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

The Brazilian market gets the new Abarth Pulse…

The Scorpion brand’s first SUV will be exclusive to the LAT(in)AM(erican) region, at least for the time being.  

The reason is simple: the Abart Pulse is manufactured and developed in Brazil.

After the Stilo Abarth in 2002 and the iconic Abarth 500 in 2014, the new Abarth Pulse marks an important turning point in the brand’s global development plans, going beyond the European and Asian borders, and spreading now throughout the world, offering its fans a specific model dedicated to South America.

“Abarth’s return to the Latin American market is a source of great pride for us – declared Olivier Francois, FIAT & Abarth Chief Executive Officer and Global Chief Marketing Officer of Stellantis -.

“The characteristics of performance and style, which have always distinguished Abarth, remain intact and will offer a true Abarth experience to our fans across the ocean.” He continued.  “The Abarth Pulse is only the beginning and we want to keep completing the family. We couldn’t be more delighted by the positive momentum created in Latin America first by the Fiat Pulse and now by the Abarth Pulse.”

The brand has planned a series of initiatives to consolidate the relationship with the many admirers of the Scorpion overseas.

It starts with a digital (marketing) platform through which they can discover the news related to the model and the brand. This will be followed by the creation of dedicated spaces at Fiat dealerships in the country, where customers can learn more about the purchase of Abarth models thanks to specialized sellers.

Will the Pulse come to our shores? Maybe, or will we see another Abarth SUV for our market? Will it maybe a BEV or PHEV? Only the future will tell…

What we know is that the Abarth is based on the Fiat Pulse, which was developed under the codename Project 363. The car is built on the MLA platform which in turn is based on an improved platform used by the Argo hatchback.

The MLA platform, dedicated to the South American market

We read more about this MLA (Modular Architecture) platform in the specialized press.

Fiat has indeed launched a completely new modular platform in the spring of 2021—for its cars in Brazil.

It is of course in the cards that this and current Fiat/Jeep small car platforms will be merged with Peugeot’s CMP to form a completely new Stellantis small car platform (STLA-Small) which can accommodate gasoline-powered, hybrid-electric, battery-electric, and hydrogen fuel cell power along with either front or all wheel drive.

The rollout of these STLA platforms will begin in late-2023 with a top-down approach. This means beginning with the STLA large platforms for segments D and E. The dedicated BEV-focused platform for the segments A, b and C will be launched only in 2026.

So for the time being the car will be seen in Brazil… but one never knows!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

BMW presents details of the future BMW 7 Series

The distinctive grille of the new 7 series will get an extra light signature…

At the BMW Group Annual Conference held on March 16, Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Development, presented the first details of the future BMW 7 Series.

The focus lies initially on technology highlights, a new front-end design based on hallmark BMW design features and a unique interior experience consisting of digital features and exclusive materials. In April, BMW will present the all-electric BMW i7, and with it the entire new BMW 7 Series.

In the BMW i7, the characteristic design elements of twin round headlights and BMW grille have been completely reinterpreted. Some of the special design statements are upper light elements made of exclusive crystal glass and the illuminated contour of the kidney grille.

BMW developed also a new “My Modes” and the latest generation of the iDrive operating system. My Modes enable the driver to precisely customise the car’s driving characteristics and interior ambience. In addition to the BMW Curved Display, a new type of light and function strip on the instrument panel and the doors provides a visual and haptic quality.

The BMW Interaction Bar is part of the ambient lighting and also features integrated control buttons. In addition, the newly developed Sky Lounge panoramic glass roof adds to the feeling of spaciousness.

Cinema entertainment for the rear passengers…

The rear of the BMW i7 sets new entertainment standards offering a unique cinematic experience. There is a BMW Theatre Screen, which moves out of the roof liner, an ultra-wide screen with a 31 inch screen, 32 : 9 panoramic display format and 8K streaming resolution. It transforms the rear seats into an exclusive, private cinema lounge where passengers can select their personal entertainment programme from a diverse range of streaming offers!

