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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. 

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.


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.


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.


“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.”

Video recap: 2019 Irish Car of the Year awards

The 2019 Irish Car of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres, took place on 8 November last at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin.

Volvo’s acclaimed XC40 grabbed the headlines, winning the overall crown of 2019 Irish Car of the Year as well as storming to victory in the Irish Compact Crossover of the Year category – a great night’s work for Volvo!

A total of 10 category awards – in addition to the overall prize – were handed out in front of a packed audience of motoring journalists, manufacturers and industry representatives.

To mark another memorable night in the Irish automotive calendar, we’ve put together a special 2-minute video recap featuring all the 2019 winners, as well as a few familiar faces. Enjoy!


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.

50 new cars in the running for 2019 Irish Car of the Year awards

The Irish Car of the Year committee has this week revealed the 50 vehicles in the running for the 2016 Irish Car of the Year awards, in association with Continental Tyres.

This year’s awards ceremony will take place at the Gibson Hotel, Dublin, on Thursday, 8th November 2018.

The 50-strong ‘longlist’ was selected by a jury comprising 37 of Ireland’s most experienced motoring journalists. The jury will have a refresher drive day in October – where they will have an opportunity to appraise all cars again – before casting their votes for the Irish Car of the Year 2019.

Here are the 50 cars in the hunt for Irish Car of the Year 2019:

  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV
  • Audi A1
  • Audi A6
  • Audi A8
  • Audi Q5
  • Audi RS3
  • Audi RS4
  • BMW X2
  • BMW X3
  • BMW X4
  • BMW M5
  • BMW 6 Series GT
  • Citroen C3 Aircross
  • Dacia Duster
  • Ford EcoSport
  • Ford Fiesta ST
  • Ford Focus
  • Ford Mondeo HEV
  • Honda Civic Type R
  • Hyundai Electric Kona
  • Hyundai i30N
  • Hyundai Kona
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Jaguar E-Pace
  • Jaguar I-Pace
  • Jeep Compass
  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Kia Ceed
  • Kia Niro PHEV
  • Kia Stinger
  • Kia Stonic
  • Lexus LS 500h
  • Mercedes A Class
  • Mercedes CLS
  • Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Opel Grandland
  • Porsche Cayenne
  • SEAT Arona
  • Skoda Karoq
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Subaru XV
  • Suzuki Swift Sport
  • Toyota Yaris GRMN
  • Volkswagen Polo
  • Volkswagen Polo GTi
  • Volkswagen Touareg
  • Volkswagen T-Roc
  • Volvo V60
  • Volvo XC40

Good luck to all runners and riders! We’ll have more news and updates as the big day gets closer.