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Video review: “Special” BMW M5 hits nail on head

How special is the new BMW M5? So special that it created a category of its very own: the so-called ‘super saloon’.

This is a car that has been generating serious industry buzz for some time now, so it came as no surprise that the new M5 was crowned Performance Car of the Year at the 2019 Irish Car of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres.

What makes the M5 such a super saloon? In our latest video review, Car of the Year juror Bob Flavin says the new BMW offers a distinctive blend of subtle design – and raw power.

BMW M5: power aplenty

“The M5 drives like you’d imagine the 5-series, but it has a 4.4 litre V8 under the bonnet putting out 600 horsepower,” he marvels. “Under your right foot, whenever you need it, you’ve got as much power as you could possibly desire.

“But [that power] is wrapped up in a car that also has four seats, a big boot, and can carry you anywhere you want to go,” says Bob. “It’s subtle on the outside but zippy enough on the inside that you feel like you’re driving something special.

“BMW managed to hit the nail absolutely on the head with the M5.”

You can watch our latest video review here – enjoy:

Super-special: the BMW M5 powered its way to the 2019 Performance Car of the Year award

High praise indeed from one of Ireland’s most experienced automotive journalists, and no wonder the M5 emerged victorious from a Performance Car category that also included the Alfa Romeo Stelvio QF, the Audi RS3, the Audi RS4 and the Kia Stinger G3.

The M5 features a comprehensive range of connectivity and driver assistance features including multifunctional instrument cluster and Head Up display, while that powerhouse of a V8 high-performance engine offers precision, agility, and of course bucketloads of oomph.

2019 Van of the Year category awards go to Mitsubishi and Mercedes

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Business and Mercedes-Benz X-Class have been announced as category winners of the Irish Van of the Year 2019, in association with Continental Tyres.  

Mitsubishi’s hugely popular Outlander PHEV Business model was named Irish Commercial SUV of the Year, while the rugged Mercedes-Benz X-Class picked up the award for Irish Pick Up of the Year. The overall Irish Van of the Year award for 2019 was won by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

Irish Van of the Year 2019
Van men (L-R): Jason Byrne, Mitsubishi Ireland; Anthony Conlon, Irish Van of the Year committee; Tom Dennigan, Continental Tyres; Jarlath Sweeney, Irish Van of the Year committee; Fergus Conheady, Mercedes-Benz Ireland.

The Irish Van of the Year awards are voted on by a jury of Ireland’s most experienced light commercial vehicle journalists and is a part of the annual Irish Car of the Year award. In assessing contenders, jurors consider factors including load capacity, reliability, overall versatility, cost of ownership and driving comfort.

192 commercial vehicle market

Presenting the awards, Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland said: “In today’s tough commercial vehicle market, these two vehicles have been singled out by our experts. I am sure these awards will be a huge bonus to the winning vehicles as we enter the 192 registration market”.

Anthony Conlon, juror, said: “In assessing candidates for the Irish Van of the Year category awards, our jurors pay close attention to how the vehicles meet the particular requirements of the Irish market – that is why these recommendations are so useful to Irish van / commercial drivers and fleet managers”.

Fellow jury member Jarlath Sweeney added: “For both of these category awards, there was an extremely strong field of contenders and it’s interesting to see the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Business come out on top. Plug-in hybrid vehicles and full electric CVs are becoming more and more popular as they help companies and public bodies meet their commitments in relation to reducing emissions from their business fleets”.

The Commercial SUV and Pick Up of the Year titles are category awards under the umbrella of the annual Irish Van of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres. 

Peugeot 508, Citroen DS7, SEAT Tarraco, Toyota Corolla, Ford Mustang Bullitt

We’re well into 2019, and Irish new car buyers are more spoiled for choice than ever with a raft of fabulous new model launches over the past number of weeks. With one eye firmly on the Irish Car of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres, here we round up the latest batch of shiny new arrivals… in a showroom near you!

