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MERCEDES-BENZ EQS: BRINGS LUXURY AND ELECTRIC POWER TOGETHER

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Mercedes-Benz EQS

With the introduction here of their new EQS, Mercedes-Benz brings luxury and electric power together. With their EQA, EQB, EQC, EQE and EQV luxury people carrier, its arrival also increases to six the number of electric- powered passenger vehicle sold in Ireland whilst taking yet another major step towards their goal of having a fully carbon-neutral fleet inside the next 20 years.

Book-ended by the EQA at the entry-level, the new EQS brings electric power to the very top of its model range. Described by Ciaran Allen, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz in Ireland as ‘the embodiment of everything Mercedes-Benz represents in terms of luxury, comfort, safety and specifications’, EQS represents what he calls ‘a mould-breaker many of whose features will be seen in future EQ models’. Genetically modelled on the recently launched S-Class, it has additional features likely to be of interest to customers in that segment not least the economy and socially acceptable appeal that electric motoring has brought.


Model Range
EQS comes in a choice of two model variants: EQS 450+ (with rear axle eATS electric motor) priced at €129,965, and a EQS Mercedes-AMG 53 4MATIC+all-wheel-drive version (with motors on front and rear axles) priced at €180,015. Powering them are Mercedes-Benz’s own-manufactured batteries which, they claim, will have ‘better charging performance and significantly higher energy density’. Helped by its lightweight components and Cd value from 0.20.

Mercedes-Benz EQS

It has an operating range up to 735 kms (WLTP), power output of up to 245 kW (333 BHP) and a quoted top speed limited to 210km/h. Electrical consumption is 18.9-16.2kWh/100km.

Coupé-like Appearance
Employing a new ‘modular’ construction method likely to be used in future battery-electric vehicles, its eye- catching cab-forward design and coupé-like exterior point to its exceptional aerodynamics while headlight design, wheels and black panel front with ‘star’ inset introduce it as a member of the Mercedes-EQ family.

Inside, a keynote feature is the optional concave dash-mounted MBUX infotainment ‘hyperscreen’ whose curved and flexed surface appears to float across the full width of the vehicle.

Boldly going where no other infotainment screen has ever gone before, Hyperscreen is the futuristic face, and technological heart, of what has become a vastly advanced MBUX system. Now equipped with artificial intelligence and a ‘learning’ capability, it supports the driver in numerous additional ways beyond what was possible previously.

Mercedes-Benz EQS (top) & EQE (below)

Its ‘zero-layer’ feature allows drivers move from menu-to-menu simply by placing fingertip pressure on the screen. Not counting antennae, up to 350 sensors monitor the functions of the EQS as well as driver eyelid movements and language. Its ‘Hey Mercedes’ function supports 27 languages helped by a ‘language understanding’ feature.

A 15-speaker surround sound system produces an unusually expressive, natural sound while a highly efficient activated charcoal filter cleans incoming air. Motors in the seats deliver up to ten different massage programmes while seat heating and inflatable air chambers replicate the body-soothing effects of a ‘hot stones’ treatment.
Reproduced on interior trim, wheels, and fascia is a Mercedes-Benz ‘pattern’ design based on a three- dimensional star motif first featured on a 1911 Daimler trademark.

A fusion of high-tech and artificial intelligence features, it embodies over 40 new inventions and 20 new design applications to create what Mercedes-Benz says is ‘a car that appeals to almost all of the senses’. Amongst its other features is a ‘fragrance release’ system that screens unpleasant odours encroaching from outside. A relaxing collection of mood-enhancing ‘soundscapes’ includes one that makes EQS ‘acoustically perceptible’ on the outside. Optional is a ‘driving sound’ that can be heard inside and another that greets passengers acoustically when approaching and leaving the vehicle.

Tesla Model 3

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Tesla began the modern electric car movement, kicking off with the Roadster in 2005, ahead of the Model S, and more recently, the more affordable Model 3. It’s the latter we’re testing, in its Long Range form. At first glance, the Tesla Model 3 looks like a normal car, except for the fact it doesn’t have a front grille, the handles are flush with the car, giving an illusion they aren’t there at all, and there isn’t a key, just a card you hold on the B-pillar to lock and unlock it. All very modern indeed. The exterior is simple but eye catching. The colour choices include Pearl White Multi-Coat, Solid Black, Midnight Silver, Deep Blue and Red Multi-Coat. 

