Lancia announces bold renaissance…

Lancia launched last week a ten-year strategic plan, which includes three new models, one every two years, starting in 2024, for an attractive and iconic model range to cover 50% of the market.

The plan will begin in 2024 with the new Lancia Ypsilon, which will be around 4-meters long, belonging to the B segment and will be launched with a 100% electrified powertrain. In 2026, the new flagship will arrive, 4.6-meter long and will allow the brand to enter into the largest segment in Europe. 2028 will be the year of the new 4.4-meters long “Delta”, a sculpted and muscular car, with geometric lines, which will attract car enthusiasts throughout Europe.

These three new models will cover 50% of the market and will have the duty to contribute to the improvement of Stellantis performance in its premium and luxury cluster, as laid out in the “Dare Forward 2030” Stellantis strategic plan.

“Today is an important day,” declared Luca Napolitano, CEO of Lancia brand, “Lancia is now ready for Europe, taking a first step to become a credible and respected brand in the premium segment.

Lancia’s ten-year plan has also a clear electrification strategy: from 2026 the brand will only launch 100% electric models and from 2028 will solely sell 100% electric models.

In addition, a wide use of innovative materials will make Lancia the Stellantis brand with the highest percentage of recycled material, with 50% of touchable surfaces made from eco-sustainable materials in order to contribute to building a better world for future generations.

Inside the new vehicles, Lancia customers will be welcomed in a typical Italian elegance style. Inspired by the exclusive materials of its past iconic vehicles, like the Gamma, Thema and Flavia, the next-generation Lancia vehicles will provide a comfortable environment with simple and intuitive on-board technology which is in line with its DNA.

The S.A.L.A., Sound Air Light Augmented (sala in Italian means living room), will be a minimalist and intelligent virtual interface which will give the customer total control of the vehicle’s cabin from the sound system to the air conditioning and lighting, with the use of a single button.

Lancia also introduces an innovative distribution model with 50% of online sales, and will establish a presence in 60 major cities with a network of 100 dealerships.

In unfolding the country strategy outside Italy, Lancia uses three criteria:

The first is love and passion for the “Made in Italy”, with Spain, Belgium and France leading the way.

The second is the relevance of online sales, with The Netherlands and Germany in pole position.

The third is the dimension of the B premium segment, with all these countries ranking in the top five.

These five countries represent the first step in the internationalization process of the brand, which will be present in Europe in and 50% of sales online.

 More Lancia news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Citroën Belux is the official partner of the 11th edition of the ‘Jeux Internationaux de la Jeunesse’ (YOU),  held in Brussels from May 30 to June 4!

Each year, the Jeux Internationaux de la Jeunesse (‘The International Youth Games’) brings together more than 350 high school students from around the world to honor fundamental values such as excellence, respect, friendship, solidarity and tolerance.

A truly popular phenomenon, the Citroën AMI will be the banner of this edition of the YOU and will be seen at each and every venue of the event.

This global event, whose growing success has not diminished over the past decade, will find a full international resonance thanks to the strength of the powerful network of 552 French secondary schools around the world and the prestigious school sports federation of the French national education system, the UNSS.

More about YOU…

For the past 11 years, YOU have brought together young people from French secondary schools around the world for a week of sporting and cultural activities. This year, and for the first time in its history, the YOU in Belgium will take place at the Lycée Français Jean Monnet in Brussels, in collaboration with the French Embassy in Belgium. Over five days and at various locations in Brussels, no fewer than 400 16 and 17 year olds from 33 countries (including Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and the United Kingdom) will meet there.

Citroën Belux is one of the official sponsors of this important event and takes the opportunity to highlight the AMI model, a popular mobility phenomenon that is on the rise. The Citroën AMI will be at all the different venues of the events: amongst others at the Lycée Français in Brussels, at the Hotel Dolce La Hulpe where the participants stay, at the Golf D’Hulencourt where the closing ceremony will take place and on the official opening night of the YOU with the presence of some ambassadors from the different participating countries.

AMI: built for Youth…

Already a leader in the quadricycle segment, Citroën AMI is a highly valued mobility solution, especially for young people. With AMI, Citroën is responding to the challenges of urban mobility, which are more than ever at the heart of the concerns and expectations of city dwellers. AMI is an individual mobility solution that makes it possible to travel protected in a closed, 100% electrical object that is accessible to everyone.

More (Youthful) Citroën news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Peugeot 508 SW Sport Engineered: your passionate Lion…

There are cars which make the life of a car journalist truly wonderful. This time it’s being behind the weel of the “Sport Engineered” Peugeot  508. What is this? You might ask. Well, there is since decades an active high performance division at Peugeot, called PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED. Over recent years, this department has acquired considerable experience in marrying the power and performance of combustion engines with the unique characteristics of e-power. They have proven themselves time and time again: in international competitions such as the WRC (World RallyChampionship), DAKAR, Pikes Peak or the WEC (Word EnduranceChampionship), with the development of the 208 FE concept in 2013 (46 g CO2/km – 0/100in 8.2s) and the 308 R HYbrid in 2015 (500 bhp – 720 Nm – 0/100 in 4.0s).

