In our latest round-up of new arrivals, we focus on exciting new models from Mercedes-Benz and Audi, plus a very interesting update to the Nissan Leaf, our reigning Irish Green/Efficient Car of the Year. Well into 2019 at this stage, and the contenders for this year’s awards are coming thick and fast!
Mercedes-Benz GLC 63 S Coupé
A lovely coupé version of the much-lauded GLC, this latest offering from Mercedes-Benz is tipped for big things, not least because of the mighty 4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine lurking beneath the bonnet. This gives the new GLC a surge of power that has to be felt to be believed – pure joy on the open road – without losing any of the refinement or responsiveness that is one of the many hallmarks of the GLC.
The GLC 63 also benefits from a range of new additions and updates including 21-inch alloy wheel options, a snazzy new grille and lights (high-performance LEDs), as well as new ‘designo’ colour options: diamond white bright, hyacinth red metallic and selenite grey magno. Inside, there’s a new instrument panel and much bigger infotainment system along with sporty new bucket seats.
Safety and comfort are central to the new GLC, with the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Driving system designed to take the strain out of any journey. There is Active Braking Assist, PRE-SAFE system, Blind Spot and Traffic Sign Assist, while the new ‘Distronic’ system automatically regulates the distance between you and the vehicle in front: very handy in slow-moving traffic.
We’re only really touching the surface here, as the new GLC 63 is packed full of features and equipment. With its distinctive coupé look, the new GLC is one of the most noteworthy new arrivals of the year.
Genuinely one of the best all-rounders on the market, the first thing to say about the new Audi SQ2 crossover is that it looks fantastic. Stylishly subtle with neat black detailing throughout, the new SQ2 comes with a range of visual options including quattro decals and quad exhausts so you can tune up the look to your heart’s content.
On the road, the SQ2 offers a nice high driving position with loads of acceleration and light, sporty handling that fits squarely with the SUV/crossover feel.
Equipment levels are comprehensive with loads of thoughtful touches, features and options including Active Lane Assist, Driver Assistance, Adaptive Cruise Control, forward collision warning, parking system, rear parking sensors, ‘hill hold’ assist, cruise control, rear view camera and Audi’s side assist. The SQ2 comes bristling with airbags and other safety technology, including a handy first aid kit.
As we write, it’s not yet clear whether the SQ2 will actually be on sale in Ireland… we can but hope!
Nissan Leaf 62 kWh
Well now… this is certainly interesting. Already one of the pace-setters in the EV space, with the 2019 Irish Green/Efficient Car of the Year trophy safely on the mantelpiece, Nissan have set the bar even higher with a new longer-range engine designed to broaden the appeal of the Leaf.
At a glance, the new Leaf is not hugely different from the existing hatchback model. Not that there’s anything much wrong with that, given that the exciting stuff largely happens out of sight, i.e. in that much-acclaimed electric motor and battery pack. The latter features a 50+% increase in storage power while the capacity of the motor has also gone up from 110 to 150 kWh. All of which adds up to a really attractive and interesting package for those seeking a ‘conventional’ drive in EV form.
There’s a comprehensive array of safety, driver assistance and other technology but the highlight is undoubtedly Nissan’s multi-award-winning e-Pedal, which allows you to accelerate and brake with the same pedal. The e-Pedal takes a little getting used to but is a really great piece of kit and one of the most progressive technologies in the industry – a worthy winner of the 2019 Innovation Award too.
2020 awards on the horizon
Things are bubbling up nicely ahead of the 2020 Irish Car of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres, and we’ll continue to keep an eagle eye on all new car launches ahead of our awards event in November. Not every model reviewed here will be eligible for the awards, but all will be revealed when the ICOTY jury announcers its shortlist later in the year. Stay tuned!