Stepping inside there are the same general concepts of a normal car, seats, steering wheel, and all that stuff. But there’s no instrument cluster, no hand brake and no gear selector. What you do get is a 15-inch centre touchscreen which controls everything from media, navigation, and communications. While charging the Model 3 and having some time on my hands I noticed an expanded roster of games, the ability to watch Netflix, and increased web functionality. From a practical perspective, the screen lets you literally control the car.

You can adjust air flow to the hidden air vents, view your speed, open the glovebox and the boot. You also have a handy wireless charging station for two phones. 

You can also choose a combination of white and black premium interior should you so desire at a cost of 1,200 euros and it looks so well. There are top tether and ISOFIX child seat anchor points in the rear. There is an abundance of space for passengers and storage is impressive too. The lack of engine sees the front turned into a front boot. Storage is an impressive 542-litres across the combined luggage spaces. The Model 3 also has multiple cup holders and bottle holders which is very handy.

The Tesla Model 3 has three variants available all with varying levels of performance and battery wizardry: the Standard Range Plus (448 km WLTP, priced from €48,990), Model 3 Performance (567 km WLTP, priced from €65,990) and Long Range (580 km WLTP, priced from €58,990).

Driving the model 3 was a lot of fun. As there’s no gears, there’s no lag. There’s just acceleration and torque. You put your foot down, and it goes, and goes, sprinting to 100km/h in 4.4. seconds and it has a top speed of 233km/h.

Range on the Long Range variant is impressive, with Tesla claiming 580 (WLTP) of potential distance. We say potential distance because it really does depends on how you drive it. I will say my range anxiety was extremely low with the Model 3 and that made a huge difference as I could enjoy the drives without constantly thinking about my next charge. The Tesla Model 3, will show you where fast charge stations are if you’re running low, and how much it will cost you to charge. Most buyers will charge their Model 3 at home from a wallbox and rarely need to charge on the go. But the Model 3 also comes with a built-in CCS Charge Port for compatibility with third party fast charging networks like IONITY and ESB, or Tesla’s own Supercharger network and Destination chargers.

The Tesla Model 3 comes as standard with advanced hardware capable of providing Autopilot features, and full self-driving capabilities in the future through software updates designed to improve functionality over time. Autopilot advanced safety and convenience features are designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving. Basic Autopilot comes as standard and enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane. The Enhanced Autopilot package gives drivers additional functionality with Autopark, Auto Lane Change, Summon and Navigate on Autopilot. An additional option is Full Self-Driving Capability, which includes all the functionality of Basic Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot, alongside the latest upcoming features. Today’s current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.

Riding on 19-inch sports alloys, the Model 3 is loaded with safety gear, including eight surround view cameras for 360-degree vision, and twelve ultrasonic sensors, which can detect surrounding objects.Forward-facing radar see through heavy rain, fog, dust, and beyond the vehicle ahead helping to prevent accidents by providing simultaneous visibility in every direction. The 2021 Tesla Model 3 was also awarded a 5-star NCAP safety rating overall and in every category.

Conclusion

The Model 3 feels different than other cars and has elements which will become part of motoring in the future. It captures your imagination and you feel you’re in a car which has been created free from the constraints of conventional automotive thinking. Plus, there’s a real sense of fun here, playing games on the huge 15-inch screen with your son while charging on the go being a highlight. If you have the budget the model 3 is well worth a look.

Model: Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor All Wheel Drive
Engine: 158kw front, 219kw rear electric motors

Price: €58,990

Torque: 639Nm

Power: 462hp
Battery: 75 kWh

Range (WLTP): 580 km

Top speed: 233 km/h

Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.4 seconds

CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
Motor Tax: €120 per year

All-New Dacia Jogger

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Dacia is bringing its famed fresh thinking and value-for-money approach to the 7-seat family car sector with the launch of the All-New Dacia Jogger. Offering unrivalled versatility by blending the practicality of an estate car with the spaciousness of an MPV and the styling of an SUV, the All-New Dacia Jogger exists in a class of its own.

With a name that embodies the brand’s outdoor spirit, its positive energy and sense of adventure, the All-New Dacia Jogger is a life-long companion, ideally suited to the daily lives of families whether navigating urban environments or looking to get away into the great outdoors.

