Aston Martin set to launch ‘no compromise’ £200,000 flagship soft-top convertible
That rare shaft of sunshine this week was enough for British supercar-maker Aston Martin to launch a blistering £200,000 flagship soft-top, a highlight of its centenary year.
It describes the new Vanquish Volante as a ‘no compromise’ car – the ‘ultimate convertible super GT’ and the first with an alllightweight, but super-strong, carbon-fibre body.
Its new 6-litre 565bhp V12 engine linked to a six-speed Touchtronic gearbox takes it from rest to 60mph in 4.1 seconds with a top speed of 183mph.
The new Vanquish Volante is the first with an alllightweight, but super-strong, carbon-fibre body
The order book is open, with first deliveries from the factory at Gaydon, Warwickshire, expected in the autumn.
It will be possible to raise or lower the roof in 14 seconds at speeds of up to 30mph.
The car’s cabin features fullgrain Luxmil leather with optional quilting, metal controls and satin chrome trim. And it has 50 per cent more boot space.
Chief executive Dr Ulrich Bez says: ‘This car is what luxury super GT driving is all about.’
Motorists who injure cyclists should face harsher penalties to encourage greater use of bicycles, Britain’s top transport engineers concluded this week.
The Government should also introduce pay-as-you-drive road tolls, plug potholes and stop dithering about expanding Heathrow airport.
And they should publish plans to privatise the major highways. That issue is set to be part of Chancellor George Osborne’s Spending Review next week.
The recommendations are made in a critical state of the nation report by the Institution of Civil Engineers, which seeks to tackle what it calls a ‘lack of strategic vision’ among ministers.
Germany is accused of trying to bully Britain and other EU members into diluting tough new vehicle emissions rules that its own powerful car-makers are struggling to meet. Senior members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government have been threatening that German manufacturers will slash production or close factories in countries that fail to back its proposals for weaker rules on car exhaust emissions, say EU diplomats.
EU governments and lawmakers are set to finalise new, fartougher carbon rules backed by most of the 27 member states, next week.
One EU diplomat said: ‘Germany seems hell-bent on pressing its interests. Even countries that are generally pro-German feel that they are going too far.’
Kingston University student Roberto Antonio Pace won the 2012 Autocar-Courland Award
Fancy the work experience of a lifetime? Well, Kingston University student Roberto Antonio Pace, pictured right at the McLaren factory, is enjoying it now.
Last year, he won the 2012 Autocar-Courland Award, designed to find and fast-track the motor industry stars of tomorrow.
Roberto, 25, is more than halfway through his work experience prize – as well as being £7,500 richer. He’s completed one month each at McLaren, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover, and is working with Peugeot in Paris and Coventry.
He will then complete a month with Skoda before spending some time with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and Autocar, the world’s oldest car magazine.
Roberto, whose winning idea was a cylindrical brake system, said: ‘I am having the time of my life. It’s definitely where I’d like my career to go.’ Organisers are gearing up for this year’s competition. To enter, students need to describe in up to 500 words an idea, innovation or change to corporate policy that would improve the British automotive business.
Successful students who are shortlisted need to demonstrate how their idea could be made viable. More details at: autocar.co.uk/ nextgenerationaward
Road safety minister Stephen Hammond this week delayed until autumn plans for a Green Paper – a sort of early draft law – on reforming rules surrounding young and novice drivers.
He needs time to look afresh at ‘tensions’ thrown up by some of the ideas that have been floated.
Ministers announced in March that teenagers could be allowed to drive on Britain’s roads from their 16th birthday under plans for a shake-up of young driver training and the L-test.
But in return there would be a minimum one-year learning period before taking a test and new restrictions for the next two years – such as a curfew on night driving and on the number of passengers carried, in what is called a ‘graduated system’.
The curfew, in particular, has been opposed by some young drivers and their parents, who say it will inhibit those working shifts or studying. But a survey by Direct Line insurance this week found most parents of novice motorists back the reforms.