At the same time as the launch of this SPORT ENGINEERED label, PEUGEOT is announcing its return to the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in the LMH (Le MansHypercar) top category this year.

So the 508 sedan and SW – the version which we tested here – is their first technical showcase and indeed their first chapter in series production under its new label.

With these cars, with a newfound alliance between sportiness and technology, PEUGEOT is – so they say – reinventing the codes for renewed performance, a responsible performance: they call it “Neo-Performance.” The signature of this new line with 3 Kryptonite claws refers to PEUGEOT SPORT’s new identity, to the light signatures of the production models and is drawing inspiration from the brand’s heritage with the rear lights from the iconic PEUGEOT 504 Coupé.

But let’s now have a closer look at this 508. It’s the most powerful production car ever built by PEUGEOT.

The powertrain can reach 360 hp and 520 Nm of torque by combining thermal and electrical energy.  This level of performance is unprecedented for the brand:  0 to 100 km/h in merely 5.2s, 1000 m DA in 24.5s, 80 to 120 km/h in 3s, finally last but not least a maximum speed of 250 km/h (electronically controlled). Need we say more?

Indeed, there are two electric motors besides the 1,6 liter combustion engine, making this 508 also a 4WD. The combustion engine – the well proven 1.6-litre PureTech turbo petrol unit – produces 197bhp, the front motor adds 108bhp, while the rear electric motor is good for 111bhp.

We can tell you, power comes totally unfussy, smooth and plentiful through the 8 speed transmission, and makes this 508 a truly superb car. Of course the gentlemen engineers at Peugeot took also proper care of the handling. These SPORT ENGINEERING series 508’s have an optimized chassis.

They fine tuned first and for all the variable shock absorber setups (Comfort/Hybrid/Sport), the springs are 50 per cent stiffer compared with the 508 Hybrid. They  widened the tracks by 24 mm at the front and 12 mm at the rear. For extra stopping power, they fitted 380 mm diameter front brake discs and fixed four-piston calipers, the 20-inch diameter alloys are shod with Michelin© Pilot Sport 4S tires.

The result is dynamic, precise, predictable handling. You can really throw this 508 around, and it displays up to the limit uncanny stability. What a wonderful Gran Turismo this car truly is.

Does this car move boundaries when it comes to combining efficiently super performance with docility and refined smoothness? It certainly does. But there is more…

Efficient and versatile…

Indeed, that is not all. It is also very versatile in combining e-power in various ways with the panache of a high performance combustion engine. Just note that the 8-speed automatic transmission controls the engine and the front e-motor.

With a mode selector on the centre console, and this lets you choose between 5 driving modes:

Electric: for smooth 100% electric driving in total silence, with a range of 42 km according to WLTP. This makes your 508 future proof, giving you access to the green zones in urban areas. But the sweetness of e-power is well known: it provides instant acceleration thanks to the ample and immediate pulling power of the electric engines fore and aft, and this from 0 km/h to 140 km/h.

Comfort: this is the hybrid mode with softened suspensions for sedate, restful “high comfort”driving.

Hybrid: this mode mode automatically selects combustion or electric power depending on the circumstances with a distinct bias towards optimized consumption.

Sport: maximum power of 360 hp for ultimate driving pleasure! This mode also affects steering, shock absorption, accelerator pedal mapping and adjusts digitally engine responsiveness and torque characteristics. The combustion engine also keeps the battery charged for maximum power at all times.

 4WD: maximum traction for slippery grip situations.

So the 508 ideally suits your driving moods… and is indeed literally very transporting when driven in “sport” mode. It then leaves very little to be desired, and the extra pulling power of the electric motors delivers rather formidable intermediate accelerations. We already mentioned it: you will sprint from 80 to 120 km/h in merely 3 seconds… Ok, your ears are not enjoying the sound of a high revving straight six, but all the performance is there!

Indeed, this 508 SW we drove literally stormed uphill and from one sharp bend to another, well reined by excellent brakes and a responsive suspension and chassis.

In addition to its 4-wheel drive, the 508 SPORT ENGINEERED comes with all the driving aids available within the PEUGEOT 508 range: night vision, adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, lane departure warning system, automatic emergency braking.

Sporting accents inside and out

That you are driving a very special 508 should also be noticed, and indeed it does:  the aerodynamic design of the bodywork is further enhanced with a sharp grille, rakish front bumper, scoops and Kryptonite monogram. In the sides of the car you find also the three foils with specific decorative elements, the three claws again on the front wing on the SW.

At the rear you will find electrolytic treated black exhaust outlets, black gloss central diffuser, last but not least 20-inch wheels fitted with MICHELIN© Pilot Sport 4S tires, with yellow painted PEUGEOT SPORT Kryptonite front brake calipers.

The PEUGEOT i-Cockpit® comes into its own with a compact steering wheel featuring the three Kryptonite claws, and a 100% digital head-up display. We just loved the compact steering wheel, adding greatly to the zest and personality of the car when you are behind the wheel.

The i-Cockpit® graphic animations and the central 10″ HD screen have adopted the label’s signature too.

