Right on track for style and safety
be the replacement for the Mazda6, which first appeared in 2002.
Renault’s new small car, the Twingo went on sale in September, with the more affordable Dynamique 1.2-litre version available at £8,375.
There is also a GT with turbocharged 1.2-litre engine, which Renault claims is the most economical engine on the market to have a 100 bhp output. This model comes in at £9,995.
Safety features in the Twingo have achieved four stars (of a maximum five) and 28 points out of 37 in the passive safety tests carried out by EuroNCAP research. It has up to six airbags.
New models pour out of the Audi factories almost faster than one can keep pace with developments, and the important release for 2008 is the new A4, on sale from next spring, at prices from £22,590 to £30,290.
There will be a choice of five new or extensively revised engines, including a 1.8 direct-injection petrol engine, giving 158 bhp, and a 3-litre diesel rated at 237 bhp.
I’m not sure that I like the new lighting arrangement using LEDs (lightemitting diodes), but they do reduce energy consumption and eliminate bulb failures.
For those who like to get a bit of a move-on, Audi has also launched its latest RS flagship, which now has a V10 engine with twin turbochargers and power output of 576 bhp. Top speed will be restricted to 155 mph and acceleration will leap from rest to 60 mph in only 4.5 seconds, and on to 124 mph only 10 seconds later.
The order book opens this month, for deliveries in spring 2008, with the price expected to be around £75,000. Later in 2008, a saloon version will become available.
More off-roaders — let’s not call them 4x4s, because many ordinary road cars have 4x4 — are being launched. Volkswagen’s compact Tiguan can now be ordered for delivery in February 2008 at prices from £19,370 for the 1.4-litre and SEAT’s first adventure into this market is the Altea Freetrack 4.
There is a choice of two 2-litre en- gines, the petrol one priced at £20,495 and giving 198 bhp and the diesel 168 bhp for £21,395.
Also with four-wheel drive, but not an off-roader, is Subaru’s new WRX STI, which will go on sale next March.
Citroën has launched a 1.6-litre HDi diesel version of the C2, claimed to offer 62 mpg with a top speed of 120 mph. There was a special bargain price of £10,995 for this in September, and you may still be able to find them at this price.
From Peugeot come three-door and automatic options for the new 308 model, to be available next month. The 308 with automatic transmission and 1.6-litre engine will cost £15,095.
Going on sale this month is BMW’s 1Series Coupé with choice of two diesel engines or a 3-litre twin-turbo petrol unit giving 306 bhp. A BMW 1-Series Convertible will be launched soon.
Subtle styling changes have been made to Jaguar’s X-type, on sale in March 2008, with availability for the first time of a new six-speed automatic transmission for the 2.2-litre diesel. The new X-Type doesn’t look much different from the old one externally — the headlamps still seem too small for the car — but among the changes inside, I am pleased to note clearer instruments.
After we tested the Dodge Caliber in the July 20 issue, reader Mr Bearman wrote to express his concern that criticisms of the model, made in one of the motoring magazines, would affect its value. (I hadn’t made any such comments in the JC test.) Mr Bearman will be pleased to learn that this car is now achieving higher residual values than most of its competitors.
As well as the new models, there are plenty of attractive offers on existing cars to inspire purchasers during the normally quiet month of November.
Left: Jaguar X-Type, restyled for March 2008. Right: the shapely new Mazda2 comes with choice of three engines, with diesel to follow