Archive | September, 2012

What features does the BMW 3 Series offer?

If you’re keen to get a new set of wheels, I really think you can’t go wrong with buying a BMW. Whatever you’re looking for from your next car – be it something sexy and sporty or a model that’s a little more practical – I’m fairly certain you’ll be able to find a BMW that’s right for you, especially if you look at the models within its 3 Series.

In fact, this particular range has been popular among motorists ever since its emergence in the 1970s and millions of them have been sold across the world. While we all want different things from our cars, the sheer variety of models in the 3 Series, I think, offers something for everyone as there are saloon, convertible and coupe models to choose from. Keep on reading to find out more about these motors and their features.


Do you need to have a vehicle with plenty of room? If you do, you’ll probably be looking to get a saloon so you have lots of space to transport luggage and passengers in comfort.

In this case, I think you should check out what the saloons under the 3 Series banner have to offer. The 316d ES, for example, has a variety of storage compartments, including bottleholders that are integrated into the door trims. The diesel-run vehicle also has an incorrect fuelling protection system and a central locking switch for all doors and luggage compartment.

Attend a BMW car auction in the search for a 3 Series saloon and you could come across the 320d Modern. This stylish vehicle has 17-inch alloy wheels, a TwinPower Turbo engine and hillstart assist, among many other features, so it’s ideal for those who need something that is practical but also offers plenty of performance.


If, like me, you like the sensation of taking to the open road with the wind blowing through your hair then having a convertible is a must. Admittedly, the British weather is hardly the best for driving with the roof down, but on the occasions when it is nice outside you should make the most of it.

Choose a 3 Series convertible and I think you’ll easily be able to do this, with the 335i SE coming with a 24-valve turbo engine and high-precision direct injection technology. With a maximum speed of 155 mph and hydraulic power-assisted steering, you certainly won’t find this car to be lacking in the power stakes.

Of course, convertibles aren’t always the cheapest vehicles around, so if you want something that’s a little more budget-friendly you might want to give the 320i SE a shot. This entry-level model doesn’t quite offer the same level of performance as the 335i SE, but as it reaches a top speed of 142 mph it’s still a wonderful choice.


Fancy getting a coupe? There’s more than a dozen 3 Series cars to choose from if you do, so there’s plenty of scope to get something suitable for your needs. One model I think you should definitely check out is the 325d Sport Plus, which has chrome twin tailpipes and automatic air-conditioning. This car’s pretty nippy too – it can go from zero to 62 mph in just 6.9 seconds – with M Sport suspension and 19-inch double-spoke alloys among its other features.

Get the 330i M Sport, meanwhile, and you can make use of dynamic brake lighting and electric power steering in a car that comes with a stunning Dakota leather upholstered interior.

Are you looking to buy a 3 Series BMW? If so, please leave a comment and tell us what model you’re thinking of getting!

Posted in Car ReviewsComments (0)

Top 5 lease options for your company

There are numerous car leasing deals out there for all kinds of businesses, but if you really want your employees to make the right impression while they’re representing your firm, I think you should consider one of the following five models to offer as a company car.

BMW 5 Series Touring 520d SE

When What Car? reviewed the latest models in the BMW 5 Series range, they selected this vehicle as the best of them, describing it as “an extremely good car”. The 5 Series also got picked as the third-best executive motor of 2012 by Auto Express.

So, what makes the vehicle stand out? As you might expect from a BMW, it is engineered and finished to a high quality, so you are practically guaranteed a comfortable, smooth and stylish drive.

Audi A4 TDIe

Audi has been making a name for itself as a great business car for some time now and, although it isn’t right at the top, it’s certainly not far off. Business Car Manager commended the Audi A4 TDIe in the best executive car category at its 2012 awards, while it also received an honourable mention in the 2011 Carbuyer awards.

Business Car Manager highlighted the car’s economical credentials – something that’s bound to be important if you pay mileage for your employees. Carbuyer also praised its eco-friendly engine, as well as drawing attention to its “impressive build quality and carefully-designed interior”.

BMW 3 Series

The new range of motors in the BMW 3 Series have come out on top at numerous motoring awards in the executive car category this year – including What Car?, Business Car Manager and Carbuyer. Described as the best compact executive vehicle on the market, this is certainly one to consider if you’re looking for new autos for your firm’s fleet.

