We drove the Audi Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI Quattro: enjoy elegance and thoroughbred performance…

We all know the Audi adage “Vorsprung durch Technik” and this is indeed what the brand masterfully embodies through its products.

The elegant Q3 we tested makes no exception to this rule. It brings you the ultimate in state of the art classic, non electrified technology, and with its 230 HP makes driving this elegant 4WD a true feast… just read further.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Living in style.

Audi cars breathe style. Their designers carefully honed the already well proportioned Q3 to a distinct, elegant, coupé-like SUV/Crossover, with the good dimensions further enhanced by bigger wheels in the S line Quattro version we tested. The front end is angular and decidedly masculine, as Audi puts it, underlined by the trapezoidal air inlets, which are connected to each other by a narrow blade in the bumper. The sloping roof-line makes the car appear considerably longer than its sister model, the Q3, although the difference is just 16 millimeters. The Audi designers positioned the roof frame lower by 29 mm, and indeed, this Q3 looks sleek. In the S line exterior, the bumpers, the wheel arch trims, and sill trims are distinctively colored.

Here just one word about the Matrix LED headlights: Nine LEDs generate the low beam light and ten more LEDs create the high beam light.  

When the camera detects other road users, they are masked out of the light beam in a targeted fashion.

The matrix LED headlights also feature front and rear dynamic turn signals.

The cabin and dashboard also breathe the cherished Audi design language and philosophy. Clean, rakish yet fluid contours dominate the dashboard layout, and we find of course the virtual instrumentation, which is clear to read and stylish.

The instrument panel is designed in two zones, which makes it appear particularly wide. The upper zone integrates the air vents while the lower zone constitutes the operating level.

We tell you more later about the lavish array of infotainment functions, just suffice to say here that the central element here is the centre console with optional MMI touch display in our test car, which is together with the climate control unit tilted toward the driver by ten degrees.

In “our” S line, the seat backrests feature the embossed S logo, and the sport leather steering wheel bears a corresponding emblem. There is ample room for four if not five adults, the rear seats can be moved 130 mm (5.1 in) longitudinally as standard; their backrests are divided into three sections, and their inclination can be adjusted in seven stages. The volume of the luggage compartment ranges from 530 l (18.7 cu ft) to 1,400 l (49.4 cu ft). The loading floor can be adjusted to two levels, and the rear shelf is located beneath it. Our test car had the electric tailgate that can also be opened and closed with a foot motion.  

Driving is believing.

Pushing the starting knob revealed the feline smoothness of the 2 litre TFSI petrol engine. State of the art responsiveness is what you can expect from this unit: it delivers 169 kW (230 metric hp) at 5,000–6,200 rpm and 350 Nm (258.1 lb-ft) of torque between 1,500 to 4,300 rpm. Coupled to the 7-speed S-Tronic, you can expect some serious performance. And indeed, this Q3 truly delivers.

In supersmooth staccato the engine redlines and catapults the Q3 in 6,5 seconds to 100 km/h, hurtling further to a top speed of 233 km/h. Close to supercar performance, let this be said. And the beauty here is again, as befits a well engineered thoroughbred, that all this is achieved completely effortlessly, with chassis and drivetrain being always well mannered, keeping the driver in complete control. The engine is never obtrusive, and the S-Tronic always changes judiciously and at lightning speed. Of course one has the choice over different driving modes, and the consumption changes distinctly according to the selected mode and driving style. The manufacturer quotes between 7.7–7.3 l/100 km as combined fuel consumption, with CO2 emissions being 174–166 g/km.

It takes a very gentle foot indeed to stay between 8 and 9 litres/100 km in urban traffic, driving at legal limits on the open road will bring your consumption down to the 7 litres level. But of course, power costs fuel. We witness now an intensive “hybridisation” of the Audi range, and soon we will be able to drive the first Audi hybrids on the road. Suffice to say here for those enthusiasts keen on economy that the 1.5 TFSi in the Q3 Sportback 35 TFSI uses the cylinder on demand technology, which switches off two cylinders at low and medium loads.

Later this engine will follow with S tronic and 48 volt mild hybrid system. During deceleration, it recovers energy; during acceleration from low speeds, it supports the engine. In real-life driving, it can save up to 0.4 l of fuel per 100 km.

