New Cars on the Block | Living North

New Cars on the Block


If you’re thinking of signing on the dotted line for a new car, you might want to take a look at what’s around the corner first. Living North breathes in that new car smell as we preview some major new arrivals set to roll onto the forecourt


A recent suggestion by the Institute for Public Policy Research has given drivers another reason to give electric cars serious thought. They’ve proposed that electric car owners be given a ‘green badge,’ similar to the blue badge system for disabled drivers. Green badge owners would receive a range of benefits such as exemption from charges in permit areas and on toll roads. If that still leaves you unconvinced, the Audi A3 e-tron might get you over the line. This plug-in electric hybrid is based on Audi’s five-door A3 Sportback and draws power from an electric motor and 1.4 TFSI engine combo. The result produces 201bhp capable of 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds – only half a second behind the 1.8 TFSI petrol A3. The e-tron’s top trump is undoubtably its efficiency claims, a staggering 188 mpg with just 35g/km CO2 emissions. The e-tron can cover 31 miles in electric mode alone, and when combined with the electric motor a range of 620 miles can be produced. Audi e-tron, from £32,500

Three’s a Crowd

It’s hard to keep up with the BMW 3 Series body styles; already available as a convertible, estate, saloon and coupe, it will complete the set this summer when a five-door hatchback becomes available. Even though the Gran Turismo 3 Series looks sharper than its 5 series equivalent, the designers have gone big on practicality and space for luggage and passengers. Longer and taller than the 3 series saloon, it’s easier to get in and out of, and has 520 litres of space in the back with the seats raised – 25 more litres than the Touring estate. The large tailgate comes with a cool optional sensor that allows you to open the boot by simply waving your foot under the bumper. Even with the practical perks, BMW vow that the GT will retain the dynamic driving characteristics of the regular model. An intergrated spoiler pops up at 68 mph but that’s about as boy racer as this hatchback will get. BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, from £28,835

Litre Leader

With the rear seats upright, there’s 530 litres of space to play with, but fold the back seats down using the one-touch ‘Easy-Flat’ system, and the rear will swallow up a claimed 1,658 litres of luggage, making it a class leader in this department. The Auris estate, which they’ve christened the Auris Touring Sports, looks exactly like the hatchback with an extended roofline at the rear that’s flanked by aluminum roof rails and a rear spoiler. A large ‘skyview’ panoramic roof option will be offered on some versions. As well as looking like the hatchback, it comes with the same engine options: a 1.33 petrol, a 1.6 Valvematic petrol or a 1.4 D-4D diesel. There are four spec levels to choose from: Active, Icon, Sport and, for spreadsheet fans, Excel. Toyota Auris Touring Sports, from £15,595

Beetle Mania

The new Beetle R is far more easy on the eye than the original Beetle and its more modern cousin that first began appearing on roads in the late 90s. Looking more like a compressed Porsche 911, the Beetle R has been widened by 30 mm while the bulbous wheelarches have been stretched over 20 inches of gleaming chrome alloy. The paint finish is called ‘serious grey,’ suggesting Volkswagen mean business with their new sporty Beetle. At the rear there’s three more exhausts than are perfectly necessary and a very conspicuous spoiler. Inside there’s comfy bucket seats, extra instruments and more bling bling. VW are keeping quiet on the engine sizes but rumours suggest they’ll plump for the same 2.0 litre 270 bhp engines used in the R versions of their Golf and Sciroccos. That should mean its 0-62 mph stats clock in at less than six seconds. Volkswagen Beetle R, from £32,000

Published in: November 2013

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