Even the basic model has more than enough mod-cons to keep the most discerning businessperson happy, including Bluetooth connectivity and a driver performance control system. Choose one of the models equipped with BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology and you’ve got a ride that is economical as well as comfortable.

Mercedes-Benz C Class

The Mercedes-Benz C Class is another vehicle that has picked up nods at several car awards ceremonies this year for its credentials as an executive motor. Its style, performance and range of features that come as standard have all been highlighted as reasons why it deserves to be at the top.

Choosing one of the models fitted with the firm’s BlueEfficiency technology also makes the drive that bit more economical. Among the features included with this setup are an ECO start/stop function, lower displacement engines and lighter alloy wheels, all designed to improve the car’s fuel consumption.

Of course, all of this also translates into reduced running costs and more environmentally-friendly cars, all without compromising on performance, according to the automaker.

Hyundai i40

Moving away from the top-end executive models, there are plenty of excellent, more everyday cars available for companies to hire that work well as company vehicles. Among them is the Hyundai i40, which was named as the second-best company car by Automotive blog in 2012.

The website pointed out that the auto comes with “some truly premium design features”, is affordable, has low CO2 emissions and is fuel efficient, delivering 62.8 miles per gallon.

If you’ve recently signed up for a new business car leasing contract, tell us what model you opted for and why.

Posted in Auto BlogComments (0)

Paris Motor Show

Ahh, Paris. City of dreams; and never more so when the prestigious motor show comes to town and reveals our Autumn automotive surprises.

There has been talk for some time of a long-awaited replacement for the iconic E-Type Jaguar. Well, finally, it’s here. That’s it in the picture and boy, does it look good. To be honest there’s not much there to remind us of the legendary predecessor but it most certainly is a Jaguar. If the performance matches the looks then we’re in for a treat. The company are competing well on price too as this will cost from under £60k up to just shy of the £80k mark. For this market and against the known competition this appears to be good value.

The Paris Motor Show isn’t just a chance for car makers to unveil their super cars; it is also a market place for the more run-of-the-mill cars that most of us buy and there’s plenty of exciting new developments in this sector too.

Hyundai have really pushed the boat out with not one but three launches. There’s a three-door i30, a rally ready i20 – which heralds the brand’s return to the World Rally Championship in 2013 – and also a really exciting eco-car which successfully counters the range anxiety problem with EVs. It’s called the ix35 Fuel Cell. Powered by a lithium-polymer battery and a 100kW hydrogen fuel stack, this car should be good for 365 miles according to the company blurb. It is due to commence production late this year and initially will be available to fleet operators.

As ever, Ford are pitching some great new cars including a new version of the well received Kuga, a hybrid Mondeo and the B-Max. FIAT, SEAT and those new dynamos of automotive industry Dacia are all previewing new vehicles. Dacia, in particular, are showing the Sandero – so beloved by James May – the Logan (a family sized car) and the slightly odd Sandero Stepway which is described as a ‘charismatic adventurer’. Rugged.

There is much to appeal to all budgets at this years show. Manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to revive the ailing car industry by building cars that are featuring all the latest technology and safety devices as well as stunningly good design.

For those that like to dream though; as well as the Jag, there is also the Maserati Grancabrio MC, a car so beautiful it will make you fall in love with anyone standing near it, and another version of the Porsche Panamera – a car we are growing to like despite it’s unusual looks.

So, something for everyone then. If you can afford to buy a new car this year then you are definitely spoilt for choice.

Posted in Auto ShowsComments (0)

How to sell your car for parts

Whether you are looking to upgrade from an old banger to a classier ride or your car is no longer economically repairable due to damage or wear, selling your vehicle is not always feasible. While some dealerships offer trade-in prices for almost any vehicle, if you are buying privately or think that the offered trade-in value is less than you might make elsewhere, you might want to consider selling your car as a source of parts.

It might be worth having the vehicle assessed properly before you decide to do this, as cars that are not repairable may only have a limited number of decent parts, and larger traders, including scrap merchants, are unlikely to offer you much if this is the case.

Of course, if your car is in any way vintage or classic, parts will be in higher demand, and the unlikeliest pieces may have survived the years better than the car as a whole. A good check-up by a reputable mechanic will give you a fair assessment of the value of the parts, which are still in a good working condition.