The upholstery of the “comfort-fit” seats also has a distinctive look we liked very much with a tasteful and photogenic mix of leather, 3D mesh and Alcantara©. The passenger compartment is decorated with double Tramontane grey and Kryptonite stitching. The FOCAL® Hi-Fi audio system, which is certainly a delight to listen to, is also supplied as standard.

Conclusion

An elegant car with loads of panache, yet delivering this almost supercar performance with a hint of understatement. This Peugeot is comfortable and practical too, able also to shine in everyday use. You have good seating comfort and room also at the rear, and 530 litres of luggage space in the standard configuration.

As the graph clearly shows, this high performance estate can also be quite frugal… max 6 l/100 km in relaxed driving conditions!

On top of that this Peugeot goes through daily life as a hybrid, with all the consumption and tax advantages that entails. The Peugeot Sport Engineering also is quite original, and its e-efficiency is a good argument to win you over…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Immerse yourself online in 160 years of Opel’s history…

In 2022, Opel is celebrating the company’s 160th birthday. To mark this anniversary, Opel Classic has a special gift for all fans and friends of autobile history: they can now indulge themselves in the company’s history in the new “160 Years of Opel” theme tour at opel.com/opelclassic.

Automotive buffs as we are, we certainly love everything historic about cars. So we applaud this initiative, meaning that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home a virtual tour back to the beginnings of the company and enjoy numerous highlights from 160 years of Opel engineering.

This Opel Classic tour will take you on a varied tour from the first sewing machines and bicycles “made in Rüsselsheim” to the current “Golden Steering Wheel” title holder Opel Mokka-e1.

Of course, this 160 year anniversary tour was developed with great attention to detail. The team first had to meticulously archive and document all the exhibits and precisely align them for filming so that online visitors can view the vehicles from all sides. The ‘160 Years of Opel’ tour is bilingual, offering some completely new Opel perspectives. “It’s really worth clicking on and taking the tour,” says the new Opel Classic Director Leif Rohwedder, looking forward to numerous online visitors.

“160 Years of Opel”: Virtual tour from its early beginnings to the present

This new 360-degree tour takes visitors virtually into the “hallowed halls” of the Opel Classic Collection in Rüsselsheim. Here, the brand with the Blitz shelters a veritable treasure trove of 600 historic vehicles and studies as well as 300 other exhibits ranging from Opel sewing machines to aircraft engines. The highlights of the “160 Years of Opel” tour include a look at the beginnings in the 1860s as well as the following decades. By clicking on the yellow info points, Opel Classic reveals important information about the selected exhibits – short and sweet, right to the point.

The “Wanderjahre Adam Opels” (Adam Opel’s wandering years) are discussed as well as historically valuable exhibits such as the “Quintuplet” – a five-seat bicycle – on which the five sons of the company founder had themselves photographed for publicity purposes at the end of the 19th century.

The pioneer among Opel automobiles can also be seen for the first time in a virtual tour: the Patentmotorwagen “System Lutzmann” from 1899, which marked the beginning of car production in Rüsselsheim.

Then interested visitors can continue on various paths through the historic halls. They will not only encounter numerous Opel icons and bestsellers, but also innovative record-breaking vehicles such as the Opel Elektro GT. Five decades ago, this car demonstrated at the Hockenheimring what is possible with zero emissions. The tour through 160 years of Opel history leads to further groundbreaking developments such as the first fully electric vehicle suitable for everyday use, the Opel Ampera, and the battery-electric Opel Mokka-e. The current e-car with the Blitz won the “Golden Steering Wheel 2021″1 with its convincing driving performance as well as its very own style and rounds off the journey through time in the Opel halls.

The “160 Years of Opel” tour now complements the Opel Classic online tours that were successfully launched in 2021.

Finally, we want to tell you here that visitors can also explore and enjoy more subjects Opel Classic has online in store for you: what to think of subjects like “Alternative Drives”, “Rally Racing”, “Roaring Twenties” and “Mobility for Millions”?  I would say, get tuned for an unforgettable online Opel session!

We just let you enjoy some photos here, but I suggest you grab your mouse and start a journey into history!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Touring in central France with the Jeep Compass: enjoying authentic driving pleasure and Gran Turismo comfort…

Where do Jeep drivers go in France? Of course to the Château du Clos de Vougeot in the very heart of Burgundy’s vineyards…

The Jeep Compass, launched last year, has been the first new Jeep model since it joined the Stellantis Group, and is one of its most important bestsellers. In Europe, it accounts for 40 % of total Jeep sales.

More than reason enough to put it through its paces: we drove the 96 kW/130 HP petrol engined version with the 6 speed manual transmission, all the way through France, on many autoroutes, routes nationales and départementales, to find out what a modern, petrol engined car in this day and age (still) has to offer. We were truly surprised how refined, powerful and frugal this Compass really is. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The Jeep is compact enough to feel ideally at home on Cévenne country roads…

Well proportioned …

The new Compass combines the typical Jeep styling cues with well proportioned modernism, and indeed it pleases from any angle. Its dimensions are indeed “just right” for those customers who seek space and comfort, as we found out when we drove it on the narrow mountain and village roads in the Massif Central and Alpes Maritimes. Visibility of the edges of the car is greatly helped by the panoramic camera’s fore and aft, and one needs them indeed when maneuvering in narrow spaces.

