Martin Ward, CAP’s manufacturer relationship manager, scours the globe for the week’s insider fleet intelligence.
Went over to Munich for the day to drive two new cars. Audi has introduced two new engines into the TT range. The first I drove was the diesel TDI – we’ve waited a long time for it and, yes, it has been worth the wait.
After around three miles I had to stop, get out and look at the badge on the boot just to make sure it was a diesel. It is quiet, quick and responsive and makes a sporty exhaust noise.
When in the car, there is no real hint it is a diesel except when on the autobahn.
The TT TDI is priced from £26,350.
It should prove to be a very popular choice with fleets and be in demand from used car buyers for many years.
It is not possible to quote an accurate mpg figure as the on-board computer was reading in litres per 100km, but I reckon that at reasonably high speeds it achieved around 45mpg – good effort all-round.
I also drove the TTS – a 272bhp 2.0-litre turbo FSI petrol model that goes from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds.
Yes, it’s very fast and looks great, but the diesel TT overshadows it in all departments.
Down to Warwickshire to drive the updated Alfa Romeo Brera S – a limited edition version which has been tuned by motorsport specialists Prodrive for British roads.
Only two petrol engines will be available – a 2.2-litre with 185bhp and a 3.2-litre V6 with 260bhp.
The S is expected to be priced around £25,000, which is £1,500 more than the JTS it is based on, but you do get leather upholstery, larger alloy wheels and a few other goodies.
It looks good value and suddenly makes the standard car appear expensive.
Last year, Alfa sold 850 Breras in the UK.
Prodrive has given the Brera much-improved stability and handling – something it should have had when it was launched.
We also had a presentation on the compact Alfa Mi.To, which is due early-2009.
It is 4.06m long, compared to a MINI at 3.70m.
The name Mi.To currently has a full-stop in the middle of it, but hopefully this will be lost before launch as it could interfere with data systems and the internet.
The name comes from two cities in Italy – Milan and Torino (Turin to us).
It will be available only as a three-door.
A couple of weeks ago the banks had an injection of £50 billion from the Bank of England – it sounds a lot, but is it?
If there was a crisis in money supply in the motor industry, and who’s to say there isn’t, how far would that £50 billion go?
It isn’t really that much.
The average price of all the cars on sale in the UK works out at £23,800, so £50 billion would buy around two million ‘average’ new cars, which is not enough to finance the total supplied every year.
Then look at all the used cars bought in the UK and the amount needed to finance all of those is a massive amount of money.
If motor finance firms find themselves in the same position as house market lenders, they will need a huge injection of money to keep the wheels turning to finance all the new and used cars.