Having established that there are at least some parts worth selling, you will need to decide how you want to sell them. Trading the vehicle to the garage that assessed it might be an option, if it specialises in your type of vehicle and would require the parts for future work.

Another option would be to sell the parts individually yourself through a trade part site or eBay. While this will take more time and effort, it would allow you to get closer to the full value for each part. It is important that you correctly label the part by make, model, type and condition. This will make it easier for prospective buyers to find your products when they search online. Take good quality photos of each part so the buyer can clearly see the condition.

Finally if you are still struggling to find a garage willing to take your car and decide against selling the parts yourself, you can always use a car breaker. While they may not offer you the best deal, it is the quickest and simplest option. Often they will collect the car themselves, which helps if your car is not fit for road use.

Importantly, you should make sure that any dealer or breaker you sell to is capable of disposing of any unused portions of the car to the correct environmental standards, as well as being prepared to process the relevant paperwork for the DVLA to ensure that you are not still the keeper of a car that no longer exists.


Posted in Auto BlogComments (8)

The Regulation of Signage and Ticketing Technology

That sounds important, doesn’t it? Well, it is. A Labour MP and all round superhero has put his pants on outside his trousers and plans to take on the rip-off rogues in our car parks. He is, like the general public, heartily sick of the tactics of dastardly parking operators and intends to do something about it.

His name is Nick Smith and he has introduced the above mentioned bill into Parliament. He believes that operators are making car park signs and systems and instructions as confusing as possible to mislead folk into making mistakes and getting their cars clamped.

This modern day avenger states that it is an easy matter to simplify these things and make the business of using a car park a straightforward and honest experience. It goes deeper than this. There has been a lot of fuss in the past about the size and clarity of signage and the subject’s been a mainstay of consumer broadcasting. Now though – and this is why Mr Smith is getting involved – this underhand behaviour appears to be rapidly developing into some form of industry-wide standard.

It seems that the landowner can trouser the hourly rate whilst the operator scoops up all the extras charges; so it stands to reason that the unscrupulous are likely to work towards increasing those extra charges to the max. Basically, the more confusing the signs, the more money will be raked in from unsuspecting drivers. Like a lot of things in modern day Britain, it is all a bit sickening. Everybody is fair game for everybody else. The person behind this new daylight robbery might well be your next door neighbour.

This private members bill was given an unopposed first reading but, and this is what usually happens, it will not make it into law because there will not be enough parliamentary time to debate and vote on it. Such is the fate of private members bills. The Commons spends so much time chewing over all the stuff put forward by HM Government – most of which will affect you about as much as the price of hamburgers in Tokyo – that it has no time to deal with easy to establish, sensible legislation which will actually aid the voters. This is how we carry on in this country and is why cheats always prosper. This too is a bit sickening.

Posted in Auto NewsComments (0)

Yet More Intrusive EU Proposals

Sometimes, the things people do beggar belief. It makes you wonder which planet they are from and sometimes it seems that politicians are at the forefront of ridiculous ideas; making up as they do legislation for legislations sake to justify their very existence. It’s not unreasonable to expect our ‘leaders’ to have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the world at large and yet it seems that they basically haven’t got a clue as to the true and serious possible outcomes of their crackpot schemes. They just don’t think it through.

Here’s the latest brilliant wheeze to come out of the European parliament in Brussels: Our lords and masters want to ensure that cars cannot be modified once they leave the factory and any changes to the original spec will be identified by way of a hugely altered MOT. Essentially, if their proposal extends to all cars on the road, any car that is so modified will be illegal.

Take the example of a classic car. New cars are safer and better made than ever before and many safety measures have been applied that would never have been possible even thirty years ago. What happens then if the owner of a classic car modifies it to improve safety by fitting, say, bigger or better brakes? Why, this would be illegal under the terms of this lunatic proposal.

Enthusiasts who change cars don’t do so lightly. They are usually responsible people who put safety first. If they add more power then they boost the brakes and so on. Illegal – if the mad-eyed proposers have their way. After-market rear-light clusters on an old Citroen Saxo to perk it up a bit? Illegal. Add your own further suggestions.

Nobody likes having the worry of an MOT and these days the test is pretty rigorous. Why on earth is it necessary to tinker with it further. The Eurocrats will say they have our safety at heart but, if they stopped and thought about it, they’d see that the manufacturers have made huge strides in this area. There is simply no need to interfere.