At the moment of writing, we are driving the new Passat Hybrid GTE, and to tell you right away, it is an impressive plug-in hybrid indeed, with VW manifestly knowing very well what engineering and building a state of the art hybrid is all about.

Superb agility and balance

This SUV/Crossover coupé has also all what it takes to shine on curvy roads. First of all, it’s a Quattro, so it will certainly stand its own on wet and snowy roads, but it is also a very fine handling sporty companion on dry tarmac, being able to handle effortlessly all the power you unleash with your right foot.

At the limits of performance, the quattro drive works closely together with the wheel-selective torque control, It makes handling even more dynamic and stable by gently applying the brake to the inside wheels with the quattro drive and the inside front wheel with the front drive. The central element of the quattro drive system is a hydraulic multi-plate clutch on the rear axle. Its electronic management combines outstanding stability and strong traction with driving pleasure, the manufacturer tells us, and right they are.

The Audi digital world…

Our top of the range Q3 took us convincingly into the wonders of digital infotainment, and it is intuitive and easy to use. The flat menu structure is complemented by a control unit that uses natural language and can also understand free-form communication. Entering a navigation destination and the MMI search are based on free-form text input.

The system recognizes the driver’s most frequent destinations based on previous journeys, allowing it to generate suitable suggestions. When doing so, it takes into consideration statistical empirical values regarding the traffic load and time of day. Wow!  

…and being connected

The future doesn’t stop here of course. Together with MMI navigation plus, the online services of Audi connect are made available on board at LTE Advanced speed via a permanently installed SIM card.

This includes, for example, online traffic information and the online points of interest service, which complements route guidance with photos, opening hours and user evaluations.

Thanks to the inter-connectivity of the Audi fleet, the Q3 Sportback receives and provides information about parking spaces on the roadside, hazard areas and speed limits, which are detected via the on-board camera and vehicle sensors.

Navigation with Google Earth and the hybrid radio, which automatically switches between FM, DAB and online streaming depending on the reception conditions, also form part of the Audi connect navigation & infotainment plus package. The voice control system uses the detailed knowledge in the cloud to answer the driver’s questions and commands. The future has arrived with this package!

Of course, this Audi also takes care of your smart phone. The free myAudi app and the Audi smartphone interface ensure interconnectivity between the car and smartphone. This integrates Android and iOS cell phones into the on-board infotainment system.

The content of the smartphone is shown on the MMI display via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and no cables are required if the top infotainment system is used with an iPhone. The Audi phone box and the Bang & Olufsen Premium Sound System with virtual 3D sound complete this comprehensive offer.

Of course, there is the whole array of electronic driving aids, which makes both urban and long distance touring a true pleasure…

Conclusion

A stunning compact yet roomy SUV, offering in this powerful version tons of driving pleasure, yet remaining utterly sophisticated and docile.

With its superb styling, workmanship and finish, this Audi is a car to love and behold, and care for during its long, reliable life, if you have the pleasure and privilege to own it for some time. It constitutes undoubtedly the pinnacle what classic medium size petrol engined drivetrains can offer, and as such constitutes a benchmark indeed.

Hans Knol ten Bensel   

The Concept Alfa Romeo Tonale is to be seen on the press and gala day of the Brussels Show…

Faithful readers will remember that we stood in the FCA Centro Stile eye to eye with the stunning design concept car, the Alfa Romeo Tonale. For those lucky ones who will be invited to the gala evening and attend the press day on January 9, we have good news : it will be on show on that day in the Hall 7 of the Brussels Salon…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Indeed, you can admire it for one day in Hall 7 of the Motor Show buildings, and you will see its design language close up. This is rather important, as its shapes will be seen back in the second SUV which will bear the Alfa Romeo badge.

Its expressive design and compact shape bode well for the future styling of Alfa’s, whilst maintaining and even rather enhancing and accentuating further the organic Alfa styling DNA of the past. One only has to look at the formidable 21-inch alloy wheels, which evoke the “telephone dial”, a pure execution of the circular theme of the wheel itself. It was first seen in the 60’s and proudly carried by the Alfa 33 stradale. The wheel design has been further enhanced by special custom-made Pirelli’s…

The lateral profile of the car is reminiscent of the shapes of the Duetto and Disco Volante Spider, and the “Linea GT” profile of the Tonale is a modern day interpretation of the shapes seen on the GT Junior.

