MINI Vision Urbanaut concept vehicleAs we come to the end of another week  we look at some of the motoring news which you may have missed starting with the MINI Vision Urbanaut concept vehicle.

In November 2020, the MINI brand revealed the MINI Vision Urbanaut virtual concept vehicle, an all-new interpretation of mobility through an innovative vision of space. Now, the BMW Group has made a physical model of the vehicle showcasing its space and sustainable materials. The model’s world premiere will be at the DLD Summer conference in Munich on 1 July 2021.

“At MINI we see it as our responsibility to preserve and develop the unique characteristics of our brand over the upcoming years and those further ahead,” explains Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. “With our eyes fixed on the future, we have developed an idea, with the MINI Vision Urbanaut, of how we can take the MINI attributes – as here, with the focus on the ‘Clever Use of Space’ – into the future of mobility and interpret them in a typically MINI way. It brings the user’s personal space into the car and opens up various possibilities for them, from creating an urban oasis to experiencing freedom in the ‘Wanderlust’ moment. The MINI Vision Urbanaut represents our image of how MINI’s ‘Clever Use of Space’ could provide an answer to the needs of future cities and lifestyles.”

MINI Vision Urbanaut concept vehicleMINI Vision Urbanaut concept vehicleMINI Vision Urbanaut concept vehicle



Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design adds: “At MINI Design we believe that the best way to understand the overall concept behind the MINI Vision Urbanaut is to experience it. The feeling of space and the innovative materials are just asking to be explored. That is why it was very important for us from the outset to also make a physical model of the MINI Vision Urbanaut. And now that moment has come. We have planned and built every aspect of the model – which allows people to experience all of the facets of the MINI Vision Urbanaut – at our MINI Design Studio in Munich.“

MINI sees its future self primarily as an enabler of and companion for unforgettable times, this is what we’re calling “MINI moments”. Inspired by the question “What kind of experiences do I want to have with my vehicle?”, they provide the conceptual platform for the MINI Vision Urbanaut – for times when you’re travelling and others when you’re not. What this means more specifically is encapsulated by the MINI moments “Chill”, “Wanderlust” and “Vibe”. The exterior and interior of the vehicle change to reflect the MINI moment at hand and so give the on-board experience the best possible stage and environment. Fragrance, sound and ambient lighting continue to enrich the baseline mood initiated by the chosen MINI moment. The transformation of the vehicle through the different moments can now be experienced in reality with the physical model of the MINI Vision Urbanaut.

The Chill moment invites you to catch a breath and pause in the here and now. The car becomes a kind of retreat, a haven where you can relax or work with full concentration. While the rear seat bench (Cosy Corner) invites various seating and lying positions, the backlit Loop above it takes on an appearance inspired by a green forest canopy and can also be dimmed. In the central area, the circular instrument folds down to become a table lamp, eliminating displays or switches that might remind the customer of their automotive surroundings.

Wanderlust is the only MINI moment where the MINI Vision Urbanaut is being driven or driving with automated driving functions. In this moment, the interior becomes the ideal place for driving the car, or being its passenger, and enables those on board to rediscover the romance of travel. When the customer wants to drive themselves, a tap of a finger on the MINI logo brings out the steering wheel and pedals. The user interface on the central circular instrument also adapts its visuals; alongside an animation of the route, additional journey information – such as visitor attractions and arrival time – is displayed here for those on board.

The Vibe moment puts time with other people at centre stage – in every way. Opening the side door and folding up the windscreen creates a welcoming scene that blurs the boundaries between the outside and inside. The central circular instrument becomes a media control centre. An animation of graphic equalizers moving with the music is projected onto surfaces of the front, rear, wheels and Loop above the rear seat bench, creating a club atmosphere. If those on board so desire, the car can even begin to resemble a boombox. Finally, there is the fourth option, the customisable “my moment”, which provides users with further scope for tailoring the design of the vehicle to their needs and desires.

As well as its wide range of uses, the MINI Vision Urbanaut also focuses on sustainability – and this can be seen and experienced directly in various aspects of the vehicle. The starting point for the concept was the “Clever Use of Space” for which MINI is renowned; i.e. it offers maximum space on the smallest possible footprint. Although the MINI Vision Urbanaut is only 4.46m in length, its height allows it to provide an interior space that can be used in many different ways and offers a whole new ease of movement inside the car. The electric drive system ensures emission-free mobility, yet another aspect is the scope for using the vehicle for purposes beyond mobility. The MINI Vision Urbanaut also creates an urban space for people when it’s parked, significantly increasing the amount of time they will want to use the vehicle or just hang out in it.