It will also cost jobs. For example, there exists a thriving classic car market and professional repair sector. Garages who specialise will be decimated simply because they cannot get original parts and resort to using new and usually better made after-market equivalents. Big auto part retailers will lose trade and many areas of the industry will be put at risk.

Needless to say, every motoring organisation is up in arms, as are car makers and anyone involved in the auto trade. Meanwhile, the Department for Transport – obfuscating in the way only politicians can do whilst back-peddling furiously like a clown on a unicycle – are saying that it is only a proposal at this stage and could be amended or even dropped ‘after consultation.’ Yeah, right.

Posted in Auto BlogComments (0)

Are We Paying Too Much For Fuel?

Is, you might equally ask, David Cameron a Conservative?

With the news that the Office of Fair Trading is having a look at pump prices and all the attendant ho-ha that goes with them it is not unreasonable to ask, ‘What took you so long?’

This august body will investigate by how much the price we pay is reflected in the price of crude oil and will also be checking up on suspected devious industry practices which allegedly are designed to favour oil companies and supermarkets against the small independent retailer. So far so good.

But, does anyone still really believe that the actions of the greedy financial markets in their oil trading trickery can have so much effect on the price we pay for a litre? The fact remains – as has recently been demonstrated – that even if the price of oil drops significantly the price at the pump changes hardly at all. This clearly shows that the oil companies know full well that if they keep the retail price high, they will make more money. It really is that cynical.

Nobody at the top of this industry or indeed at the top of government cares less about what the customer pays or thinks. Sure, they occasionally spout their weasel words about fair pricing and the like whilst at the same time giggling to themselves over another bottle of Bolly.

The Office of Fair Trading plans to consult with the industry, the various motoring bodies and consumer organisations to get at the facts, which should be blindingly obvious. Let’s hope the message gets through to the government – for starters – that might help prevent the additional 3p tax being added in January 2013. At this point the sensible advice would be to not hold your breath in hope.

In the same way that retail utility customers do not believe that our gas and electric bills are affected by short term fluctuations in the wholesale cost of power sources then the same applies to motor fuels. We are, quite simply, being taken for a ride.

Across the UK more and more people struggle to make ends meet. Big cars are losing ground and small economical new cars are picking up sales as motorists try to keep on the road. Those not in a position to get another car are keeping their old vehicles on the road for longer. Older used cars are in demand. Young drivers can’t afford to run a car at all.

The government thinks that the way to stimulate the economy is to build more houses as if their predecessors haven’t tried it before without achieving long-lasting success. Surely the way to stimulate growth would be to free up small businesses, enabling them to compete and lower taxation – including the astronomic cost of petrol – to allow the public to spend. Instead they pander to greed.

Posted in Auto NewsComments (0)

An Impression of Speed

And it came to pass that Man invented the automobile and saw that it was good. So pleased were those original car makers that they thought to themselves, y’know, we can do better. Thus began the drive to go faster and satisfy that need for speed. Forever after, the desire to go as quickly as possible has resulted in benefits for us in the form some rather splendid motors today.

Initially, the idea was to sit two terrified occupants behind a stonking great engine with a wheel on each corner. It was considered that such cars – like the 1929 Bentley Blower pictured – should not so much just push the air out of the way as brutalise it. Luxury road going cars and racers alike were designed to look butch – but in a manly way, obviously.

Then something happened. Something bad. With hindsight we can see that what came next has a sort of wearying inevitability to it, had we but known. Some charmless individual decided that all these gung-ho chappies were having far too much of a splendid time of it and had to be reined in by a few choice rules. The rest, as they say, is history.

A flawless example of a car such as the one featured in the snap recently sold in America for £5 million, such is the pull of the real golden age of motoring. Sadly, those halcyon days are far behind us and the prospect of owning a piece of motoring memorabilia is beyond the majority of us and we have to resort to the more mundane modern offerings.

But cheer up. Things are not so bad. Look at the car above and compare it to your own wheels. OK, fair enough, that’s not a great idea, so compare it to a car that you would really like to own if you had a reasonable budget. What’s different?