The “Trilobo” front end bears proudly the “Scudetto” grille, and the “3 + 3” headlights remember proudly the SZ and the Brera.

The cabin shapes have a distinct thoroughbred touch, and the materials are rich and inviting, with transparent panels in the centre console, and of course the DNA driving mode elector is a prominent element.

The Tonale is named after the Tonale mountain pass, which lies not far from the iconic Stelvio pass, and is equally breathtaking with eternal snow and water falls. Just come to admire it in Brussels…on the 9th of January. If you missed it, there is always a nice consolation for you: you can admire on the following days instead the new Giulia MY 2020…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Kia XCeed 1.4 T: above and beyond your expectations…

There are cars which indeed exceed what you would think of them. Such a car is the latest Kia XCeed. We know that at the moment of writing there are already hybrid and electrified versions being built and they are to be seen on the Brussels show. Just read our comments elsewhere in these columns.

Intrigued as we were about this bestselling Kia, we tested it for you in the 140 HP 1,4 litre petrol engine version, and to tell you right away, we were stunned by its mechanical refinement and smooth manners…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Kia XCeed 1.4 T: above and beyond your expectations…”

Volkswagen on the Brussels show…

Volkswagen will of course be quite present at the show in palace 11 with a very impressive stand, under the new VW logo, reminiscent of its early beginnings, and we must admit we like its style.

There is a lot to see: in the first place the brand new Golf, the iconic bestseller and of course the electric ID.3. We will be very keen to admire it “in the flesh.”

At launch, a special range of ID.3 1ST will be available in three trim levels and with an electric driving range of up to 420 kilometers (WLTP). All ID.3 1ST versions are equipped with the most popular battery variant, which has a useful energy content of 58 kWh.

The series models will later also be available with a smaller battery (45 kWh), with a driving range of up to 330 kilometers, and a larger battery (77 kWh), with a maximum driving range of 550 kilometers.

VW is also presenting some fun cars, like the T-Roc Cabriolet and the sporting version of the range, the T-Roc R.

On the new Golf, not less than five hybrid versions are offered. Three eTSIs (mild hybrids) make their debut. A belt-driven 48 V starter generator, a 48 V lithium-ion battery and the latest generation of the groundbreaking efficient TSI engines offer performance but also significantly reduce fuel consumption.

The mild-hybrid powertrains, which are always combined with a 7-speed DSG, have a powerful energy recovery and deliver power of 81 kW (110 hp), 96 kW (130 hp) and 110 kW (150 hp). The 48 V system also makes it possible to roll out with the engine switched off completely and to save fuel.

Of course, there are also Plug-in Hybrid (eHybrid) versions. The eHybrid program is divided into a 150 kW / 204 hp version optimized for driving range and a performance-oriented GTE version with 180 kW / 245 hp (system power each time). The plug-in hybrid drive line consists of a 1.4 TSI, the hybrid module with electric motor, a six-speed DSG and a lithium-ion battery. The new battery is distinguished by a 50 percent larger storage capacity (13 kWh) and therefore a larger electric driving range: almost all daily journeys in the city can be done locally without emissions.

The family of the Multivan, Caravelle and California 6.1 with a nod to the first-born, the T1, is also to be seen at the show.

The T-Roc Cabriolet is already a classic with its foldable cabrio roof which can be opened in merely 9 seconds and which is powered by a choice of two petrol engines, the 1 litre 110 HP 3 cylinder and the 1,5 litre 150 HP four cylinder. 

T-Roc R, fun, sporty and safe with the integral transmission

The modern 2.0 engine with TSI technology and the 4MOTION intelligent four-wheel drive gives the new T-Roc R quite some zest. Pressure feed and direct injection ensure an impressive torque of 400 Nm even at low speeds.

You can also admire two electric concept cars: the ID. BUGGY and the ID. BUZZ Cargo.

Here the basis is formed by the new and already much discussed MEB platform. The high-voltage battery in housed in the floor of the vehicle. This lithium-ion battery provides in the case of the ID. Buggy a capacity of 62 kWh to power the 150 kW / 204 hp electric motor in the rear for a driving range of approximately 250 kilometers (WLTP).

