skirts, spoiler and alloy wheels.

Inside there’s a redesigned dashboard, and a new red highlighted interior trim that actually looks rather smart in a not especially subtle sort of way. GSX models get leather.

Lotus has had a hand in the engineering, including the engines – a choice of 1.3- or 1.6-litre petrol – and for added reassurance Proton offers a 6-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty (3-year/60,000 miles for the rest of the car).

No, it isn’t exciting, but it is decent value. Especially as selected dealers are currently offering £500 off GLS models, and £1,000 off the GSX. Prices start at £8,995.

First official details of Peugeot’s new 308 CC

Peugeot 308 CC

Peugeot 308 CC

These are the first details and images of Peugeot’s new 308 CC coupe convertible.

We wouldn’t go so far as to say it was pretty but it has got some interesting features. For example, the front seats have integrated neck-warming air vents, a feature previously only seen the Mercedes SLK, a head-side airbag Peugeot is describing as a world first, and automatic remote locking of the interior storage compartments.

Peugeot 308 CC

308 CC – top up

Other safety features include pop-up roll bars, and the transformation from coupe to cabriolet takes 20 seconds.
There’s seating for four with improved rear legroom plus a reasonably sized boot help make it practical, while complete interior leather upholstery options and a number of high-tech infotainment choice provide luxury.

Peugeot has revealed no prices yet, but expect to see the 308 CC on sale here early in 2009.

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