Obviously automotive science has moved on but that’s not the point. What’s really different is design. The Bentley, when stationary, looks like a bull patiently waiting to get into a china shop, giving the impression as it does of brute force. Modern cars give an impression of speed. Ever since the mid 20th Century car makers have looked at the merits of aero design and that’s what gives modern cars their desirable looks.

Today, our cars aren’t allowed to go fast; po-faced descendants of that geezer from the distant past have seen to that; but you can have a car that looks fast. With swoops and lines even the humblest Fiesta or C’eed looks as if it can get it on when the need arises. That’s something we can thank car makers for. We aren’t allowed to achieve the potential of what a car can do but we can sure look as if we are doing it. This is what makes owning even the most basic of cars a pleasure, even today. That’s not something that can be regulated against.

Posted in Auto BlogComments (0)

How Your Excess Affects the Cost of UK Car Insurance

You may have heard that adjusting your excess can affect the cost of your UK car insurance, and this is entirely true. The excess is the amount of money you are responsible for each time you file a claim. You can choose to raise your excess amount to lower your premium. However, if you do not have the financial means to pay a higher excess amount, you can choose a lower excess amount with a higher premium. Before you make any changes to your excess amount, however, you should consider a few key points. Click here for car insurance quotes from Kwik-Fit Insurance.

Adjusting Your Excess

Many drivers think that adjusting their excess amount is a difficult process. However, typically it involves contacting your agent to request the change. In some cases, the effect can take hold immediately, and may notice the difference on your next premium statement. In other cases, you must wait for your policy to renew before the changes will go into effect. Adjusting your excess is a fast and simply way to gain more control over the cost of your insurance.

How Much Can You Afford?
It is common for drivers to increase their excess to the highest amount possible. Their goal is to make their premium as low as possible. However, some drivers have unfortunately increased their excess to such a high level that filing a claim was not affordable. You can use your excess to make your insurance more affordable, but you should keep an eye on both the premium cost as well as your comfort level with paying the excess. Keep in mind that your excess is often paid after a sudden and unexpected event. You typically will not have time to save up money to pay the excess, so the excess should be an amount of money that you have on hand to pay as needed.

Making Insurance Affordable
If you have only a nominal amount of money in your savings account, you may be wondering how you can strategically use an adjustment to your excess to make insurance affordable. One option is to gradually increase your excess amount. A small adjustment to your excess today will result in some savings on your premium. You can apply that premium savings to your savings account balance. As your savings account balance grows, you can increase your excess further for additional savings to your premium. This is a financially responsible step that you can take to make it more affordable to pay for a higher excess amount.

If you have not yet considered adjusting your excess amount, you should look into the option today. You can enjoy savings on your premium by making even a small increase to your excess amount. By gradually increasing your excess amount over time, you can enjoy significant savings on your premium while still ensuring that using your insurance as needed is affordable.

Posted in Auto BlogComments (2)

MG Offers a Great Deal on New Cars

MG is an historic car name from the past that has over the years gone from being an iconic company to simply a badge on some very ordinary and dated cars. Interestingly – because these little factoids get lost in history – MG stands for nothing more than Morris Garages.

These days the brand has received a facelift thanks to Chinese investment from the Nanjing Automobile Group who released the MG6 saloon and hatchback last year. This is the car – sort of – that Jason Plato is piloting in the British Touring Car Championship during 2012. He’s doing rather well.

MG plan to release some more MG variants via their growing dealer network. In the meantime the company has launched a seriously good trade-in deal to encourage what have been up to now rather sluggish sales.

Rock up at a showroom with any old ratbag of a car and, as long as it’s got an MOT that’s at least a fortnight long you’ll be given three thousand pounds for it! Mind you, you have to by a new MG as well, but it is a good car that is starting to get some favourable reviews, so it is no hardship to own a vehicle that is bigger than a Focus. Starting with the base model, this means you could drive away a good family sized car for a paltry starting price of £12.5K.

If that’s not enough to tempt the frugal buyer there is also the opportunity to score some free fuel as well. This looks on the face of it to be a generous add-on as enough expensive juice is on offer to take you fifteen thousand miles. Now that’s what we call value.

The MG6 is never going to set the world on fire. It won’t stir your blood or even make you look sexier; but it is a very good, reasonably attractive car that will take everyday family business in its stride. For most drivers in these testing times that’s got to be fair enough.

Posted in Auto NewsComments (0)