Last but not least the importer D’Ieteren is showing electric charging solutions. With Electric D’Ieteren Solutions, or EDI for short, D’Ieteren Auto wants to expand a portfolio of intelligent charging and energy solutions.

The EDI range includes charging stations for home and work, but also a charging card for charging on the road, which offers access to more than 100,000 charging points in 25 European countries. In addition, EDI provides a range of services for both private customers and professional accounts.

As you see, a lot of interesting news to see in hall or “palace” 11 of the Brussels Motor Show on the Heysel…  

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1,4 120 HP: a very refined sporting thoroughbred…

Cuore Sportivo” This is the iconic adage of Alfa Romeo. It evokes the thoroughbred heart which throbs in their cars. And in this latest Giulietta it is a well sounding heart too. Indeed, the well proven 1,4 litre four cylinder unit does its well sounding work here, and it finds also a home in a wide range of models in the FCA stable. It develops here 120 HP, and this warrants undistilled driving pleasure. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

It is a well matured unit, and this amply shows in its superb mechanical refinement. Even after the first meters we noticed the turbine smoothness of this engine, even at lowest revs, with both gearbox and clutch – we drove the six speed manual version – being progressive and slick too. All this makes this Giulietta a total pleasure to drive in urban traffic, and frankly the Giulietta proved totally “zen” in daily use. The process of making this marvelous unit comply with the 6D emission standards will have helped also in giving it impeccable manners.

Of course this Giulietta is a true delight to drive with spirit, the engine revs up beautifully in the most well sounding staccato. The gearbox is expertly low geared to suit the torque characteristics of this thoroughbred engine, and the Alfa Romeo pilot has always enough power to move his Alfa with panache and zest through every traffic situation.

Agile and predictable

The Giulietta runs on a state of the art platform, and this guarantees superb handling. Indeed, steering the Giulietta with abandon over curvy stretches is an undistilled pleasure. Remaining neutral up to very high cornering speeds, the chassis and suspension is very forgiving and this Giulietta can be driven sportingly with confidence. Of course, the relatively moderate power of 120 HP helps too here, and we did not meet a driving situation where the suspension and chassis ran out of breath.

The Alfa steers with adequate precision, with the steering not transmitting too much information of the road surface through your fingertips. Some would like to have more feel, but your servant personally prefers a quieter and more stable steering wheel, so this was very much OK for me.

Last but not least, there is also the Alfa DNA driving mode selector. You can adjust the car’s dynamic handling, by modifying the engine torque, the brakes (via the Pre-Fill device), the accelerator response, the ESC control system.

Lively and remarkably frugal

Outright performance is quite up to the mark, with a 0 to 100 sprint absolved in 9,5 seconds, and a top speed of 195 km/h. Pulling power with torque of 215 Nm at 2500 rpm, staying high throughout the rev range, is quite good as the gearbox ratios are also quite well chosen.

Fuel consumption will depend as everybody knows, very much on your driving style, and charmed as we were by the superb smoothness and flexibility of the drivetrain, we adopted a cool, “zen” driving style, and when staying below 3000 rpm, we were hugely rewarded with an average consumption hovering between 6 and 6.5 litres/km over part of the test distance, with quite a bit of urban driving included, as well as heavy motorway traffic. In town, it takes a very gentle right foot to let consumption stay below the 9 liter mark.

But with the excellent engine flexibility and drivetrain smoothness, this is no difficult exercise indeed. The manufacturer quotes 7.2-7.4 l/100 km as overall average.

The suspension also strikes a very good balance between sporting responsiveness and comfort, and this makes this Giulietta a very good Gran Turismo.

Sound deadening and insulation is excellent too, at high cruising speeds the engine is never obtrusive, tire/road noise can impair listening to classical music however on specific road surfaces.

Alfa ambience both inside and out.

Alfa styling has always embodied a unique sporting panache, and this is translated by the curvy body lines as well as the instrumentation and the interior and dashboard layout. The new range features five trim levels – Giulietta, Giulietta Super, Giulietta Sport, Giulietta Executive and Giulietta Veloce – and each one responds to specific requirements.

On the exterior, we were very much charmed by the Visconti Green livery of our test car, the one-of-a-kind alloy wheel rims.

