As ever, there’s been plenty going on in the world of cars this week.
From A super-exclusive Aston Martin to a Mercedes that’s getting close to driving itself, here’s a selection of the big news of the past seven days.
If you’re looking for a new car visit www.exchangeandmart.co.uk/new-cars and www.s1cars.com/new-cars
An even more British Aston Martin
Think British cars, think Aston Martin – it’s as simple as that. Now, however, if the good old Aston isn’t Blighty enough for you, there’s soon to be a super red white and blue one.
Not literally, but Aston has announced its latest super-exclusive ‘Q by Aston Martin’ creation, of which there will be just 10 examples made.
The Vanquish S Red Arrows edition is inspired by the legendary aerobatic team and has been commissioned by Aston Martin Cambridge, each with special design features, hand-crafted interiors and graphic elements that nod to the Red Arrows.
The Q by Aston Martin Vanquish S Red Arrows edition is finished in striking Eclat Red, mirroring the instantly familiar livery of the Hawk jets used by the team and referencing the word 'Eclat,' the Red Arrows' motto.
A host of subtle details enhance the bodywork and interior, from white and blue carbon livery detailing to the white 'smoke trail' feature on the side strake.
An exposed carbon fibre roof panel includes an inlaid 'charge' pattern mimicking the canopy design of a fast jet, while Union Jack enamel wing badges and a titanium exhaust complete the exterior package.
Inside, Red Arrows and RAF inspired details are used throughout, such as the Pinewood green inserts that evoke the design of the classic flight suit and Martin Baker Ejection Seat fabric, together with the green webbing seatbelts.
The signature Red Arrows emblem of nine aircraft in classic 'diamond' formation is embroidered on the seat backs, along with unique sill and engine inspection plaques. The latter will be signed, one through to 10, by the equivalent number 'Red' pilot in the squadron.
The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team logo is embroidered on the transmission tunnel and the rear of the cabin is finished in the 2+0 configuration, allowing for rear-mounted stowage of twin racing helmets, both finished in the Red Arrows livery.
The One-77-derived steering wheel is paired with a bespoke centre rotary toggle switch inspired by aviation instrumentation and switchgear, including black/yellow hatched design pattering on seat fold and door pulls.
The door cards are embroidered with a graphic of the iconic 'Vixen Break,' a spectacular high-G 9-aircraft formation.
Each owner will receive accessories that could include racing helmets, racing suits, bespoke embroidered bomber jackets and a Vanquish S bespoke luggage set, together with a highly-detailed die-cast 1:18 model of their car and the Hawk aircraft.
A specially designed car cover and Build Book will also be issued. Fittingly, nine Vanquish S models mirrors the nine-aircraft formation made famous by the Red Arrows.
The tenth car is being gifted to the RAF Benevolent Fund, the charity established to provide support to former servicemen and women and their families.
Reds one to nine are available to purchase through Aston Martin Cambridge. Price is on application, but if you need to ask then you probably can’t afford it.
To Infiniti and beyond
Nissan’s luxury arm, Infiniti, has revealed the QX80 Monograph, which it says is a new design study exploring upscale luxury and its intention to cement itself in the large SUV segment.
It says that the new concept “combines luxury with a commanding presence and demonstrates the high levels of space and utility for which the QX80 production car is renowned”.
“The QX80 Monograph represents a detailed study into our expertise of exterior design,” said Roland Krueger, Infiniti’s president.
“QX80 Monograph shows our concept of luxury and style on the road and is an exploration into how we could enhance our future Infiniti offering in the luxury SUV segment.”
Unmistakable Infiniti signature design elements include the ‘double-arch’ grille, which for this vehicle is taller and wider, while the crescent-cut D-pillar has been reshaped.
Merc’s limo takes a step nearer being self-driven
Mercedes-Benz’s new S-Class will come with one of the most advanced driver assistance system ever seen in what the German marque is calling a “major step towards autonomous driving”.
It says that Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist will now “support the driver even more conveniently in keeping a safe distance and steering and the vehicle speed is now also automatically adjusted in bends and at road junctions”.
Also on board are Active Emergency Stop Assist and a “considerably improved Active Lane Change Assist”.
Dr Michael Hafner, head of automated driving and active safety at Mercedes‑Benz, said: “The new S-Class raises Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive to the next level.
“We are approaching the goal of automated driving more purposefully and faster than many people suspect.
“From the autumn, the new S‑Class will be able to support its driver considerably better than all systems which have been available to date.”
Thanks to enhanced camera and radar systems, the new S‑Class has an even better view of the traffic situation: in addition, for the first time, it makes use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behaviour.
Dr Michael Hafner added: "We have always programmed the software for the assistance functions in-house. This means that we are able to implement new ideas very quickly."
New Lambo’s UK debut
Lamborghini’s new Aventador S will take its UK bow at The London Motor Show, it has been announced.
Joining fellow UK motor show debutants such as the Alpine A110, Liberty Walk’s McLaren 650S and the BAC Mono, the Aventador S will take pride of place under the umbrella of leading luxury dealer group H.R. Owen alongside some of the most high-profile brands of the show, including the latest models from the likes of Ferrari, Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
Fresh from a show-stopping world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, the Aventador S is a more powerful and focused version of the venerable Aventador that packs a whopping 730bhp – 40bhp more than its sibling.
It has a more aggressive front bumper than before and is sure to demand plenty of attention at the show.
Lamborghini London recently celebrated being crowned the brand’s most successful dealership in 2016 and in the Aventador S it will be displaying the most potent member of its fleet.
Alec Mumford, chairman of The London Motor Show, said: “We are delighted to welcome Lamborghini to The London Motor Show and really can’t wait for the Aventador S to hit the H.R. Owen stand.
“The car was a huge head turner in Geneva and it will certainly command plenty of attention at Battersea Park. H.R. Owen’s stand will feature some of the most desirable models in the world and the Aventador S is right up there as one of the potential show stars.”
New Volvo XC60 is on sale
Volvo’s new XC60 SUV is now available to order, with prices starting at a not-exactly-cheap £37,205 for the D4 AWD Momentum version.
The XC60 is the first of Volvo’s mid-sized 60 series models to be built on its Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform. It is powered by Volvo’s Drive-E powertrains and features much of the connectivity, entertainment and safety technology from the larger 90 series cars – the S90 saloon, V90 estate and XC90 SUV.
A choice of three 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines will initially be available – the D4 and D5 PowerPulse diesels – and the T5 petrol. A T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric plug-in hybrid will be available later in the year.
Every XC60 comes with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
Volvo says that the D4 offers 190hp, combined fuel consumption of up to 55.4 mpg and CO2 emissions from 133 g/km.
The D5 has 235hp, combined fuel consumption of 51.4 mpg and CO2 emissions of 144 g/km. It also benefits from PowerPulse, a Volvo invention that uses compressed air to spin the engine’s two turbos when they would otherwise be dormant, such as at very low engine revs, boosting responsiveness.
The T5 offers 254hp, combined fuel economy of up to 39.2 mpg and CO2 emissions from 164 g/km.