Generous proportions and rugged styling ensure the All-New Jogger is always ready for adventure, backed up by a series of clever touches and smart thinking, from the ingenious modular roof rails to the innovative Media Control system that places the smartphone at the centre of the car’s multimedia experience.

At launch, the All-New Jogger is powered by Dacia’s brand new TCe 110 turbocharged petrol engine, delivering both willing performance, excellent fuel economy and reduced emissions thanks to several technical innovations. Dacia’s first hybrid powertrain option will also be joining the range in 2023. 

The All-New Jogger is available exclusively with 7-seats and in three trim levels – Essential, Comfort, and Extreme SE. All versions are generously equipped with air conditioning, cruise control, and rear parking sensors as standard across the range. In the interests of keeping things simple for customers, the All-New Jogger is offered with just two options – metallic paint and a spare wheel.

Launch prices from €23,290 RRP and from just €7 per day on the road, the 7-seater All-New Jogger is a unique addition to the Irish car market, combining Dacia’s reputation for value for money, robustness and proven technology with great style, spaceand interior flexibility.

The New BMW 7 Series

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With the new BMW 7 series, the latest generation of the brand’s flagship saloon, BMW is set to redefine the luxury segment with new levels of electrification, sustainability and digitalisation.

The new BMW 7 Series represents a significant step up from its renowned predecessor, with an innovative specification designed to deliver incredible driving pleasure, unsurpassed long-distance comfort and a cutting-edge digital experience.

Beneath a graceful exterior that fuses striking modern style with the practicality and imposing nature of a premium saloon, the new BMW 7 Series introduces an advanced drivetrain that – for the first time – brings plug-in electrification to every model sold in Ireland.

Available exclusively in long-wheelbase form in either M Sport or Excellence specification, the new BMW 7 Series range comprises models from both the BMW i and BMW M brands. Launching later this year with the pure electric i7 xDrive60, the plug-in hybrid 750e xDrive and M760e xDrive are set to follow in spring 2023. The dedicated M Performance model will deliver 571hp, combining the searing performance characteristics of a BMW M model with efficiency-enhancing plug-in hybrid technology. BMW i7 M70 xDrive, the future flagship model, will follow later in 2023.

Naturally, the new BMW 7 Series complements its state-of-the-art drivetrain with a blend of luxurious interior design and an astonishing entertainment experience. Innovative features such as the unique 31.3-inch 8K BMW Theatre Screen (features in Irish models produced in Spring 2023), the multi-sensory vehicle experience BMW iDrive with the latest generation of BMW Operating System 8, plus the new BMW Curved Display and BMW Interaction Bar, highlight the progressive saloon’s character.

Like its predecessors, the new BMW 7 Series will be built at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing. Sustainability is a key consideration, with all electricity for the production of the new BMW 7 Series coming from renewable sources, while use of recycled and sustainable materials in the car has been significantly increased.

The new fully-electric BMW i7 xDrive60 is priced from €132,210 (RRP) with the first Irish deliveries expected to commence from December 2022.

Peugeot e-2008

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Starting off with its appearance, it’s hard not to like the styling, although this pretty much applies to most modern Peugeots. It’s an aggressive design, with a lot of angular shapes and dynamic light signatures. In this case, the front end looks like it’s projecting a pair of claws and two fangs.

Our test car was a Allure spec model, with a bright Orange Fusion exterior, chrome elements, 17-inch wheels, tinted windows, eco LED headlights and a body-colour front grille. This is definitely a youthful-looking vehicle. 

The e-2008 is available in the same three trim levels – Active, Allure and GT – as the petrol and diesel versions of the 2008. Standard equipment on the e-2008 Active includes 16” alloys, automatic air conditioning with pre-heating functionality, electric and heated power folding door mirrors, rear parking sensors, i-Cockpit® with 3.5” instrument panel display reversing camera, traffic sign recognition, LED headlights and foglights, automatic emergency braking and active city brake. 

The e-2008 Allure model I had on test retails from €31,997. Equipment highlights include comfort seats, 3D i-Cockpit® with 10” colour touchscreen and 3D navigation, front parking sensors, leather/cloth trim, contrast stitching on the seats and steering wheel, ambient lighting, and cosmetic updates including black roof, door mirrors and rear spoiler.