More BMW news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Hyundai Ioniq 5: an EV beyond your expectations…  

The Ioniq 5 is elegant with its retro-futuristic style…

There are cars which make a mark in history. Such a car is certainly also the Ioniq 5. In the EV-segment, its retro-futuristic style make it really stand out. This also goes for the interior. Brimming with superb and clever solutions, the Ioniq 5 is nothing less than a game changer. It is the first car for me where you really get the feeling of driving a car of the future, and this is already by just looking at the graphics of the instruments in front of you.

Behind the wheel, the future smiles at you

And then we have said nothing about the way you sit in it, what space you have and how it drives, handles and performs…and how much it (only) costs.  It moves boundaries, for sure. Just read on.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Hyundai created for its electric cars a proper sub-brand: Ioniq. Now it has created the car which can justifiably be called the iconic ambassador of this brand: de Ioniq 5. This uniquely styled car (we truly love it) is classified as a CUV, or Crossover Utility Vehicle.

It runs on a totally new, dedicated platform, which Hyundai has specially developed for its electric cars. The so-called Electric Global Modular Platform or E-GMP. This platform comprises the chassis of the vehicle including the battery, motor and power electric system, and its scalable wheelbase allows it to form the backbone of many different vehicles. Indeed, Hyundai has great plans with it: it will underpin the Ioniq 6, which will be launched in the middle of this year. This will be an electric sports limousine. Then followed in 2024 by the Ioniq 7, a “classic” large SUV.

When it comes to EV’s, Hyundai is ambitious. It wants to have a technological top position in the EV-market by 2025. All this doesn’t seem to be unrealistic. The Hyundai Kona already impresses with impressive EV efficiency.

The electronic architecture of this platform also sets new benchmarks. Its 800V charging capability enables super-fast charging. In just five minutes the battery can charge enough for a range of 100km, and that is one of the very strong points of this Ioniq. With a 350-kW charger, the IONIQ 5 can charge from 10% to 80% in just 18 minutes.

But there are more advantages offered by this platform. It enables total freedom in vehicle design. Designed exclusively for BEV’s, it has no transmission tunnel at all. A completely flat floor is an ideal playground for (interior) designers. So explains Vice President of design, Haksoo Ha: “The innovative platform means we can design for greater productivity in transit,” and “Seats reclining to a near-horizontal will provide a ‘zero gravity’ experience and will open up endless configuration opportunities.”

Indeed, the front seats convert into first class sleeping seats. Ideal when on a longer evening trip you can take a power nap when your Ioniq is quickly recharging to bring you home…  

There is no transmission tunnel, the front centre console can be moved backward, so front legroom is also limitless sideways.

Also in the back there is ample legroom, last but not least because of the Ioniq’s long 3 meter wheelbase. With the absence of the transmission tunnel, it seats three grownups relatively comfortable at the rear. The back seat can also be inclined and moved fore and aft! Indeed, the well proportioned and elegant Ioniq is big. It is 4,64 meters long, and 1,89 meter wide. Its boot offers 531 l space in standard setup, and with the rear backrests down, a maximum space of 1591 l is available.

Under the front hood, above the electric motor, you find a neat box with its lid having the appearance of an engine cover. When you drive the two wheel version of the Ioniq 5, this box offers 57 liters, with the 4WD version this is “only” 24 liters.

But let’s turn to the stylish dashboard. Notwithstanding its futuristic clean architecture with two wide screens, it is surprisingly intuitive to use, and you really don’t need an instruction manual to put all its functions to work. Beneath the central touchscreen you find the heating/ventilation functions, with classic buttons and controls.

Under the hood…

The E-GMP platform allows a wide choice of drivetrain combinations. The Ioniq 5 can be had with one or two electric motors, resulting in rear wheel drive or 4WD as the second motor drives the front wheels, and two battery capacities, 58 or 72,6 kW respectively.

Total available power ranges from 125 kW/170 HP to 225 kW/, with the top version accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 5,2 seconds. Top speed is for all the power versions limited to 185 km/h.

