Audi’s RS 5 Coupé looks amazing

Audi RS 5 Coupé

This is the new Audi RS 5 Coupé, a tasty performance car which Audi says is the perfect combination of “elegant aesthetics with everyday usability”. Fabulous to look at and reportedly sensational to drive, it’s a big marker laid down for BMW’s M division.

The figures are certainly tantalising. Powered by a 2.8L V6 bi-turbo engine, you’ll have 450hp and 600 Nm torque at your disposal, with the ability to spring from 0-100km/h in a mere 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h.

Faster than its predecessor (which wasn’t slow), the new version is also 60kg lighter and 74mm longer, with the dynamic quattro all-wheel drive resulting in sporty yet very stable handing. A Sport differential will be an optional extra, adding an even more dynamic response through the corners and while accelerating. The RS-specific tuning provides active and targeted torque distribution, which in simple English means the RS 5 will be more agile on the road, combined with greater precision and stability.

Irish orders start from next month, with an on the road price of €110,750. Better start saving.

Rugged efficiency: The Bollinger B1

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Enjoy the ruggedness of a Land Rover Defender or Jeep Wrangler, but want something far more efficient and designed with just a pencil and ruler?

New York-based Bollinger Motors has claimed it has developed the world’s first electric off-roading SUT (sport utility truck), the rather utilitarian all-wheel drive Bollinger B1. It certainly sounds like a nifty vehicle – 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds, top speed of 204km/h, 360hp on tap, and 639Nm torque. The onboard batteries offer a range of up to 321km, depending on whether you opt for the 60 or 100 kWh version, with charging times of seven and 12 hours respectively.

Believed to cost around €50,000, the B1 prototype is the brainchild of a team led by Robert Bollinger, a former ad exec-turned skincare entrepreneur who bought a cattle farm in upstate New York and then decided he’d investigate the electric vehicle market. Built inside a nondescript garage in the Catskills, the B1 is a spartan beast – the only digital addition displays temperature, range and mileage; the windows are opened via a lever, and even the battery level indicator is analogue.

“The idea is that it’s all hands-on. You want to go do something with your own two hands, this is the vehicle. It’s the opposite of where things are going with electric, where the screen will tell you everything, and [it’s] autonomous. That’s all great, but it’s just not our thing,” Bollinger told The Verge recently.

There’s quite a lot of functionality too – you can convert from a full to half cab, remove the rear seats, carry a payload of and tow up to 2,700kg and, thanks to the absence of an engine and the hidden electric powertrain, transport long lengths of wood, piping, skis or anything else you want via a channel right down the middle and a pass-through door at the front. The dashboard is home to several USB and 12-volt outlets, with quite a few 110-volt plugs throughout the interior from which you can power your tools or camping equipment.

And it seems like it’ll be a proper off-roader. Quite nimble on tough ground with a rugged chassis, there’s 39cm of ground clearance, the wheels can be raised or lowered by almost 13cm, there’s a low centre of gravity with 50-50 weight distribution, hydraulic power steering, and approach and departure angles of 56 and 53 degrees. Much more capable than the Wrangler.

Power is delivered to all four wheels via motors mounted on the front and rear axles. Regenerative braking helping to charge the batteries, which are sealed and designed to withstand water levels of up to 1m for about 30 minutes, while you can hose down the interior after a particularly muddy day of off-roading.

If everything goes to plan, production should begin by 2019. Presuming that Bollinger can find a manufacturing partner and bring the B1 to market, you would hope a few changes would be made. The styling wouldn’t suffer with just a few tweaks but, more importantly, more range and better charging times would be a vast improvement, particularly when you’re shelling out that much money.

Perhaps Tesla could lend a hand.

Annoying motorway habits

Annoying motorway habits

According to a recent survey by easytrip, the thing that frustrates Irish motorists the most on the motorway is when people don’t use their indicators. If you ask me, that should be extended to every single road – for the most part indicators are either used sparingly or when the driver has already started making their turn, which really defeats their purpose.

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BMW launches emissions allowance

BMW diesel emissions

Fancy a new BMW or Mini with €2,000 chopped off the price-tag?

BMW Ireland has just announced its Lower Emissions Incentive Allowance, essentially a €2,000 grant towards a new electric, hybrid or standard model with CO2 emissions of 130g/km or less.

Available until December 31st, to qualify for the scheme you’ll need to trade in a diesel vehicle that meets the Euro-4 emissions standard or below. If you don’t have any idea what that means, BMW has developed a handy online tool to see if your old car qualifies.

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Tyres under pressure

Keeping your tyres properly inflated will both save you money and improve your safety on the road – underinflated tyres result in worse fuel efficiency and increase stopping distances and the risk of aquaplaning. The risk can be even greater in heavier vehicles with larger load weights than your average family car.

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Tracking charge points

Zap-Map charge points
Photo: Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

If you’ve ever driven an electric vehicle (EV), you might know the frustration of arriving at a charge point only to discover there are no free spaces. If you’re running low on juice, it could mean a worrying and rather slow drive to the next available location.

Zap-Map, however, aims to fix this. One of the leading charging platforms in the UK, Zap-Map has just announced the launch of its app for EV drivers in the Republic of Ireland, incorporating live data from ESB and its network of over 1,200 charge points across the country.

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Meet the Super Soco

Super Soco e-motorbike

Electric motorbikes aren’t a new concept by any means, but a newly launched e-motorbike promises to ‘reinvent urban mobility’.

Across the Irish Sea, the Super Soco is being styled as the UK’s first affordable e-motorbike, the result of a partnership between Australian electric scooter company V-Moto and a Chinese crowd-funded project to the tune of $15m, which is now being imported into Europe.

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