The Peugeot e-2008 kicks off from €31,262 in Ireland including all relevant grants and VRT relief. The similarly specced Peugeot 2008 petrol automatic starts from €28,450. So while the electric 2008 is still carrying a premium, it’s not as much as what you might think. And electricity is cheaper than petrol, as is the motor tax on this model! Peugeot has chosen a 50 kWh battery to power the e-2008. That gives 136 hp and a WLTP range of 310 km. 

The e-2008 doesn’t move around too much, feels planted, grippy and its steering is surprisingly precise. Once you overcome the slight hint of understeer, you’ll find this to be a remarkably sporty little vehicle – certainly much more fun to drive than its internal combustion engine siblings. It’s also reasonably quick, with a zero to 100 km/h time of 8.3 seconds. The instant torque definitely helps, especially around town. You feel like you’re in something quicker, as long as you don’t keep the throttle floored beyond 100 km/h. Once you cross that threshold, the e-2008 starts running out of power on demand if it’s high-speed overtaking you want. Its top speed is 150 km/h.

If you want to gain access to the full 100 kW (134 HP), to go with 300 Nm of torque then switch to sports mode. It doesn’t feel all that different though to Normal mode around town at least but it is punchier. This brings us to range, and this is where it gets a bit tricky, because while you can “theoretically” travel 320 km on a single charge in the WLTP cycle, you’ve only got a 50 kWh battery, so those 320 km are what you might call a best case scenario. If you fancy some spirited driving you’ll probably need to charge your e-2008 once every 3-4 workdays – and you’ll need fast charging in order to top the battery to 80% in about 30 min or so.

Conclusion 

The e-2008 is probably the most fun 2008 to ride in the whole range. With no engine vibration and a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission and no engine roar as soon as it exceeds 3,500 rpm it would be my pick. The Peugeot e-2008 shines with its comfort of use combined with a good chassis. The electric motor has enough punch with its 136 horsepower and 300 Nm of torque to move this SUV comfortably.

Model tested: Peugeot e-2008 GT
Price from:  €31,997

Test vehicle: €33,665

Battery: 50 kWh
Power: 136 hp

Torque: 300 Nm
0-100km/h:  8.3 seconds

Top speed: 150 km/h

Range (WLTP): 320 km

CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km

Motor Tax:  €120 per year

The new ŠKODA KAROQ: a more striking look with greater aerodynamics

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The successful KAROQ model gets an upgrade: ŠKODA has used a more refined design language, sustainable materials, new technologies and a choice of efficient latest-generation EVO engines. Since its launch as the second SUV model range in 2017, more than 5,000 KAROQs have been sold in Ireland, making the smaller brother of the KODIAQ a mainstay in the ŠKODA line-up. Starting from €33,750 the new KAROQ is available to order now.

2017 saw ŠKODA introduce the KAROQ, the second model in its SUV line-up. With over 5,000 units sold to date, it is a cornerstone of ŠKODA’s model range and was the third most delivered model in the ŠKODA range in Ireland in 2021 after the brand’s bestseller, the OCTAVIA, and the KODIAQ 7-seater SUV. 

John Donegan, Director of ŠKODA Ireland says: “When we launched the KAROQ here in Ireland in 2017, we stepped up the pace of our SUV campaign. The model has become a real success story and has contributed significantly to the fact that SUVs now account for over 45% of total deliveries. The KAROQ offers customers an impressive overall package that includes a fresh design, improved aerodynamics, new sustainable materials, state-of-the-art assistance systems and the latest infotainment options.”

More refined emotive design language

The new KAROQ is characterised by ŠKODA’s updated emotive design language featuring crystalline elements. New design details include the wider, now hexagonal ŠKODA grille, restyled front and rear aprons, as well as slimmer and sharper LED headlights and tail lights. The daytime running lights are now split in two, and for the first time, the KAROQ can be equipped with full-LED Matrix headlights which are standard on Style and Sportline models. Aerodynamics have been improved by more than 9%, meaning that the SUV now boasts a drag coefficient (cd) of 0.30 and correspondingly lower CO2 emissions. This has been made possible, for example, by new alloy wheels with Aero inserts, a longer rear spoiler, side finlets on the rear window and the now covered underbody. An increased range of state-of-the-art assistance and safety systems ensures even higher levels of active and passive safety.

