Down to the Cotswolds to drive Audi’s new coupe, the A5. The current choice of coupes on the market is limited and dominated by the BMW 3 Series so it is always good to see another.
The A5 has enough room for four adults, and a boot big enough for their luggage. It looks great and has good residuals: a 3.0 TDI at £33,175 will be worth £14,275 or 43% of cost new in three years/60,000 miles. In the past you could expect Audi residuals to track a few points below BMW, but the gap is closing, and are similar with these coupes. Audi aims to sell 3,800 this year, 8,000 next year and 7,350 in 2009.
I sometimes wonder what carmakers’ thinking is when it comes to pricing. For example, take Hyundai’s new i30, which the firm expects to compete in the C sector. Prices start at £10,995 for a 1.4 Comfort, but then there’s a jump of £1,300 up to the 1.6-litre, which seems too much for an additional 200cc and 13bhp.
The i30 is built in Korea, although there are plans to build it in Europe in a couple of years. It is well put together, and is fully loaded with goodies. It drives OK, looks OK, but is nothing special and will be competing in a fierce sector. Hyundai have to start somewhere and at some time in this market, so the i30 is a good first attempt.
Compared to the extravagant Fiat 500 event in Turin which involved a cast of thousands last week, the launch of the new Renault Twingo was low-key. We got to drive the car around the east midlands, although we did venture on to the racetrack at Donington Park.
The Twingo will appeal to younger drivers, and with some finance offers that Renault wants to introduce it could be very affordable. It is a strict four-seater, but has a clever sliding seat system to either increase rear passenger room, or increase luggage room. Renaults see the competition as Ford Ka, Volkswagen Fox, Fiat Panda, C1/107 and Aygo, and the Fiat 500.
Over to Paris to drive the Peugeot 4007 – pronounced “four-thousand-seven”. If you say it any other way the Peugeot Brand Police will be round to give you a good talking to. The 4007 is built in Japan in co-operation with Mitsubishi, alongside the Outlander2 and Citroën C-Crosser. Peugeot’s share will be 20,000 for Europe, with around 2,000 of those coming to the UK. We drove the 4007 north of Paris on a variety of roads, and got the chance to try its 4x4 capabilities on a very tame off-road course. It went over the bumps, through shallow water and mud OK, but it’s not a true off-roader. This is Peugeot’s first venture into this sector of the market, so it does not have a customer base. Peugeot is dependant on current customers migrating from 407, and hoping to get conquest sales – but then everyone in the growing 4x4 market is.
Christian Peugeot, communications director for the world was there, so had chance to talk about Peugeot’s future models.