Our test car had the 160 kW/217 HP engine, developing 350 Nm of torque. This resulted in an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 7,4 seconds, coupled with the 72,6 kW battery. Consumption according to WLTP standards is 16,8 kWh/100 km, with a range of some 481 km. Range anxiety is in the light of the fast recharging capacities a thing of the past…

On a 101 km triip with dense traffic at varying speeds, we clocked a consumption of 16,1 kWh…

The larger battery also allows you to tow greater loads, up to 1600 kg for our test car…

Did you know that the Ioniq 5 also has a 230 V external plug adapter? It’s so-called “V2L” function in the car can also supply up to 3.6 kW of power. So when you are out in the open, and want to charge your laptop or use a spot light or portable fridge or recharge the battery of your electric bike, the Ioniq 5 helps you out…

The Ioniq 5 has of course the usual driving modes, from Eco to sport, and you have also two paddles at the steering wheel which allow you to choose the degree of E-recuperation when you lift the throttle. During our test, we used mostly the level 3 position, which we felt delivered the right deceleration, and with some experience, we managed to drive around town and on the open road without ever touching the brake pad pedal at all…

Driving is (again) believing…

Driving with the Ioniq 5 is nothing short of delightful. Twist the ring on the selector stick a click forward in “D” and there you go. The Head-up-Display with Augmented-Reality-Function is ultra visible and shows what you need to know. Progress is silent and smooth. The suspension is also quite comfortable, and the Ioniq seems literally to float over the road surface. Body roll is virtually absent and the suspension is not too soft either, but copes rather well with potholes and ridges.

This is your ideal mount for long urban and/or Gran Turismo trips. Handling is also much more precise and nimble than one would expect from a two-tonne car, but the low gravity point of the battery package results in impeccable and stable cornering. We found also the lane assist functioning very smoothly, and we liked also the electronic displays of blind spots when you operate the left or right indicator. A wonderful solution!

The Ioniq 5 is large, but just be surprised with us, this Ioniq offers distance parking! Just press the symbol on the key, and the Ioniq 5 will sweetly drive itself into or out of a narrow parking space. 

The superb smoothness and acoustic refinement of the Ioniq is further enhanced with a superb Bose audio system, and Classic Music and Jazz buffs as we are, our ears also enjoyed every ride…

Conclusion

Style, grace, space, this Ioniq has it all; add to this the panache in the design details of headlamps and rear lights, in ’80 retro futuristic fashion. It really stands out.

Also the 20 inch alloys are elegant and aerodynamically efficient. This Hyundai has been carefully thought out, is wonderfully designed with no detail being overlooked. Add to this the efficient motors, the impressive recharging capacity, the generous space, and you understand our enthusiasm. You will also be smiling when you see the price of the Ioniq 5 in whatever version you choose.

Hard to beat? We should think so. Except maybe by the Kia EV6, running on the same platform and using the same technology, which we are driving at the moment of writing, and of which you will also read our driving impressions soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel    

On international Women’s Day, MINI celebrates Pat Moss, MINI winner of the international Tulip Rallye in ’62… with a special edition.  

Competition is embedded in the MINI DNA: the greatest feats in the brand’s history were achieved on the rally track. And the foundation for all this was laid by an exceptional female driver. In May 1962, the classic Mini was added to the list of winners of an international rally event for the first time. In the international Tulip Rally – from the Dutch municipality of Noordwijk to the French Riviera and back again – Pat Moss achieved the best time over the distance in the classic Mini Cooper.

60 years later, MINI celebrates the talent, courage and passion of this British woman racing driver with a fascinating special edition. The Pat Moss Edition of the MINI 3-door and MINI 5-door, limited to just over 800 vehicles, not only commemorates the launch of the classic Mini’s extraordinary sporting career, it also marks a pioneering achievement for female power in motorsports. Success in the Netherlands turned the classic Mini, Pat Moss and her co-driver Ann Wisdom into enduring heroines in a discipline otherwise dominated by significantly larger vehicles and entirely the preserve of men.