When it comes to instruments, this Giulietta continues the good tradition, although we still miss the bold instrumentation and dials of the Duetto for instance, but the dials here hark faithfully back to the ones we saw in the later Giulia Supers, and the dashboard finish is also reminiscent of wood inlays and wood grained surfaces of the beloved Giulia Super.

Overall, we just love it and we beg Alfa stylists to continue this good tradition. The same can be said of the seat upholstery. Indeed, the new Giulietta Veloce has new Alcantara and beige fabric seats, with leather seats optional, like in our test car. Need we say more?

Everyday practicality

This is your daily Alfa par excellence, not only with its excellent drivetrain and comfort, but also with the host of driving aids and the excellent connectivity you can enjoy throughout. Apple Car play and Android AutoTM are provided for, when you choose the Tech Pack, which offers the Alfa Connect 7″ from by Alpine infotainment system.

The Business Pack, for instance, has DAB radio with navigator and 6.5-inch screen, rear parking sensors and height-adjustable passenger seat.

The Convenience Pack includes rain sensor, the dusk sensor, electrochromic interior rear-view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, central rear armrest and electrically operated door mirrors. 

Boot space is more than adequate with 350 liters.

Conclusion 

This Giulietta has everything what it takes to steal your car loving heart. It has indeed the sporting character and style which is so unique to Alfa. Add to this the total smoothness of the drivetrain, the willingness of this thoroughbred engine, the stylish curves of the car, looking well balanced from every corner, the panache of the cabin and the charming handling, and you can understand we were quite impressed. We would suggest, knowing that the competition is fierce in this segment, that you take this Giulietta for a spin. This Alfa could then win you over…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

EQ power for Mercedes in Brussels…

Mercedes-Benz is launching at the Brussels Motor Show with a scoop: after the digital premiere of the GLA in mid-December, the youngest member of the Compact Car segment makes its very first worldwide physical appearance in Brussels.

The brand new GLA will be joined by the Belgian premieres of the CAP and the GLS – both available as seven-seater.

In addition, the EQ offensive from Mercedes-Benz is gradually coming up at full speed: from the newest and therefore most efficient generation of diesel engines and EQ Boost on petrol engines to the EQ Power Plug-In Hybrids from A-Class to S-Class to fully battery-powered EQC, the smart EQ facelift and the EQV in Belgian premiere.

In the next year we will drive the E-300, and indeed, as you can read in our columns, the EQC has greatly impressed us…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Renault presents its hybrid technology at the Brussels Salon…

Hybrid E-Tech Engine

In palace 5 of the show, Renault will present the New Clio, under a full hybrid version from 2020, christened E-TECH. This is a major first for Groupe Renault, which relied on its pioneering know-how as the European market leader in electric mobility to develop a unique hybrid experience for New Clio. New Clio E-Tech is presented as a world premiere at the Brussels 2020 Salon.

Renault CLIO in Portugal…

Another world premiere is the new Captur, the first affordable model in its segment to be offered in 2020 with a fully rechargeable hybrid engine. Renault calls its hybrid technology E-TECH Plug-in.

New Renault CAPTUR in Greece…

Renault presents its hybrid technology, under this E-Tech label, to the general public for the first time at the Brussels Motor Show.

That is why a special technological zone will be dedicated exclusively to New Clio E-Tech and New Captur E-Tech Plug-in at the Renault stand in Palace 5. Visitors to the salon will be able to learn everything about this new technology thanks to demonstration modules, but also thanks to technical experts with whom they will be able to talk.

A 1,6 litre petrol engine is used in the hybrid layout, alongside with two electric engines. More about all this soon, when we discuss all this more in technical detail.

2019 – New Renault ESPACE Initiale Paris

The new Espace has also its world premiere in Brussels. There is also the new ZOE, a next step in terms of versatility, quality and technology. With 52 kWh, the battery offers Z.E. 50 in New ZOE now a range of 395 km WLTP, an increase with 25%.

Two years after it was launched on the European market, New Koleos is making progress in all areas, with a more pronounced body design and a higher level of comfort. He also has new, more efficient and more efficient engines and more technologies in the interior.

The new ZOE with a bigger range…

The New ZOE sets a next step in the field of versatility, quality and technology. With 52 kWh, the battery offers Z.E. 50 in New ZOE now a range of 395 km WLTP, an increase with 25%.