The interior has been completely redesigned. The central horizontal dashboard panel looks elegant, with ultra-slim air intakes that almost disappear into its layered structure. The controls are easy to reach, as is the connectivity touchscreen that dominates the middle of the dashboard, now in a higher and more ergonomic position. We liked this. The fact that this Compass now has the new Uconnect 5 system with a more powerful, higher-performance processor with a five times better responsiveness than the previous generation, made selecting your route or favorite music the proverbial breeze.

By using an Android operating system and 4G connectivity with Over-the-Air (OTA) updates, the Uconnect 5 brings flexibility and the possibility to offer continuously new content, features and services. On longer trips, not only excellent and clear route and map info is important, but also a state-of-the-art sound system. This Compass offered both…

The controls are logical, intuitive, and soon we were cruising happily along…

The driving info from the digital instruments is also to the point: we focused on relaxed economical driving, and to monitor our driving exploits, it proved ideal. Indeed, it shows you at a glance your instant consumption, and graphically shows with an illuminated arc how this relates to the average consumption. It also shows you when to change up to achieve most economical driving. Truly excellent! For the rest, it limits itself to rev counter and large digital speed indicator.

Of course you can select on the steering wheel another display which gives you info about the oil and water temperature, oil pressure and battery charge…for the technical buffs amongst us, and the Jeep drivers who really want to KNOW.

For our long French drive, the seats proved very comfortable, and here we also want to put a good word about the excellent sound insulation. Road and tire noise as well as wind noise are almost totally absent, and also the engine is inaudible at cruising speeds. So listening to the conversations and interviews on France Culture is effortless, and you or your passenger can also speak totally normally. A factor which is so important to relaxed driving, but is rarely mentioned…

Engine: zesty, quiet, flexible and willing…

Under the hood purrs a 1332 cc 4 cylinder petrol engine, developing 130 HP (96 kW) @ 4750 rpm, with a very healthy pulling power. Indeed, 270 Nm is available already @ 1560 rpm. Understandable as one knows that this is a long stroke unit with 70 mm bore and 86,5 mm stroke. It is turbo fed and has a Multi Air III GDI – Third Generation Gasoline Direct Injection, is indeed totally docile and will pull readily from 1200 rpm onwards; this excellent torque greatly helped our relaxed and economical driving, and we enjoyed the totally silent, vibration free pulling power in the 1200 to 2000 rpm range, delivering power comfort totally akin to an electrical power unit. So indeed, change up the gears as soon as possible, flow with the traffic and enjoy!

Driveability is somewhat hesitant in bottom gear at smaller throttle openings, so one learns to change into second as soon as possible when one is not in a hurry and want the smoothest getaway. Modern automatic transmissions take care of this beautifully, so, despite our love for manuals, we would prefer the excellent 8 speed auto box here to enjoy your Compass even more in stop and go traffic. This option is however coupled to a 150 HP version of this engine.

Of course, when put through its paces, good performance is there. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h takes 10,3 seconds, top speed is 192 km/h. More than we ever used on our touring trip.

The manufacturer quotes fuel consumption – combined cycle (l/100km) at 6.6 – 6.9 l, we achieved an average of 6,6 liters during our test, which besides Autoroutes  and Nationales  included also many villages, cities and mountain roads and winding  Départementales. CO2 emissions – combined cycle (g/km) lies between 152 – 158.

Of course, with a kerb weight of 1,505 kg including driver, it is very important to conserve kinetic energy as much as possible and certainly in urban driving an anticipative driving style will be rewarded.

The practical advantages of petrol engined propulsion do not have to be further underlined here. A beautiful useable range of over 800 km on a full 55 litre tank, with the plentiful availability of gas stations and of course no recharging times to reckon with. For example at Vougeot, in the midst of the Burgundy vineyards we would be (very) hard pressed to find a recharging station in the village… nearby our hotel, if any! There was just ONE, with 4 charging posts at the hotel Clos de la Vouge, which was about 400 m from our hotel. It was of course occupied by the own hotel guests. It was run by Shell Recharge, and it was – according to internet info – not powered by renewable energy.

On top of that, with an average consumption of 6,6 litres/100 km, the well to wheel figure will compare rather well with a similar EV, which would weigh an additional 500 kg because if its batteries… 

This amply shows that the charging infrastructure in Europe has still a long way to go, to enjoy carefree EV mobility everywhere, and a petrol engined car still remains in the present material circumstances a viable proposition…

If you would ever consider holiday travelling with an EV through France, you MUST have first a look at https://www.electricfelix.com/france. It is interesting and full of very valuable tips! Consulting https://chargemap.com will also put you (literally) on the good path.

Comfortable

We drove the Compass in the Limited edition, and this includes accessories like the motion controlled automatic rear boot lid. It proved indeed a very practical option on any Gran Turismo trip. We mentioned already the total ease of use and practicality of the Compass, and we also should mention that the Uconnect 5 system with a 10.1-inch touchscreen and integrated TomTom navigation also boasts the natural language interface system with advanced voice recognition, so you can talk to the car to control its settings, program the air conditioning and choose your favorite music. This feature is integrated into vehicles with Tom-tom navigation and can be activated hands-free with the wake word “Hey Jeep!”.