The MINI Vision Urbanaut sets out to use resources responsibly. From the beginning of the concept phase the team focused on consistently reducing the number of components and avoiding unnecessary use of materials. This has been achieved by developments including clever dual-functionality for the dashboard (it can turn into a daybed) and the debut appearance of a circular OLED centre display – which recasts itself as a stylish lamp in the Chill moment – above the table. Maximising length of use by ensuring materials can be replaced is likewise a priority. Changeable covers are a good example of how this can be achieved. In addition, the interior has been created without the use of chrome or leather, an approach that will also be rolled out in the next MINI model generation.

For cherished Number Plates

All-New Astra nears completion of impressive test programme

The All-New Astra is nearing completion of its impressive test programme that has seen it head to the frozen arctic in the Swedish Lapland as well as undergone several laboratory, electronics and safety tests at Vauxhall/Opel’s Dudenhofen Test Centre in Germany. With the testing almost complete, the All-New Astra is one step closer to arriving in UK showrooms later this year.

Test marathon: All-New Vauxhall AstraTest marathon: All-New Vauxhall AstraTest marathon: All-New Vauxhall Astra



“The demanding test programme of the All-New Astra is going exceptionally well”, says Astra Chief Engineer, Mariella Vogler. “The development team – which, by the way, comprises of more female engineers than ever before – has created an uncompromisingly cool new generation of Astra that will thrill our customers.”

With the All-New Astra, Vauxhall is demonstrating precision engineering in every detail and taking direct aim at the sweet spot of the compact market sector. The pure and bold design, new technologies and exciting powertrain line-up – including plug-in hybrid electric drive for the first time – are set to make the All-New Astra a benchmark in its class. 

Kia reveals special edition Niro ‘Connect’

Kia UK Limited has today revealed a new special edition version of its best-selling crossover SUV, the Niro. The new Niro ‘Connect’ offers greater value and choice to buyers of the brand’s perennially popular hybrid family SUV, and is available to order from UK dealers now.

Kia reveals special edition Niro ‘Connect’Kia reveals special edition Niro ‘Connect’



The Niro ‘Connect’ is available as both a self-charging Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, priced from £25,995 and £31,355 respectively.

The limited edition ‘Connect’ model sits between the ‘2’ and ‘3’ grade models in the Niro line-up and adds the following features above the entry-level ‘2’ grade:

10.25-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation
UVO Connect ‘connected car’ system
Cloth and leather upholstery
High-gloss centre fascia
Chrome coated interior and exterior door handles
USB charger inside the front console
Rear console ventilation duct
The Niro ‘Connect’ also offers a choice of three premium exterior paint colours at no additional cost – Runway Red, Ocean Blue and Steel Grey.

E-Type UK presents ‘Unleashed’, a new brand dedicated to reimagining the E-type with modern performance and creature comforts

E-Type UK, renowned restorer of the definitive classic sports car – has introduced an all-new brand dedicated to reimagining the E-type. The ‘Unleashed’ brand’s first creation is an E-type Series 3, refined and upgraded in every way to create the ultimate incarnation of Jaguar’s V12-powered icon.

Developing the British icon further, with a strengthened and tweaked platform, the Unleashed offering embodies a completely restored, re-engineered and reimagined example with a plethora of enhancements to the car’s drivetrain, body and interior. Unleashed simultaneously remains true to its iconic essence whilst offering the driver thoroughly enriched and reliable on-road performance.

E-Type UKE-Type UKE-Type UK



At the heart of Unleashed sits a significantly enhanced V12 engine, re-engineered by E-Type UK’s team of leading experts. Each of the 12 cylinders has been re-bored to increase the engine’s capacity by 800cc, taking it from 5.3 litres to 6.1 litres, with a new 12-branch ceramic-coated stainless-steel sports exhaust ensuring Unleashed’s thunderous performance is accompanied by a free-flowing engine note – although still subtle enough to remain a comfortable grand tourer.

Fed by a new bespoke side-draft electronic fuel injection system pioneered by E-Type UK, power output is boosted to 400bhp to provide a prodigious thrust at full throttle, amplifying the timeless thrill of one of the greatest sports cars ever built. This power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a new 5-speed gearbox and lightened flywheel.

Unbridled power requires an abundance of stopping power, which is why Unleashed is fitted with 4-piston brakes with grooved vented discs and braided brake lines, providing supreme feedback and performance through the brake pedal.

Ensuring mechanical reliability in all driving conditions has been a cornerstone of developing Unleashed. Under the bonnet can be found a performance high-flow aluminium radiator, oil cooler coupled with ECU-controlled cooling fans for optimum temperature control, affording owners total peace of mind.

Power is nothing without handling to match it, which is why the Unleashed’s chassis is fitted with fully adjustable shock absorbers, allowing for complete customisation to reflect a driver’s personal preference when it comes to ride comfort and cornering stability. Sports torsion bars alongside PU suspension bushings advance the handling ability of the Unleashed to even greater heights.