We just let you look at the photos here… and needless to say that we are very keen to make a test drive soon with the new E-Tech cars!

Hans Knol ten Bensel  

Kia is going electric on the Brussels Show

Ceed Sportswagon and XCeed are now also offered as PHEV versions…

Electrification is the name of the game at Kia. In Hall 4 it will show not less than 11 “electrified” cars, ranging from mild hybrid to hybrid and plug in hybrid on to full electric.

In Belgian premieres, we will stand eye to eye with the XCeed PHEV and the Ceed SW PHEV.

Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer at Kia Motors Europe, commented that in the first half of 2019, one in seven of the Kia’s sold in Europe was an electrified model, a trend which is catching up quite fast.

The new drivetrain combines a lithium-polymer battery package of 8,9 kWh, an electric motor of 44,5 kW and an efficient 1,6 litre ‘Kappa’ four cylinder GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine. Total system power is 141 HP and 265 Nm, enough to propel the Ceed Sportswagon in 10,8 seconds and the XCeed in 11 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h.

Regenerative braking is provided for, and both cars have the so-called Virtual Engine Sound System, which is actvated in the EV-mode when driving slowly or backwards.

A charge indicator is of course provided in the instrumentation, and one can monitor the energy flow between engine, battery package and electric motor.

Power transmission of the petrol engine is via a 6 speed DCT, and both engines deliver their power parallel to the front wheels. The 8,9 kWh battery package is situated next to the 37 liter fuel tank under the rear seat.

Clever is also the “driver only” heating/ventilation mode, where the vents closest to the driver are opened, and the blower is cancelled. Just to save energy!

We will soon take the Kia XCeed 1,4 T for a test drive, awaiting this interesting PHEV version…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Belgium on the Brussels Motor Show…

The new Stelvio MY2020 offers unrivalled and refined driving pleasure…

On our 98th edition of the Brussels Motor Show, FCA will be present in hall 7. Here you will stand eye to eye with the new Alfa Romeo Giulia MY2020 and Stelvio MY2020. Both models evolve in three directions: technology, autonomous driving and connectivity.

The quality interiors and the technology on board now ensure the same level of excellence thanks to new driver assistance systems, autonomous driving systems (level 2), the new, fully upgraded infotainment system with connected services and the redesigned human-machine interface.

We will soon tell you in an extended report more about these two very charismatic automobiles, which we drove for you in Bari.

In addition to the Giulia and the Stelvio, the latest version of the Giulietta is also in the spotlights, and this Alfa is thoroughly updated in the course of 2019. We also drove it for you recently, and a test report will follow soon…

Jeep : « Avant-Première » van de nieuwe Jeep Renegade PHEV

Jeep presented its three PHEV hybrid models last March, following the Geneva Motor Show 2019: the Renegade, the Compass and the Wrangler.

On the new Jeep Renegade PHEV, which will be premiered at the Brussels Motor Show, the electric motor works together with the new 1.3-turbo gasoline engine to increase efficiency and overall power. For the Renegade the power is between 190 and 240 hp, with excellent road performance as a result: in about seven seconds it goes from 0 to 100 km / h. The same figures – although they still have to be homologated – are achieved by the first rechargeable hybrid version of the Compass, which therefore becomes faster than ever.

Fiat: prominent offers on the leading models in the range

The brand presents a range of interesting special series at the BMS 2020: the 500 range and its many variants (500, 500C, 500L and 500X) are central, as well as the timeless Panda and the Tipo range.

These special series also include the «Sport» models, available on Tipo, 500X and 500L (the latter is a premiere for the Belgian public at the Brussels Salon). The «Sport» versions combine a distinctly sporty look with ultra-complete equipment.

The “Club Edizione” series is available on the Fiat 500, 500L and 500X models. These versions offer a distinctly refined style with an interesting price / equipment ratio.

With regard to the Tipo family, Fiat proposes the «Tipo More» range, this concept consists of «More» packs which are offered at a unique price (€ 500) and are available at every Fiat Tipo equipment level. In this way, each model can be equipped with adequate equipment, with an interesting customer advantage.

Finally, there is the Fiat Panda, which is in the spotlight with its «Waze» version, which offers an unpublished equipment / price ratio with the refreshed look of the Fiat Panda Waze 2.0.