New interior decor and seat covers made from recycled, sustainable materials

The look of the KAROQ’s interior is defined by new decorative trim and upholstery options, which can be made from sustainable materials if selected. For example, in the Eco pack, the seat covers are partly made from recycled plastic juice bottles. Optional extras to increase comfort include enhanced LED ambient lighting (standard on Style and Sportline models), which now also illuminates the rear door trim in one of ten colours, and the electrically adjustable front-passenger seat including a memory function. The KAROQ is available in the Ambition and Style trim levels and as a SPORTLINE variant. 

Choice of three efficient EVO engines with outputs from 110bhp to 150bhp.

The updated ŠKODA KAROQ can be equipped with one of three efficient engines from Volkswagen Group’s latest EVO generation. One diesel and two petrol engines deliver power outputs ranging from 110bhp to 150bhp.

New Ford Mustang California Special

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The quintessential style of west coast America has crossed the Atlantic as the Ford Mustang California Special arrives in Europe for the first time. LICENSE EXPIRES: In perpetuity. LICENSE BY: Charlie Magee. LICENSE SCOPE: A - Earned editorial, press releases, press kits, B - All non-broadcast digital and online media, C - All non-broadcast digital and online media, plus Retail and POS (showrooms, events etc), D - All print media (newspaper, magazine etc). REGION: EU. COPYRIGHT AND IMAGE RIGHTS: This content is solely for editorial use and for providing individual users with information. Any storage in databases, or any distribution to third parties within the scope of commercial use, or for commercial use is permitted with written consent from Ford of Europe GmbH only.

The quintessential style of west coast America has crossed the Atlantic as the Ford Mustang California Special arrives in Europe for the first time.

Embodying the free-spirited ethos of the 1968 original, the new California Special is offered exclusively in convertible body style with a folding soft-top for classic looks and open-air thrills. A special-edition design package with unique badging, detailing, 19-inch alloy wheels and special “colour shift” California Special decals delivers distinctive style, and Ford’s charismatic 450 PS V8 petrol engine provides the power for effortless cruising.

Inside, the Mustang California Special is designed to help liberate all the fun of the open road whatever the weather, with bespoke California Special detailing adding exclusive appeal. Standard comfort technologies include heated and cooled front seats, a 12-inch customisable instrument cluster, and advanced SYNC 3 connectivity that enables drivers to call up their favourite road trip soundtrack or find directions to the nearest beach using just their voice.

“The California Special is a huge part of the Mustang’s legacy in America and it symbolises so much of what Mustang stands for: The joy of driving and the freedom of the open road. Those ideals resonate just as strongly with driving enthusiasts in Europe, so it’s about time customers here got to experience the unique California Special blend of style, performance and driving fun,” said Matthias Tonn, Mustang chief programme engineer, Ford of Europe.

Kermit the celebrated MK1 Golf to go up for auction to raise funds for charity

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Volkswagen Ireland is to auction one of the jewels in its automotive crown. Kermit, the 1977 Mk1 Volkswagen Golf is to go up for auction to raise vital funds for Women’s Aid Ireland, the charity that supports victims of domestic violence. 

Kermit, who got his name thanks to his frog-shaped headlamps and distinctive Bali Green paint job, will be auctioned off next week to coincide with International Women’s Day. The fun-loving compact car was bought by Volkswagen Ireland in 2013. 

The 1.1-litre, 50-horsepower petrol-powered car is certainly no GTI but was considered nippy in its day with a cruising speed of 80km/h. Despite showing signs of age, Kermit – licence plate KZN 712 – has lived a charmed life, spawning a legion of fans and appearing in the 2015 St Patrick’s Day Parade. 

The lucky winning bidder at Wednesday’s auction gets to own a piece of automotive history while raising vital funds to support victims of domestic violence. 

Rodolfo Calixto, Brand Director for Volkswagen Ireland, says, “We are sad to see Kermit go but confident he will be happy in his new habitat. Women’s Aid Ireland does wonderful work and we are delighted to support our charity partner via this unique auction.”

For more information on Women’s Aid, Ireland’s domestic violence service, visit www.womensaid.ie

Next-Gen Ford Ranger Raptor Rewrites the Rulebook for Ultimate Off-Road Performance

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The next-generation and next-level Ford Ranger Raptor has arrived. Built to dominate in the desert, master the mountains and rule everywhere in between, the second-generation Ranger Raptor raises the off-road performance bar as a pick-up built for true enthusiasts.