PEUGEOT 508

PEUGEOT 508

First up is the truly gorgeous Peugeot 508 family/fleet model, which already boasts the enviable title of Most Beautiful Car of the Year. Available in three different models and with a choice of four trims – Active, Allure, GT Line, GT – the new 508 comes with Peugeot’s i-Cockpit which features a 10” touchscreen, multipoint massage function and FOCAL hi-fi sound. An estate version is scheduled for release later in the year.

CITROEN DS7 CROSSBACK

CITROEN DS7 CROSSBACK

Next out of the blocks is the DS7 Crossback, equal parts SUV and premium coupe, which arrives in Ireland with an impressive level of equipment. Available with both petrol and diesel engines (a plug-in hybrid will follow later in the year), the DS7 comes with a choice of four trims – Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige and Ultra Prestige – and a range of driver assistance technology that includes Active Scan suspension.

SEAT TARRACO

SEAT TARRACO

An out-and-out SUV – and a big one at that – SEAT’s new Tarraco crossover comes with a choice of five or seven seats and a choice of two trim levels: SE and Xcellence. A stylish model, the Tarraco is impressively equipped with a package of comfort/safety technology including a customisable digital cockpit that displays maps and driving assistance systems. Available with petrol or diesel powertrains (again, a plug-in hybrid will be available later in the year).

TOYOTA COROLLA

TOYOTA COROLLA

A dramatically restyled version of an old favourite, the new Toyota Corolla is available in Ireland as a saloon, hatchback or touring sports (hybrid) model. The cabin is a truly spacious affair, with premium touches scattered all around and a smart exterior look. The new Corolla is all about Toyota’s hybrid system, however, with options to suit all tastes.

FORD MUSTANG BULLITT

FORD MUSTANG BULLITT

Perhaps one of the most famous car brands ever built, this special edition of the iconic Ford Mustang has been launched to mark 50 years since the movie ‘Bullitt’ came out in 1968 and comes with a mighty 5-litre V8 engine and no less than five drive modes: Normal, Sport+, Snow/Wet, Track and Drag Strip. A distinctive presence on the road, the new Mustang Bullitt is a true driver’s car with six-speed manual transmission and stacks of driver/safety technology. Roar!

We’ll have another batch of 2020 awards contenders very soon.

VW Golf GTI TCR, Lexus RX 450hL, Audi Q8 50

The countdown has begun! The Irish Car of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres, may be several months away, but we’ve already got one eye on the class of ’20.

Even at this early stage we’ve seen the arrival of several hot new models into Irish showrooms. And here, as part of our ongoing news and analysis, we run the rule over three new cars widely tipped to feature as contenders in the Irish Car of the Year awards 2020.

VW GOLF GTI TCR

First up is the new VW Golf GTI TCR, a very hot hatch with a proud motorsports heritage. And boy does it show! Inside and out, the new Golf GTI features sporty touches and flourishes including slimmer headlights, slick black air intake vents and wider side sills that give the car a crouching, powerful stance.

Hot hatch: new Golf GTI TCR

The sports theme continues inside, with chequered seat covers, sports steering wheel and classic ‘golfball’ gearstick.

Performance-wise, the new GTI offers a 2-litre turbo direct petrol injection engine (0 to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds) while the car is fitted with a range of performance features including electronic differential lock (XDS), advanced progressive steering and sports running gear.

There’s a cutting-edge infotainment system and a host of driver assistance options including Blind Spot Sensor with Rear Traffic Alert, adaptive cruise control (ACC) as standard and City Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring.

LEXUS RX 450hL

Next out of the blocks is the 7-seater Lexus RX 450hL, a family-sized SUV with a strong emphasis on luxury. The new Lexus hybrid features an even bigger and more versatile cargo space – think family holidays – with three rows of seats in a 40-20-40 split-bench configuration.

'Ones to watch' for the Irish Car of the Year awards 2020 include the VW Golf GTI TCR, Lexus RX 450hL and Audi Q8 50
SUV: Lexus RX 450hL

The new SUV is big on style too, with what Lexus describes as a ‘floating-roof’ effect created by blacked-out C-pillars as well as wrap-around L-shaped LED lights at the rear and the distinctive spindle grille.