Each example will be handcrafted and sympathetically restored to perfection over 4,000 hours, with prices from £325,000 plus a donor car

Maserati introduces three new trims, GT, Modena and Trofeo - available for Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante 

Maserati introduces exclusive new trims for Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante as part of the range’s renewal for Model Year 22 (MY22).

The three new trims - GT, Modena and Trofeo - have been developed not only to fulfill all customers’ demands and expectations, but also to fully express the different yet complementary souls of innovation, performance and design of the Maserati range.

The Brand’s DNA is expressed through unique trims created by the synergy between Centro Stile Maserati and the Product Development Team, with in-depth research into dedicated materials, details and characterisations.

New Maserati Levante Modena MY22New Maserati Ghibli Trofeo MY22New Maserati Quattroporte GT MY22



GT Trim. GT highlights Maserati’s character, charm and elegance and embodies the Brand’s more urban, minimal, and contemporary spirit, suitable for the dynamic and curious global citizens who are fashion-conscious but with their own sophisticated, original style.

The Ghibli GT and Levante GT are equipped with a 330 hp 4-cylinder mild hybrid powerplant.*
The Quattroporte GT, on the other hand, is powered by a 350 hp V6 engine.

On the exterior, this trim enhances the models in the range with chrome inserts, while the wheel rims in 18” (for Ghibli and Levante) or 19” (for Quattroporte) are in alloy. The interior look is completed by leather comfort seats with a Dark Mirror Trim for Ghibli GT, a radica trim for Quattroporte GT, and Levante GT features a Black Piano Trim.

Modena Trim. Modena is for customers who are sports enthusiasts as a means to enjoying their time and the context to the full. For people looking for a balance of innate elegance, dynamism and fun-to-drive.

Ghibli Modena and Levante Modena are equipped with the 350 hp V6 gasoline engine. Modena S trims with 430 hp are also available for Ghibli and Levante. Quattroporte Modena features the 430 hp V6 powerplant. **

The trim enhances the cars’ athleticism through sport bumpers with Black Piano inserts and 20” alloy wheel rims. In the interior, every detail evokes the Brand’s typical driving pleasure, with sporty wraparound leather seats and Black Piano Trim interiors for Levante and Quattroporte or Dark Mirror Trim interiors for Ghibli. The Modena S trim features the Nerissimo Pack and red brake calipers.

Trofeo Trim. Trofeo represents the maximum performance of Maserati’s personality: the focus is firmly on performance, without sacrificing comfort. This trim is the top of the range in terms of package and, above all, performance. This is thanks to the powerful 580 hp V8 Twin Turbo engine. A carbon fibre trim, 21” alloy wheel rims and red brake calipers complete the exterior. The interior is luxurious, with sport seats in full-grain “Pieno Fiore” natural leather.

Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante Trofeo move into an extreme dimension, even higher-performing and faster, but always unquestionably elegant and safe.

In terms of styling, the exterior three new trims (GT, Modena and Trofeo) have the new Maserati logo (introduced with the launch of the MC20) on the bonnet, new Trident logo on the C pillar and updated rear lettering. The badges of the specific trim (with the names GT, Modena or Trofeo) will also appear just above the three iconic side air duct.

Ducati and MT Distribution present MG-20, the first folding magnesium e-bike in the Ducati Urban e-Mobility line

Ducati presents MG-20, the first folding e-bike in magnesium in the Ducati Urban e-Mobility line, developed under license by MT Distribution.

MG-20 folding e-bikeThe new MG-20 is nimble and light. The sporting character of Ducati is underlined by its distinctive design, characterized by a fluid and aerodynamic profile, and by the sharp lines of the six-spoke rims, both made with a die-casting technique.

Frame, forks and rims are made of magnesium, a material that ensures lightness and solidity, thus providing maximum performance without affecting impact resistance. The small size of the wheels (20" x 2.125") and the possibility of easily folding the e-bike and pedals make MG-20 the ideal vehicle for urban travel, also convenient for combined use with public and private transport thanks to its minimum size.

The e-bike is equipped with a 250W rear motor capable of recognizing the road conditions, the slope and the force used in pedalling, providing the appropriate level of assistance depending on the riding mode selected. The 36V 10.5Ah 378Wh SAMSUNG battery is integrated into the frame and can be pulled out for more convenient charging. A full charge allows to travel up to 50 km, at a maximum speed of 25km/h, as per regulations.

Management of the main functions, such as switching on the lights and selecting between three levels of assistance (12-18-25 km/h), takes place via the waterproof LCD display. The front LED headlight and the reflective strips on the wheels ensure safer riding even at night.

The MG-20 will be available starting from July 2021 at dealerships and in the official Ducati e-shop, as well as in specialized consumer electronics stores and major online stores. 