Developed by Ford Performance, the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor is the ultimate performance derivative of the all-new Ford Ranger. With smarter technology controlling tougher, next‑generation hardware, Ranger Raptor blends raw power with mechanical and technical precision to create the most advanced Ranger ever.

“We’ve really focused on delivering a genuine performance truck with the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor,” said Dave Burn, Ford Performance chief programme engineer for Ranger Raptor. “It’s significantly faster, looks incredible, is packed with new features, and it’s the toughest Ranger we’ve ever made.”

European Ranger enthusiasts have special reason to celebrate as the all-new Ranger Raptor is the first model from the Next-Gen Ranger line-up to be launched in Europe, with customer deliveries starting in the final quarter of 2022.

The Raptor’s imminent arrival in Europe is marked by an all-action stunt video, 3 which shows the vehicle leaping from a cargo plane in order to arrive on time for its European launch.

More power to play

The biggest news for performance fans is the introduction of an all-new twin-turbo 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine tuned by Ford Performance to produce a targeted 288 PS and 491 Nm of torque. 1

The twin-turbo 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6 engine boasts a compacted graphite-iron cylinder block, which is around 75 per cent stronger and up to 75 per cent stiffer than the iron used in traditional castings. Ford Performance ensured the engine delivers immediate response to throttle inputs, and a race-bred anti-lag system similar to that first seen on the Ford GT road car and Focus ST enables rapid delivery of boost on demand.

The new anti-lag system, available in Baja mode, keeps the turbochargers spinning for up to three seconds after the driver backs off the throttle, allowing for faster resumption of acceleration out of corners or through the gears when the driver steps back on the accelerator. In addition, the engine is programmed with an individual turbocharging boost profile for each of the advanced 10-speed automatic transmission’s gears, for optimised performance.

“The 3.0-litre engine brings a different dynamic to the Ranger Raptor that will satisfy even the most hardcore performance enthusiast,” Burn said. “The acceleration and raw performance of the new powertrain leave you grinning from ear-to-ear.”

Ranger Raptor’s new powertrain delivers effortless acceleration on gravel, dirt, mud and sand. To match this comprehensive performance, an electronically‑controlled active exhaust system amplifies the engine note in four selectable modes enabling Ranger Raptor to adapt its vocal character.

Drivers can choose their preferred engine sound by pressing a button on the steering wheel, or by selecting a drive mode that uses one of the following settings:

  • Quiet – prioritises quietness over performance and sound to keep the peace with neighbours on early mornings
  • Normal – intended for everyday use, this profile offers an exhaust note with presence while not being too loud for street use. This profile is applied by default to Normal, Slippery, Mud/Ruts, and Rock Crawl drive modes 
  • Sport – offers a louder and more dynamic note
  • Baja – the most striking exhaust profile in both volume and note, in Baja mode the exhaust behaves more like a straight-through system. Intended for off-road use only.

The current 2.0-litre EcoBlue bi‑turbo diesel engine will continue to be available in the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor from 2023, with further details available closer to launch. 

Hardware for heavy hitters

The Next-Gen Ranger Raptor has a unique chassis when compared to the all-new Ranger. A series of Raptor-specific mounts and reinforcements for elements including the C-pillar, load box and spare wheel, as well as unique frames for the jounce bumper, shock tower and rear shock bracket all combine to ensure Next-Gen Ranger Raptor can handle punishing off-road conditions.

A high-performance off-roader like the Ranger Raptor needs the running gear to match, so Ford engineers completely redesigned the suspension. All-new tough yet lightweight aluminium upper and lower control arms, long‑travel front and rear suspension and a refined Watt’s link rear end have been designed to deliver more control across rough terrain at high speed.

“The suspension upgrades in the Ranger Raptor make the most of the new FOX® Live Valve dampers. The suspension adapts in real-time to enable exceptional on-road body control while absorbing corrugations and bigger ruts off-road with ease, ensuring maximum control and performance,” Burn said.

The next-generation FOX® 2.5-inch Live Valve internal bypass shock absorbers feature cutting-edge control technology offering position-sensitive damping capability. These shock absorbers are the most sophisticated ever fitted to Ranger Raptor and are filled with Teflon™‑infused oil that reduces friction by around 50 per cent compared to those on the outgoing vehicle.