The Pat Moss Edition will be available from May 2022 for the MINI Cooper S 3-door and the MINI Cooper S 5-door and the MINI John Cooper Works. The exclusive design of the edition models cites the racing history of the British premium brand as well as the sporting careers of Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom.

It also incorporates MINI product innovations such as the Multitone Roof. What is more, an additional variant of the Multitone Roof is available for the first time in the Pat Moss Edition. The colour gradient of the vehicle roof extends from Chilli Red to Melting Silver and Jet Black. With the innovative paint finishing process fully integrated in production at the MINI plant in Oxford, this will be the first time a second colour variant has been realised. Minimal deviations in the colour pattern caused by changing environmental conditions ensure that every MINI with a Multitone Roof has the character of a unique specimen ex works. On the new edition models, the charismatic roof paintwork is combined with the body finishes Pepper White or Midnight Black metallic and also red exterior mirror caps.

A stylised tulip symbolises the first rally victory: it appears on the C pillars and side scuttles of the edition vehicles along with the inscription “Pat Moss”. The wheel hub covers also feature an exclusive design with a graphic which is based on the outline of the typical Dutch flower and the MINI wordmark.

The key facts of the 1962 Tulip Rally appear below the side scuttles on the front side panels: the route Noordwijk – Monte Carlo – Noordwijk, the distance of 2 500 kilometres, the vehicle, namely a Mini Cooper, and its starting number 104. These are supplemented with the slogan that still applies to MINI to this day: “born to compete”. The tulip motif, the name inscription and the key facts about the first every rally win are also to be found on the screen-printed aluminium door sill trims designed exclusively for the edition model.

Another design element used for the first time in the Pat Moss Edition is the horizontally aligned bonnet stripe in white. The printed combination of three-dimensional numbers and letters – 737 ABL – is the registration number of the classic Mini that won the 1962 Tulip Rally, likewise recalling the historical model. Meanwhile the original signature that Pat Moss wrote on the bonnet of her car after one of her victories adorns the front apron of the edition model as a graphic imprint.

In the interior of the edition vehicles, the iconic signature on the Piano Black interior surface in the passenger area is another tribute to the revolutionary woman rally driver, who passed away in 2008. The sports leather steering wheel bears the edition emblem in the form of a tulip graphic which appears on the clip of the lower spoke. The abstract depiction of engine pistons moving up and down serves as the motif for a graphic on the interior surface on the driver’s side. With bars of different heights forming the shape of the letters “M” and “W” – standing for “Moss” and “Wisdom” – they symbolise that perfectly coordinated duo that caused a sensation in the rally scene for so many years.

The MINI Pat Moss Edition is a tribute to a female racing pioneer, MINI’s rally history and true team spirit. One of the remarkable details of the first rally triumph for the classic Mini is the fact that Ann Wisdom insisted on taking part in the Tulip Rally despite being pregnant at the time: she went on to provide her team mate Pat Moss with unerring navigation guidance over the 2 500 kilometre route.

Mossie and Wizz – as they were known in the paddock – formed a successful duo for seven years. The two women had the courage to compete in a male-dominated sport – and they brought about fundamental changes, too. The younger sister of Formula 1 driver Stirling Moss, Pat Moss also won the Sestriere Rally in Italy in 1968, achieved a podium finish in numerous other international competitions and was crowned European Ladies’ Rally Champion five times. Ann Wisdom is considered the first professional woman co-driver in the history of rallying. As successful sportswomen in their own right, the two viewed their courageous foray into a male-dominated domain with typical British understatement. “We didn’t see ourselves as pioneers back then,” said Ann Wisdom years later. “We were just entering a rally.”

Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom paved the way for an extraordinary career for the classic Mini. In 1964, 1965 and 1967, the British small car secured outright victory in the Monte Carlo Rally. Decades later, MINI became the dominant brand in the world’s toughest endurance rally, achieving overall victory in the Dakar Rally four times in a row from 2012 to 2015. Two more overall victories followed in 2020 and 2021.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Opel Grandland Plug-in Hybrid: electrified with style and punch…

In the stormy February days, the new Opel Grandland stood admirably its ground against the elements…

My love affair with Opel really dates a long time back. To 1968, to be exact. As a university student studying law and economics, I replaced my father on a press trip in the South of France to test the sleek Opel 1900 GT fastback two seater. It was designed by Opel stylist Erhard Schnell, who had taken the ’67 Corvette as a model, and had the 1,9 litre single overhead cam four cylinder under its long bonnet. I remember driving it with verve over the twisty roads of the Massif de l’Estérel, as I did now with the DS9. It was bullet fast and nimble to me, as I remember it.

The Opels then had already plenty of panache and character. Then came the Commodore GS Coupés, the Manta’s, even the big Admirals and V8 Diplomats. They were appealing, rock solid and fast. All this good qualities came back at the wheel of the Opel Grandland Hybrid.

The “Blitz” or lightning still adorns the Opel emblem…

Stylish, with the new Opel Vizor front grille, the Opel has a distinctive and very clean, contemporary character. The dashboard and infotainment displays are an example of less is more, and indeed are just “right” for everyday driving. It also embodies the no nonsense approach of Opel. But it is mostly in the way this Grandland steers and drives that my good Opel memories came back. It invites you to adopt an active driving style, due to its overall responsiveness and handling. Again the car also feels solid and well built, for years to come, is roomy and has this unmistakable Opel “no nonsense” character.  But just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Dual tone paintwork and the glass panorama roof on our test car add panache…

The elegant Grandland rolls of the Opel assembly lines in Eisenach, and certainly pleases from any angle. Your servant liked especially the dual tone paintwork, also a typical hallmark of the Grandland…

The stylish Vizor front grille houses high-tech, such as the adaptive IntelliLux LED® Pixel Light. The light focus is adapted to every bend and corner, the beam has always the optimum range and cuts out uncoming traffic in seconds. While we are talking about the electronic wizardry in this Opel, let’s continue a bit on this subject.

The Vizor front grille houses the adaptive IntelliLux LED® Pixel Light.

Indeed, this Opel also includes Night Vision. This system is found amongst others also on the DS4. The system’s infrared camera detects people and animals up to 100 metres ahead of the Grandland in the direction of travel, based on their temperature difference from the surroundings. Night Vision warns the driver and shows the position of pedestrians, for example, in the digital Driver Info Center in the new “Pure Panel.” See also how the system works on YouTube, link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djieXHE9iBM&list=RDCMUCSr5PuKiJ5Zi00zfsiT-7jA&index=1

Also new in combination with 8-speed automatic transmission is Highway Integration Assist. The adaptive cruise control will brake to a standstill if necessary. Thanks to “Stop & Go”, the Grandland with Highway Integration Assist will also automatically resume driving from this standstill.

Intuitive and relaxing: The Opel Pure Panel cockpit.

The customizable screen in front of the driver gives you to the point information…

Two wide screens in a single unit form the Opel Pure Panel. There is the so called “Driver info Center”, a 12 inch screen right in front of you, and a 10 inch central touchscreen which is also turned towards the driver. Of course, the two screens can be personalized to your taste. In the driver’s central field of vision, there are now menu entries for the new Night Vision camera as well as for drowsiness warning, oil temperature and on-board computer settings.

The centre display can show the energy flow, but also the eSave function and charging as well as consumption statistics…

Further details on audio or navigation, which were previously only displayed on the infotainment system monitor, can now also be selected via the Driver Info Center, and on the Hybrid version we tested, the display of the energy flow can also be seen on the display straight ahead of you.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible multimedia infotainment systems up to Multimedia Navi Pro is of course also available.

We loved the “less is more” approach in the screen layouts, and the intuitive way everything could be used.

Behind the wheel…

A smooth 8 speed auto box and the choice between three drive modes: “Electric”, “Hybrid”, “Sport”

Stepping into the Grandland SUV is a breeze as it sits a bit higher, and you are welcomed in ergonomic active seats for drivers and front passengers certified by the “Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.” (campaign for healthy backs). Indeed, they support you very well, and offer a wide range of adjustments, from electric seat tilt to electro-pneumatic lumbar support. They offer heating and in the leather trim even ventilation.