Volkswagen introduces airport-style digital check-in kiosks to boost convenience at retailers 

Volkswagen Retailers across the UK are providing a considerable and timely boost to customer safety and convenience, with the introduction of self-check-in at airport-style digital kiosks. These allow contact-free and efficient arrivals at participating sites, for further convenience to customers – who can also check-in online prior to arriving on location – and added safety during the Covid-19 situation.

Digital check-in kiosksThe kiosks were piloted successfully in 2020 across eight Volkswagen Retailers and provided by reception software company – and the brand’s first approved check-in kiosk provider – Tjekvik. They incorporate numerous functions useful to both the customer and the retailer, including self-check-in and check-out, a locked key drop, and home check-in via SMS, direct to the customer’s mobile phone. Digital payment via SMS links is also a popular solution.

A successful pilot scheme during 2020 saw eight Volkswagen sites use the system across a 16-week UK trial. Currently, a total of 12 Volkswagen UK Retailers operate the digital check-in kiosks, with more on their way in the coming weeks, and up to 50 sites anticipated to be using the technology by the end of 2021. One retailer in particular has embraced the technology wholeheartedly, with 81% of its customers checking in digitally and 55% checking-out digitally. 

New Citroën C3 Aircross SUV officially on sale in the UK 

The introduction of New C3 Aircross SUV sees a host of exterior and interior updates, including a re-designed front end for a more assertive look and enhanced status. Inspired by the CXPERIENCE concept car, the ‘front face’ is the latest representation of Citroën’s new design signature. The distinctive and unique identity can also be seen across other recently launched models in the range, including New C3, New C4 and New ë-C4 - 100% ëlectric.

Citroën C3 Aircross SUV Citroën C3 Aircross SUV

The new front end integrates chrome-trimmed chevrons that extend out towards the slim and distinctive LED headlights. New C3 Aircross SUV also sports a front bumper and radiator grille with a brand-new, intricate geometric pattern and a new aluminium-grey skid plate with coloured inserts that further enhance the model’s sense of robustness.

Other enhancements to the exterior design of New C3 Aircross SUV include the availability of new 16 and 17-inch alloy wheel designs, as well as three new body-colours – including striking ‘Voltaic Blue’ – and two new Colour Packs (Anodised Orange and Anodised Dark Blue). The Colour Packs add splashes of colour to the front bumper, the door mirrors and on the rear quarter-light windows. At the rear, the light clusters take on a new darker appearance.

Priced from just £17,320 OTR, New C3 Aircross SUV is available with a choice of three trim levels and three engine/gearbox combinations.

Go Green with PaulCamper in Orkney

With nearly all overseas holiday destinations on either the amber or red travel list, there’s never been a better time to rent a Campervan to explore some of the UK’s most beautiful areas, and Orkney is no exception.

Go Green with PaulCamper in OrkneyPaulCamper, Europe’s largest online platform for motorhome and campervan sharing, has added an electric Campervan to its UK portfolio. This newest signing is based in Orkney and called Spoot - the Orcadian name for a razor clam.

This Nissan Dalbury E was the world’s first all-electric camper van and, on a full charge, can easily cover up to 120 miles. Also, with a rapid charge in just 30 minutes at one of the 30 charging points in Orkney, you can quickly add a further 80 miles, so running low on charge never needs to be a worry.

Spoot is a great option for fun days out and a comfortable night's sleep - and it's environmentally friendly too. Holidaying in a Campervan gives you cooking facilities on hand, a warm shelter and this all-electric Camper means no costly fill-ups at the petrol pump.

By combining electric vehicle hire and accommodation you'll reduce your holiday costs. You can pitch at one of Orkney's many campsites or travel that bit further to mainland Scotland - the choice is yours. Equipment and bedding is included, while car seats can be provided for little travellers and attached using Isofix brackets.

If gadgets are your thing, then you’ll just love Spoot! This Campervan comes with air conditioning, a 39-litre fridge which hooks up to the 12v electrics, a solar panel and a rearview camera, making parking so much easier. It also has a pop-top, a fold-out table and a comfy sleeping area.

With interest in campervanning at an all-time high, the Highland Council has temporarily relaxed licensing rules to allow landowners to offer continental-style motorhome stopovers called Airigh. Many of these sites are free – an even better reason to head to this beautiful area.

With so many things to explore in Orkney, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Spoot’s owners love to visit the village of Evie which is located at the northern end of mainland Orkney looking out across Eynhallow Sound towards the island of Rousay.

Eynhallow sound and its emerald sapphire coloured water with beautiful golden beaches makes it a top spot to relax or take a dip in the sea. Alternatively, head over to the bronze age settlement, The Broch of Gurness – a village which began between 500 BC and 200 BC.

Orkney is also a great place to see the Northern Lights, so if you’ve always fancied seeing the Aurora Borealis, make sure to visit in Autumn or Winter. Orkney really is an all-year round destination.

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