While the hardware is FOX®, the tuning and development work was carried out by Ford Performance using a mixture of computer-aided engineering and real-world testing. Everything from adjusting the spring rates to setting the ride height, valve tuning and honing the ride zones was performed to create the perfect balance between comfort, control, stability and traction on- and off-road.

Linked to Ranger Raptor’s revised selectable drive modes, 2 the Live Valve internal bypass system has been developed to provide better on-road comfort and off-road ride quality both at high and low speed. 

In addition to working with the drive modes, the system works in the background to prepare Next-Gen Ranger Raptor for different conditions. As the shocks compress, different zones within the bypass system give exactly the amount of support needed for the travel being used, and work in reverse as the shocks rebound back to full height.

To provide protection against severe bottom outs, race-proven FOX® Bottom-Out Control provides maximum damping force in the last 25 per cent of shock travel. Similarly, the system can stiffen the rear dampers to prevent Ranger Raptor from squatting under hard acceleration, improving vehicle stability. With the shocks providing the right amount of damping force at every position, Ranger Raptor stays planted on both the road and track.

Ranger Raptor’s ability to tackle rough terrain is further enhanced with some serious underbody protection. The front bash plate is almost double the size of the standard Next‑Gen Ranger’s unit and is made from 2.3 mm-thick high-strength steel. This plate, combined with the engine undershield and transfer case shield, is designed to protect key components such as the radiator, steering system, front crossmember, engine sump and front differential.

Twin rated tow hooks at the front and rear provide flexible recovery options while driving off‑road; the design facilitates access to one of the tow hooks if the other is buried, as well as enabling the use of balance straps during snatch recoveries in deep sand or thick mud.

All-terrain control

For the first time, Ranger Raptor gets an advanced full-time four-wheel drive system with an all‑new electronically‑controlled on-demand two-speed transfer case, combined with front and rear locking differentials – a valuable feature for hardcore off-road enthusiasts.

“While Ranger Raptor was inspired by desert racers, it’s also a supremely capable overlanding vehicle. Out of the box we’ve created an off-road vehicle that you don’t need to modify to get you where you need to go and back again safely,” Burn said.

Helping Next-Gen Ranger Raptor handle anything from smooth roads to mud and ruts, plus everything in between, are seven selectable drive modes, 2 including the off-road oriented Baja mode, which configures the vehicle’s electronic systems for ultimate performance during high-speed off‑roading.

“We really wanted Baja mode to be the ultimate expression of the high-speed off‑road capability,” Burn said. “It’s a feature at the core of what the Ranger Raptor customer expects.”

Each selectable drive mode adjusts a number of elements from engine and transmission to ABS sensitivity and calibration, traction and stability controls, exhaust valve actuation, steering and throttle response. In addition, the gauges, vehicle information and colour themes on the instrument cluster and centre touchscreen change with the selected drive mode. 2

On-road

  • Normal – designed for comfort and fuel efficiency
  • Sport – more responsive for spirited on-road driving
  • Slippery – for more confident driving on slippery or uneven surfaces

Off-road

  • Rock crawl – for optimum control in very low speed driving over extreme rocky and uneven terrain
  • Sand – optimises gearchanges and power delivery for progress in sand and deep snow
  • Mud/Ruts – for maximum grip during launch and maintaining vehicle momentum
  • Baja – sets all systems to maximum attack for peak high-speed off-road performance

Next-Gen Ranger Raptor also features Trail Control™, which is like cruise control for off‑roading. 2The driver simply selects a set speed below 32 km/h and the vehicle will manage its acceleration and braking while the driver concentrates on steering through difficult terrain.

Tough and athletic

Matching the enhanced capability of Ranger Raptor is an all-new look that builds on Next‑Gen Ranger’s bold, strong style. Flared wheel arches and C-clamp headlight designs emphasise the pick‑up’s width, while bold F-O-R-D lettering on the grille and the tough separate bumper add more visual muscle.

“Everything designed for the Ranger Raptor is there for a reason,” said Dave Dewitt, Ranger Raptor exterior design manager. “We’re communicating what Raptor can do just by the way it looks.”

The matrix LED headlights with LED daytime running lights push Ranger Raptor’s lighting performance to new levels, featuring predictive curve lights, glare-free high beam and auto dynamic levelling to deliver better visibility for Ranger Raptor drivers and other road users.