Abarth: the new Abarth 695 70 ° Anniversario is the star on the BMS 2020

The new special series Abarth 695 70 ° Anniversario was presented on the BMS2020 as an ode to the seventieth anniversary of the Abarth & C. brand and to the ingenuity of its founder, Carlo Abarth (1908-1979).

The new Abarth 695 70 ° Anniversario – of which 1949 will be built, which also refers to the year the brand was founded – is equipped with the new ‘Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile’, the result of the work that Abarth engineers in the wind tunnel of FCA in Orbassano (Turin) to improve the streamline of the car. It enhances the grip on fast mixed courses and provides better stability at high speeds.

The new 695 70 ° Anniversario is powered by the most powerful engine in the range. The 1.4 turbo engine delivers 180 hp and a torque of 250 Nm at 3,000 rpm. It drives the car from 0 to 100 km/ h in barely 6.7 seconds and further to a top speed of 225 km /h (with the spoiler set at 0 °). We would like to have our hands on one in the coming months…

Fiat Panda 4 x 4 and Jeep Wrangler soon to be tested…

Your servant will drive into the new year be behind the wheel of the Fiat Panda Cross 4×4, to be followed by the 200 HP Jeep Wrangler 2.2 MultiJet Diesel. We look forward to it and soon you will read our test findings in these columns! Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Audi at the 98th Brussels Car show…

The Brussels Car Show is unique in the world, as it is an event where cars are actually SOLD in large numbers to the visiting public. This has been a “bourgeois” tradition since its early beginnings, now almost a century ago. Understandably, as the Belgian car market is a rather small, but “open” market, with no national brands to distort the picture when you want to assess your possible European market share. So all car makers are keenly looking at our market, and testing it… in a salon or show where they actually sell cars.

Audi is present in “palace” or hall 11 at the show. It shows the Audi e-tron Sportback in European premiere, and a world premiere of the updated

Audi A5 Sportback 40 g-tron. The 2.0 TFSI gasoline engine is specially adapted to run on CNG (compressed natural gas) and develops a power of 125 kW (170 hp). The maximum torque of 270 Nm is available between 1,650 and 4,400 rom. The Audi A5 Sportback g-tron has a combined CNG consumption between 3.8 and 4.1 kg / 100 km and combined CO2 emission between 103 and 111 g / km.

Important is also the new range of plug-in hybrid models: Audi A6 Saloon 50 TFSI e quattro, Q5 55 TFSI e quattro, A7 Sportback 55 TFSI e quattro and A8 LWB 60 TFSI e Quattro.

“25 years of RS” with new Audi RS range: Audi RS 6 Avant, RS 7 Sportback, RS 4 Avant RS Q8 and RSQ 3 Sportback.

We show you here the RS 6 Avant, its 4.0 V8 TFSI twin-turbo engine now boasts 600 hp and 800 Nm of torque, and advanced mild-hybrid technology for superior – and efficient – performance. Its renewed RS design that is even broader and more muscular. Performance has its sprice, starting from 119,950 euros.

The impressive RS Q8 has the same engine and power. This makes the large SUV coupe from Audi Sport sprint from 0 to 100 km / h in just 3.8 seconds and then hurtle to 200 km / h in 13.7 seconds. The base price of the Audi RS Q8 is 130,970 euros.

Last but not least there is the Audi R8 LMS GT2 at Dream Cars Salon. This track car is based on an Audi R8 Spyder, and develops 470 kW (640 hp). This makes it the most powerful customer racing car in the eleven-year history of Audi Sport customer racing.

Your servant has recently tested the stylish Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI, a true gem when it comes to smooth power and driving pleasure, and a report will follow soon. Of course we are keen to test the new hybrids, and end of March we will drive the Audi A7 Sportback 55 TFSI e quattro 367 hp S tronic. We are certainly looking forward to that one, and assess how Audi understands hybrid driving…which comes in plug-in hybrid form. All plug-in hybrid models use the TFSI, or a direct-injection petrol engines, which interacts with an electric motor integrated into the drive. A lithium-ion battery under the trunk floor provides the electrical energy.

More Audi news soon in these columns, as we discuss the new e-tron Sportback and technical facelifts which extend the e-driving range, and look closer at the formidable Q8 RS.

Hans Knol ten Bensel