Boot space is standard with seats up some 438 litres, with seats folded 1,387 litres.

The suspension gives a good feedback of the road surfaces and is overall quite comfortable. The Compass version we drove has only front wheel drive, but with its ample ground clearance of 198 mm we steered it with utter confidence on unhardened country roads, and enjoyed urban and (mountainous) rural France to the full.

Conclusion

The Jeep Compass proved to be a well-balanced, ideal Gran Turismo car, an absolute joy to take on a long(er) trip.

It also made very clear that a modern petrol engined car still is a very reasonable and above all practical means of transport, with excellent economy combined with smooth and refined performance. On top of that comes the typical panache of Jeep, growing ever more into an iconic brand, with a very fitting styling language. So if you have a heart for (even the slightest) adventure and appreciate motoring which character, take the road of (this) Jeep…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Citroën focuses on comfort and well-being in its launch campaign for its new C5 X.

The C5X is now Citroën’s flagship model. Unveiled in 2021, it brings together all of Citroën’s expertise in comfort, in travel and more broadly in automotive well-being. Inspired by the CXperience concept, Citroën has made no secret of its intention to create a grand tourer, freeing itself from rules so as to create a car that combines the elegance and dynamism of a saloon, the volume and versatility of an estate, together with the posture and driving position of an SUV.

Being at the wheel of Citroën C5 X brings than legendary and unique feeling of floating, so typical of the DS Citroëns. Thanks to the brand-new Citroën Advanced Comfort® active suspension and the Advanced Comfort® seats. Driving C5 X is also an experience that is serene owing to driver assistance technologies and soothing because of the cab’s acoustic insulation and the fully electric mode of the car in its rechargeable hybrid version.

The launch campaign produced with the Traction agency (BETC group) seeks to represent all these sensations in different ways through an advertising film and a range of graphic illustrations.

C5 X advertising film

In the advertising film, we see a driver of C5 X with his family. The driver experiences a feeling of profound serenity. It is an emotional metaphor where we imagine the driver remembering or dreaming of the feeling that an astronaut might have floating in space, contemplating planet Earth, in complete harmony with the world, while he himself is enjoying a moment of tranquility, suspended in time with his family. The physical and mental comfort provided by C5 X makes his driving silent, smooth, and calm. It is the attitude advocated by the brand: humanism and serenity.

“Usually in advertising campaigns, representations of space, rockets and astronauts connote speed, power and performance – concepts which are all highly masculine. Here, we have used weightlessness as a metaphor for the sensations experienced behind the wheel of Citroën C5 X. Sensations of well-being, calm and serenity. It is always thrilling to work with a brand capable of doing things so differently of what is expected!!”  said Stéphane Xiberras, BETC President and Chief Creative Officer.

The film was produced by Rune Milton from the production company Phantasm. The studio scenes were filmed in Slovenia and the dynamic scenes, in Croatia on the island of Krk.

The original soundtrack by music production agency Start-Rec, echoes the driver’s feelings of well-being and gently reinforces the weightlessness effect. It was created to bolster the brand’s sound expression territory and embody its new positioning.

By signing this campaign for its flagship model with “An invitation to serenity”, Citroën is banking on people’s desire for a new car being more about wanting to experience calm and well-being rather than about their thirst for performance.

Just cllick on the link to discover the advertising film for C5 X: https://youtu.be/mTxoPbvUnqU

More Citroën news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Kia EV6: a top EV car with lots of panache…

Soon after the elegant Ioniq 5, we could take the Kia EV6 for an extended test drive, and as both cars ride on the same E-GMP or Electric-Global Modular Platform, a comparison between the two cars is inevitable. Let it be said, also this EV6 scores very high indeed, and has the same excellent qualities and futuristic aura than its four wheeled sister, albeit altogether a bit sportier.

We drove the EV6 GT Line, pleasing the eye with its 20 inch alloys, its snow white pearl paint and black interior with white and aluminum accents and alcantara/leather seats.

Our test car was the rear wheel drive version with 168 kW/229 Hp motor and the 77,4 kWh battery. More than enough for exhilarating performance and an impressive range…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

More rounded, organic styling…

The Kia distinguishes itself from the angular lines of the Ioniq 5 by offering more fluent lines, reminiscent of the last Saab, Jaguar I Pace, and the likes. The rear end with the built in spoiler and the tail light running across the car is reminiscent of Porsches, with the curves of the rear lid shaped as a spoiler being even more outspoken. The panache of the whole car varies with the paint color chosen, and we like the pearl white finish of our car here, although we think the car looks even more stunning in a matte grey finish. A beautiful, well proportioned car it certainly is.

In the interior one has the same two big screens with identical digital instrumentation and infotainment layout, and we enjoyed also the same excellent head up display we found in the Ioniq 5.

But the shape of the centre console is different, has more curves and is a bit more adventurous. You have lots of space for your drinks, bottles and sundry, and a round selector knob for Drive, Neutral and Reverse instead of the rotating stick in the steering column in the Ioniq 5.