The flared fenders cover muscular 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Raptor-exclusive performance all‑terrain tyres. Functional vents, aero features and tough, grippy cast-aluminium side steps help enhance the look and functionality of the truck. At the rear, LED taillights provide a signature styling link to the front, while the Precision Grey rear bumper features an integrated step pad and towbar that is tucked up high to avoid compromising the departure angle.

Inside, the theme continues to emphasise Ranger Raptor’s off-road performance and high‑energy nature. The cabin features all-new, jet fighter-inspired sports seats in the front and rear to increase comfort and offer more support during high-speed cornering. 

The Code Orange accents on the instrument panel, trim and seats are mirrored by Ranger Raptor’s ambient lighting, which bathes the interior in an amber glow. A premium leather sports heated steering wheel with thumb swells, on-centre marking and cast-magnesium paddle shifters completes the sporty feel.

Occupants will also benefit from the latest digital technology; the high‑tech cabin features a 12.4‑inch all-digital cluster and 12-inch centre touchscreen boasting Ford’s new-generation SYNC 4A®connectivity and entertainment system 4 that delivers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™ compatibility at no extra cost. 5 A 10-speaker B&O® sound system 6 provides the soundtrack to your next adventure.

Part of the Ford Performance family

The roots of the Raptor name lie in North America, where Ford has used it on high‑performance pick-up trucks and utility vehicles since the first-generation F-150 SVT Raptor, which was optimised for high-speed off-road performance. The Ford Performance-developed Ranger Raptor expanded the Raptor badge to other global markets in 2018, including to a new audience of hardcore off‑road truck fans in Europe.

More recently, Ford Performance has announced the Bronco Raptor performance SUV and limited-edition Bronco DR desert racer in North America. Ford also recently proved its rugged racing credentials in the FIA World Rally Championship’s electrified era; nine‑time champion Sébastien Loeb and co‑driver Isabelle Galmiche took victory at the iconic Monte Carlo Rally in the M‑Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 car.

The all-new Ranger Raptor continues this legacy, with a purpose‑built vehicle that balances daily duties with performance never before seen in a pick-up of Ranger’s size.

“We knew that customers would expect improved performance with the Next-Gen Ranger Raptor, but I’m not sure they’re really expecting the enormous leap we’ve made. It’s a seriously fun truck to drive and I think the raw performance is going to blow them away,” Burn said.

‘REFASHIONED’ MERCEDES-BENZ CLS ARRIVES

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Mercedes-Benz CLS

The latest up-styled version of what many regard as one of the most elegant models ever produced by Mercedes-Benz – the four-door, coupé-like CLS – has arrived in Ireland.

Constructed on an E-Class platform – with all that suggests in terms of its roominess and visual presence – CLS is justifiably considered a ‘dream car’ of the Mercedes-Benz range combining executive-class comfort with a distinctly sporty appeal.

Refashioned and given an even sharper, more elongated, aerodynamic appearance, exterior changes include a new radiator grille, striking new air intakes and bumpers. silver-chrome exterior trim elements, new twin and multi-spoke light-alloys, and the choice of an additional metallic paint colour. 

Inside, cabin upgrades include two new walnut and wood trim finishes, additional leather seat coverings and colour combinations, and a redesigned multifunction leather steering wheel.

Two petrol and three diesels are offered. Here, focus will fall on the CLS 220d AMG design line priced from €83,090.

Petrol models are: CLS 450 4MATIC (2999cc/Nm 500) and a high performance Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 4MATIC+ version (2999cc/Nm 520) with fast-shifting AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission.

Diesel models are: CLS 220d (1950cc/Nm 400 torque), CLS 300d 4MATIC (1993cc/Nm 550) and a CLS 400d 4MATIC (2925cc/Nm 700).

A mild hybrid with an integrated starter-generator 48-volt electrical system whose output of 195 kW can be increased with a 15 kW boost is included in the mix.

Mercedes-Benz CLS Coupé (interior)

All versions are equipped with Mercedes-Benz MBUX infotainment system with artificial intelligence and predictive functions. Standard specifications also include an extensive range of occupant safety and driver assistance packages.

Knowing it to be a ‘style icon’ with over four million models sold since its introduction in 2004, Mercedes-Benz passenger sales manager Ciaran Allen describes the CLS as “the embodiment of elegance, luxury and comfort, all wrapped in a timeless, eye-catching design”.