Inside, the Takumi have been hard at work with a precision-finished cabin offering touches of craftsmanship here, there and everywhere including separate air-conditioning zones for each row of seats.

The new RX is available in Ireland with a choice of hybrid and petrol engines and a comprehensive safety package including pre-collision system (PCS) and pedestrian detection, lane-assist, automatic high-beam and all-speed dynamic radar cruise control plus side curtain airbags along all three rows.

AUDI Q8 50

Our trio of newcomers is completed by the new Audi Q8 50, another SUV that combines size with style and sporty credentials. The patriarch of Audi’s Q family features a distinctive front end with a very sleek silhouette and sculpted rear, with quattro ‘blisters’.

Head of the Q family: Audi Q8 50

On the road, the new Q8 offers permanent all-wheel drive which the company says delivers better acceleration and deceleration with enhanced road-holding capabilities for a sporty drive.

This is an SUV that’s packed with technology, although in this case less (buttons) is more (convenience). The Q8 offers ‘MMI touch response’ with an intuitive control system designed to make it easier and safer to navigate between control and infotainment features. There’s also a 10-inch touchscreen and a high-res 3D map in the cockpit.

Safety is paramount, as you’d expect, with a range of assistance features including adaptive cruise control, efficiency assist, lane change warning, curb warning and a 360-degree camera, all backed up by a central driver assistance controller with a multitude of radar sensors, cameras and scanners.

Plenty more to come

Early contenders from VW, Lexus and Audi! But there will certainly be plenty more where those three new arrivals came from – we’ll be keeping you posted with more news as the year unfolds.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is 2019 Irish Van of the Year

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been named Irish Van of the Year 2019, in association with Continental Tyres.

The Sprinter came out on top in a hugely competitive field of eight shortlisted vans for this year’s title. The contenders included alternative-fuelled vehicles and, for the first time, two electric-powered vans.

Latest van technology

Voted on by a jury of 11 of Ireland’s most experienced commercial vehicle journalists, the annual Irish Van of the Year Award acknowledges productivity, safety, comfort and fuel efficiency in the latest van technology.

Presenting the award to Fergus Conheady of Mercedes Benz Ireland, Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres, said: “This latest version of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter brings a new level of comfort, driving dynamics and economy to the commercial sector and it is no surprise that it has been voted the best van in Ireland. I am sure the Irish Van of the Year title will be a huge boost to the Sprinter in the very competitive commercial vehicle marketplace.”

Joint Chairmen of the Irish Van of the Year jury, Brian Byrne and Jarlath Sweeney, commented:

“The improved safety and driver assistance systems of the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter alone make it a worthy winner against some very capable competition, but the future-proofing of the vehicle by making it ready for new developments in delivery technologies brings it to another level.

“Future-proofing”

“The new generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is interesting in that it’s more than just a van, offering interesting solutions to improve operational delivery efficiencies through connectivity. New Sprinter features good redesign, with excellent driving behaviour, backed up by numerous safety and driver assistance systems.”

Volvo XC40 crowned Irish Car of the Year 2019

The Irish Car of the Year Awards in association with Continental Tyres took place tonight, November 8, at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin.

Motoring journalists from print, online and broadcasting hosted a gala black tie event attended by Ireland’s leading car brands, importers, distributors and other motoring dignitaries.

 

The Volvo took the top award with its XC40 model which was also named as Irish Compact Crossover of the Year category winner.

ICOTY Committee member Bob Flavin said: “Congratulations to the Volvo XC40 for winning through from a field of some 48 new models launched this year on the Irish market.”

ICOTY Committee member Mark Gallivan said: “What a wonderful array of cars we had in this year’s competition, it was a very tight race and the XC40 is a very worthy winner.”

Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres said about the awards: “The choices of the Irish Car of the Year jury provide a great helping hand to Irish consumers in navigating their way through the bewildering array of high tech vehicles that are launched in Ireland each year and in this regard, Continental is delighted to be associated with the Irish Car of the Year awards.”