The car and its touch screens is simple and intuitive to use, and typical for Kia is the well designed centre console, where you can toggle between heating/ventilation or audio controls. You find your way in a breeze.

The seats are excellent; the front seats also fully recline as in the Ioniq 5, so you can have a (short) nap when you recharge the car. The rear seat backrests are also adjustable.

With a 2,9 meter wheelbase, there is plenty of legroom both in the front and especially in the rear, with slightly less headroom for the rear passengers than the Ioniq 5, but this is still more than enough if you are less than 1,90 m tall. Standard boot space is 520 litres, extendable to 1300 litres.    

Our test car came with the drive assist pack, which included the autonomous parking aid, the 360 ° camera view and as said the very easy to read head up display. The large and wide EV6 is therefore a pleasure to drive and park in town. The additional cameras are necessary, as the overall visibility of the bodywork is not so good, especially to the rear.  

Impressive performance and handling…

The 229 HP EV6 delivers punchy performance: it sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in merely 7,3 seconds, and quite frankly, who needs more? The top speed is limited to 185 km/h. You have the choice between three driving modes, from “Eco” to “Sport”, and with the paddles on the steering column you can choose the amount of energy recuperation and also opt for automatic braking to standstill.  The brakes are sensitive and progressive.  

The suspension of the EV6 is sportier and firmer than the Ionic 5. The EV6 is slightly less comfortable, but never harsh, and has less body roll when driven with verve on winding roads. The car is neutral with an understeer bias, is very stable in fast corners and has excellent straight line stability up to its top speed.      

You would like even more performance? The EV6 can also be had with an extra motor driving the front wheels, and total power in this 4WD layout is 239 kW/325 PS. If you want nothing less than supercar performance, it is good to know that in autumn, Kia will present a GT version with some 430 kW/585 PS. This results in an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 3,5 seconds, with a top speed of not less than 260 km/h…

With a very big range, up to a good 500 km…

Our test car came also with a heat pump, costing less energy to heat and cool things. The EV6 is remarkably frugal, and it is no effort at all to achieve an average consumption of around 18-19 kWh per 100 km. This means that in practice, this EV6 has indeed a useable range of some 500 km, and that is no small feat! According to the WLTP norm, the distance is 528 km.

The EV6 runs – like the Ioniq 5 – on a 800 V system, and this means not only the possibility of using thinner cables and therefore gaining weight, but it also means larger load capacities and shorter recharging times. Even in less than ideal circumstances, you can recharge your EV6 in about 30 minutes to run another 380 kilometers.

 Like the Ionic 5, the EV6 has also a Vehicle-to-load-Function, which means an extra external plug to power lamps, microwaves, cookers when you are camping out, and you could even charge (with patience) another EV with it! You just need the small adapter which I housed in the front luggage bin, (called “Frunk”) under the engine cover lid, which contains some 52 liters of luggage space.

Conclusion

The EV6 is a top class EV, certainly when one considers its price tag. Our test car in the GT Line equipment level came with the Drive Assist Pack and the Premium pack, which included a 14 speaker Meridian Sound System together with the Head-Up display. It also had a panoramic sunroof, heat pump (1200 Euros extra) and 20-inch alloy wheels. The total price including VAT was 59.990 Euros. On top of that it is roomy, has stunning looks and offers sportiness. Last but not least, the range is superb and thanks to the 800 V system its recharging times are short. Indeed, also this Kia EV6 paves the way to a bright EV future…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

I witnessed the E3 Saxo Bank Classic race, invited by the AG2R Citroën Team…a fascinating experience of the cycling world!

The AG2R CITROËN TEAM has not less than 12 mechanics, painstakingly preparing three bikes per team member for the race, in a specially equipped bus, of which the team has not less than four, also for the team racers, the food, the cooking, massage, etc.

I know a lot about automobiles, their history, present and future, and I am passionate about it. But when the dynamic Citroën/Stellantis PR department, notably Press & Communications Officer Wim Willems,  invited me to join the AG2R Citroën Team for the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, run on Friday, March 25, I grabbed of course this occasion with both hands. The cycle sport has reached a level of mechanical sophistication which equals that of Formula 1 Racing, and then we have said nothing about the medical/physical aspects of the cycle competition, the training, the food/diet balance, etc.

One of the four impressive buses of the team, parked in front of the Van der Valk hotel in Gent…

It proved to be a truly wonderful and interesting experience, and you will read our story here, where I learned a lot, and I am delighted to share it with you.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

I drove the evening before the race to the Van der Valk Hotel in Ghent, where I was received by my host Julien Duval. He has been himself a road racing cyclist since 2008, and has been with the AG2R La Mondiale team since 2017. He stopped racing at the end of last year, and now guides with expertise the guests Citroën has invited to see their team racing.