The Hybrid Grandland has, as we said, the same 8 speed auto box we find in the DS E-Tense versions for example, and this is a smooth one indeed. It is mated here to the also familiar four cylinder 1598 cc engine we find back in other Stellantis Group models, delivering here an impressive 133 kW/180 hp at a sporty 6000 rpm.

A total system power of 165 kW…

But of course, the Hybrid is assisted by an electric motor driving the front wheels, developing 81.2 kW/110 hp @ 2500 rpm. Total system power is 165 kW/224 hp, which is even 15 hp more than the 1964 3,4 litre six cylinder Jaguar Mk II which I now own for almost 40 years. You can understand that the performance is nothing short of exhilarating: 0 to 100 km/h is absolved in 8,9 seconds, top speed is 225 km/h, with 135 km/h reached on the electric motor alone.

Overall liveliness is however even more the result from the massive torque the Opel driver has at his or her disposal: the 1,6 litre direct injection turbo engine is already good for 300 Nm at 3000 rpm, but it is of course the electric motor developing 320 Nm over a broad range between 500 and 2500 rpm which makes all the difference. This pulling power is smoothly transferred to the front wheels by the automatic transmission, and this makes this Opel an absolute joy to drive, whether in tight urban traffic or on open winding roads. We rediscovered the Opel DNA, and absolutely loved it. The engine is barealy audible, only a subdued sporty roar is heard when one is pushing (very) hard.

Driving this 1,8 tonne car enthusiastically in “sport” mode costs energy, and therefore the test consumption suffered somewhat. Making rather dynamic (urban) errands cost us some 8 litres/100 km, topped with some extra kW’s in the process, but suffice to say that the consumption of a plug-in Hybrid depends greatly how you use it and recharge it, we said this already so many times. You can of course choose between different driving modes (“Electric”, “Hybrid”, “Sport”), and when you frequently recharge your Grandland, you will hardly consume any fuel at all. If the driver shifts the automatic transmission to drive mode B, this recuperation and the braking torque are further intensified, and there is also an “E-save” function which allows you to save the battery power to use it later when driving/entering in town areas.  The function can be set via the colour touchscreen of the infotainment system.

According to WLTP, the fuel consumption is 1.8-1.3 l/100 km, kWh consumption lies between 17.5-15.0. The E-range varies between 64-53 km. CO2 emisisions vary between 41-29 g/km. The Hybrid version has a lithium-ion battery with 13.2 kWh capacity. Charging time at an AC household socket with mode 2 cable is some 7 h 30 min.

The suspension is taut without being uncomfortable, conveying this typical “German car” feel, or, shall we say “Opel” character? It is quite busy on our bad Belgian and Flemish roads, which manage to have much pore potholes, ridges and irregularities than (many) other European countries. The result of the rather firm setup is that this Opel steers precise, and invites you to a dynamic driving style. On motorways the Opel Grandland is masterfully stable, and really feels in its element.

Practical

Opels are made to excel in daily (family) use, and offer the roominess to do it. Boot capacity varies between 390-1528 litres. You can order a sensor-controlled tailgate that can be opened and closed by a movement of the foot under the rear bumper. Here, too, the unlocking settings and opening angle of the power tailgate can be customised via the corresponding menus in the colour touchscreen. Doorbins are large, and also the central console offers good stowaway possibilities.

The Opel Grandland is elegant with a clean, contemporary styling language…

Conclusion

The Grandland PHEV has all the good, iconic Opel qualities. Very practical and simple to use, it is inviting in its responsiveness and agility, giving you genuine driving pleasure every time you take the wheel. The performance is impressive, but altogether smooth and effortless. The Grandland feels taut and stable, the finish and quality of the materials used is impeccable, the car is practical, has this unique no nonsense character, and is on top of all that is very stylish indeed.

Hans Knol ten Bensel