The category winners: 

  • Ford Focus – Irish Small / Compact Car of the Year 2019
  • SEAT Arona – Irish Small Crossover of the Year 2019
  • Volvo XC40 – Irish Compact Crossover of the Year 2019
  • Skoda Karoq – Irish Medium Crossover of the Year 2019
  • Volkswagen Touareg – Irish Large Crossover of the Year 2019
  • Mercedes Benz CLS – Irish Executive / Premium Car of the Year 2019
  • Ford Fiesta ST – Irish Hot Hatchback of the Year 2019
  • BMW M5 – Irish Performance Car of the Year 2019
  • Nissan Leaf – Irish Green / Efficient Car of the Year 2018
  • Nissan Leaf E Pedal – Irish Car of the Year Innovation Award 2019

Apart from the Innovation category award winner, the nine other category winners were all in the running for the top honour with the judging panel of some 33 journalists electing the Volvo XC40 by a very slim margin.  The 2018 Irish Car of the Year award was won by the Peugeot 3008.

The Mercedes Benz Sprinter was voted as Irish Van of the Year 2019.

The Irish Car of the Year committee.

Bob Flavin, Mark Gallivan, Eoin Treacy and Martin McCarthy.

Nissan’s e-Pedal scoops Innovation Award at Irish Car of the Year awards

The Nissan Leaf e-Pedal has won the special Innovation Award at the 2019 Irish Car of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres.

The e-Pedal is part of the Nissan Leaf’s array of intelligent power features, enabling the driver to accelerate, decelerate and come to a complete stop with a single movement. The e-Pedal is designed to give the driver better control going up or down hills or when driving on winding roads.

The Innovation category was a closely-fought affair, with Nissan’s e-Pedal seeing off competition that included the Audi A8’s Level 3 Autonomy, Citroen’s Advanced Comfort Seats, Citroen’s Progressive Hydraulic Cushion Suspension, Mercedes Benz’s MBUX interface, the Volvo XC60’s Run off Road Mitigation and the Volvo XC40’s Smart Storage.

The 2019 Innovation Award was presented at this evening’s Irish Car of the Year awards, which took place at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin. The Nissan Leaf was also named Green / Efficient Car of the Year.

Congratulations to Nissan!

Nissan Leaf crowned 2019 Green / Efficient Car of the Year

The Nissan Leaf has been named Green / Efficient Car of the Year at the 2019 Irish Car of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres.

The Nissan Leaf features an array of innovative technology including the e-Pedal that allows drivers to accelerate, brake and stop completely all with one pedal, plus Nissan’s ‘Intelligent Mobility’ system with ProPilot that controls acceleration, steering and braking.

Other contenders in the Green / Efficient Car category included the Ford Mondeo HEV, Jaguar I-Pace and Kia Nero PHEV.

The award for 2019 Green / Efficient Car of the Year was presented at this evening’s Irish Car of the Year awards, which took place at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin.

Congratulations to Nissan!

BMW M5 named Irish Performance Car of the Year 2019

The BMW M5 has been named Irish Performance Car of the Year at the 2019 Irish Car of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres.

The BMW M5 features a comprehensive range of connectivity and driver assistance features including multifunctional instrument cluster and Head Up display, while performance is underscored by the M V8 high-performance engine with cooling air.

The Performance Car category also included models such as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio QF, Audi RS3, Audi RS4 and Kia Stinger G3.

The award for 2019 Performance Car of the Year was presented at this evening’s Irish Car of the Year awards, which took place at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin.

Well done to BMW!

Ford Fiesta ST crowned 2019 Hot Hatchback of the Year

The Ford Fiesta ST has been named Hot Hatchback of the Year at the 2019 Irish Car of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres.

The Ford Fiesta ST is available with three selectable drive modes – Normal, Sport and Track – as well as an array of driver assist technology including Lane-Keeping System and safety features such as Electronic Stability Control.

The Fiesta ST beat off stiff competition in the Hot Hatchback category including the Hyundai i30N, Volkswagen Polo GTI, Renault Megane RS, Suzuki Swift Sport Toyota Yaris GRMN.

The award for 2019 Hot Hatchback of the Year was presented at this evening’s Irish Car of the Year awards, which took place at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin.

Congratulations to Ford!