He led me first to the different buses, housing the bikes, the team cycling champions, the food, the kitchen and everything a team needs. Very impressive…

The bikes are being prepared…

I first climbed with him in the bus where the cycles are stored and prepared. The team has not less than three bikes per team rider for the race, and there are no less than 12 mechanics in total, who meticulously prepare the cycles before each race and training, taking them fully apart to the last nut and bolt, inspecting, adjusting and reassembling them. I read the letters “BMC” on the frames. “It stands for Bike Manufacturing Company, and it is based in Switzerland”, Julien explained. Indeed, Founded in 1994, BMC has from the outset focused on creating speed. From its headquarters in Switzerland, BMC has spent decades building the cycle sport, pushing technologies to their limits. This clearly shows…

The starting number is carefully attached the evening before the race…

BMC has won races of all varieties, defined new categories, as well as maintained its reputation as a technological and engineering powerhouse. BMC wrote its way into history by supplying bikes for the world’s top athletes, winning races such as the Tour de France, the Time Trial and Road World Championships, as well as the Olympic Road Race. In 2021 the brand suppors the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. What I saw in the bus was the flagship “Teammachine SLR”, but BMC has also at the disposal of the team its “Aero Timemachine Road” and the time trial specific “Timemachine” models.

The workhorse for the E3 Saxo Bank Classic race…the Teammachine SLR.

I show you here a photo of the “Teammachine SLR.” It has indeed won every major title that a bike can win including Monuments, World Championships, Olympic Games and the Tour de France. Gone for instance are the classic brake cables, disk brakes are now the norm, and everything is now commanded hydraulically. The brake & shift levers are built by Campagnolo, as are the cassette, the chain, the pulley wheel. Also the front and rear brakes are “Super Record Discs” stemming from the Italian manufacturer.

The super important dérailleur is the “Super Record EPS 12 speed” also built by Campagnolo. The wheels are Campagnolo “Bora” wheels. The tires are coming from Pirelli, and are P Zero / Cinturato’s.

Pirelly tires and Campagnolo wheels…

The frame, the fork, the seatpost, handlebar and stem are built by BMC.

By optimizing tube shapes, core centre stiffness, revising the carbon layout and utilizing a brand-new one-piece bar and stem cockpit, BMC has updated the bike for 2021 and beyond.

The all-important physical condition and food…

Did you know that the AG2R CITROËN team has not less than four doctors at its disposal, on top of that two physiotherapists, and next to that a psychologist & mental coach and a psycho practitioner? Then we have said nothing about the nutrition: there is a nutritionist and a micro-nutritionist and there are no less than five cooks!

Foor and last but not least enegry gels and drinks are most important during the race…

Indeed, nutrition and drinking is most important. Did you know for instance that competition cycling makes one lose about 1 liter of sweat per hour and one burns about 75-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour? So the competitors have to drink at least 600 ml of a kind of Isotonic Sports Drink per hour, divided into 4x 125 ml (every 15 min). In this way, one has the right support for fluids, as well as a replenishment of carbohydrate reserves.

After two to three hours, it is necessary to take in some solid food, and so energy bars come in the picture. Of course, in the race, most often one has no time to do this, so the competitors take so-called “energy gels”, which is a highly concentrated carbohydrates syrup. Drink gels are mostly preferred, as they are mixed with the right amount of water, so it is ready to drink.

Julien Duval holding here the energy drinks, together with the aluminum bag of energy gel, for the team cyclists during the race…at the “point de ravitaillement”

So our host Julien led us through the bus with the food and the energy drinks, and also took care of us during the race the next day, where he drove us to the important vantage points, to take along these energy drinks for the necessary ravitaillement of the team racers…

After the finish, a so-called recovery drink is also necessary, and indeed one should thoroughly re-hydrate. After two hours a good meal is also de rigueur…

Besides riding in the race itself, training is also most important. The team has no less than six sport assistants and two osteopaths.

The AG2R CITROËN TEAM… and the race.

As said, on the race day we were driven by Julien himself to the start of the E3 Saxo bank Classic race at Harelbeke, then to several vantage points on the course.

The race was won by Wout van Aert, with his team mate Christophe Laporte arriving at the finish hand in hand alongside him, but graciously allowing Wout van Aert to win the race.  

The (E3 Harelbeke) is by the way an annual cycling race with start and finish in Harelbeke. The 130 miles long race is actually a preparation race for the Tour of Flanders. The route is shorter, but many of the mythical climbs of the Tour of Flanders are also found in the E3 Saxo Bank Classic.

The crucial moment: Wout van Aert and team mate Christophe Laporte cross the finish line…

The conditions with the famous Belgian cobblestones and steep climbs are very similar. The route takes us through East Flanders including 12 hills. Since 2012 the route includes the mythical “Muur van Geraardsbergen.” Spectacular indeed!

Last but not least, let’s turn to the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. Everything started in 1992, when Vincent Lavenu made his dream of creating a professional cycling team a reality. In 1997, AG2R Prévoyance joined in this great project as a co-partner alongside Casino before becoming its main sponsor in 2000. From 2008 to 2020, the cycling team wore the colors of AG2R LA MONDIALE. Since January 2021, they have been writing new pages in the team’s history, now under the name “AG2R CITROËN TEAM”. Indeed, then Citroën became a partner, and according to Vincent Cobée – General manager of CITROËN, “the first year of partnership was a year of learning which allowed us to discover the incredible universe of cycling.”

It was also incredible for us, and we learned a lot!

The love for the cycle sport is overwhelming in Flanders. The race was about men on their bikes, but this female cycle amateur who watched the E3 Saxo Bank Classic at the finish line was for me the woman of the race!

We let you look at the photos here, and just discover a unique world with us!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The new Peugeot 308 SW is now on our roads, and the Alfa Tonale also ready for ordering…

At the moment of writing, we are driving the impressive 360 HP Peugeot 508 SW Plug-in Hybrid, and enjoy this superb sporty car to the full. But there is more pleasant news: the new PEUGEOT 308 SW comes to our shores, and has plenty to offer: it offers space with a length of 4.64 meters and wheelbase of 2.73 meters. It has only a Cx value of 0.277 and a SCx value of 0.618 m2, resulting in impressively low CO₂ emissions and fuel consumption.

Of course it is practical with numerous interior storage compartments and a large center console, has  split (40/20/40) folding rear seats with control from the loadspace floor with two height positions and automatic opening and closing tailgate for easy access when the driver’s hands are full.

The luggage compartment is 608 liters to a maximum of 1,634 liters with the rear seats folded.

Like the new PEUGEOT 308, the new PEUGEOT 308 SW offers the new and improved PEUGEOT i-Cockpit®, which we also enjoy in the 508 SW.

This means a new compact steering wheel, equipped with controls and steering wheel heating, eye-level three-dimensional digital headset with a 10-inch digital display, new infotainment system PEUGEOT i-Connect® Advanced with the typical operation and environment of a smartphone.

But that is not all good news from the stellantis front.

Alfa Romeo is pleased to announce that from March 25, orders can be placed for the new Tonale model, in its exclusive launch version “EDIZIONE SPECIALE”.

A very special configuration for the first customers, packed with technology and connectivity, characterized by the typical sportiness of Alfa Romeo.

The Tonale “EDIZIONE SPECIALE” is available in a hybrid configuration with a 1.5 liter 4-cylinder engine producing 130 hp, combined with the new 7-speed dual clutch transmission, with an integrated “P2” electric motor (48 volts, 15 kW , 55 Nm), which can drive the wheels even when the internal combustion engine is turned off.

The Tonal “EDIZIONE SPECIALE” is available through financing by FCA Bank at monthly installments of €279 per month* and at the same price in the main European markets.

Alfa offers also peace of mind for the customer: 5-year warranty throughout Europe and special mobility services through Leasys.

Last but not least, product quality and commercial offering is designed for maximum long-term value retention.

As we said earlier, Alfa offers with its Tonale a new digital customer experience, with the possibility to be one of the first to discover and order Tonale, both at home and at the dealer.

The Tonale is Alfa’s first car with an NFT certificate. Based on blockchain technology and uniquely linked, it certifies the car at the time of purchase and then evolves to archive its use during its lifecycle, with great benefits in terms of residual value protection.

More Peugeot and Alfa news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) and Alpine create a hydrogen concept car…  

Students at the Italian Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) presented the ‘A4810 Project by IED’, their new concept car made in collaboration with Alpine. The result of this collaboration between the Italian design school and Alpine is a hydrogen-powered two-seater supercar.

Twenty-eight Masters students studying Transportation Design at IED worked on the project.

Alpine proposed the students to design a ‘super berlinette’ for the year 2035. The two-seater supercar was designed to be a high-performing vehicle both in terms of performance and environmental impact.

After the brief was given last autumn, students worked individually to come up with their own interpretation and present it to the Alpine designers. Alpine then selected a combination of two main ideas. Based on the two selected proposals, the young designers created the ‘A4810 Project by IED’: a light yet powerful and agile concept car that boasts pure driving pleasure.

During the design phase, the students sought to combine vision and innovation, without losing sight of the traditional roots of the French car manufacturer.

Furthermore, they chose a name that conveyed the brand’s legacy. In fact, ‘4810’ is the height (in meters) of the Mont Blanc: the highest and most emblematic peak in the Alps that sits at the border between Italy and France, like a bridge connecting IED and Alpine. The car manufacturer is named after the very same mountains and evokes the joy of driving along their winding roads.

A STUNNING LOOKING CONCEPT CAR

The Alpine A4810 Project by IED (length 5,091 mm – width 2,010 mm – height 1,055 mm – wheelbase 2,717 mm) is a two-seater supercar with the experimental combination of the shape of a berlinette with a hydrogen powertrain.

While the engine and fuel tanks are built like those on a typical hypercar, the subtraction process is proof of considerable innovation. The design alternates between empty and full spaces, giving the vehicle a lightweight look and aerodynamic features inspired by Formula 1 models. Furthermore, the A4810 Project by IED was tasked with bringing the brand to the cusp of the sports car category.

The team of students used digital tools to design the interior through sketches, 3D models, renderings, animations, and HMI (Human Machine Interface) development.

The A4810 Project by IED was presented on Friday, 18th March with a livestream broadcast from OGR Tech in Turin. For more info, please visit www.iedA4810.makeitlive.it.

Just click your way to Alpine’s sporty future, and in the meantime, have a look at the photos…!

Hans Knol ten Bensel