Now as an Automotive Journalist, one of the things I have never done is go to a Press Event, now of course I’ve went and set up events to see cars before – like the time with the DB2/4 but I’ve never ever went to a Launch Event – that had to change!!
For my first Press Event, I didn’t want to go too big as I would certainly both look out of place & be way over my head, so what I decided to do was to head over to the Volvo XC40 UK Launch Event, the reason why I Picked Volvo was because of a few reasons, First of all, I’d never really been up on the XC40 so wanted to get some info on it, second of all, I had been informed by a close friend of mine that it was happening all over the UK and all I had to do was sign up for it and everything else would be sorted out (so really simple to sign up for), on top of that, being a Volvo owner myself, I would have a better idea of what was going on, how they’d evolved as a company and wouldn’t look too out of place.
So lets get onto the car shall we, this event was to basically launch the recently released Volvo XC40 into the UK Market, the particular XC40 on show was an XC40 2.0 D4 First Edition AWD Auto, with a 190bhp Diesel engine, it is the only Diesel engine available as of launch to be available to the XC40, you can of course go for a Petrol and that would be the 2.0 T5 Petrol with a stonking 247bhp, Trim Levels are plentiful on the XC40 too with Momentum (Base Model), Inscription (Luxury Model) & R-Design (Sporty model), on top of that their is both Pro version models of all the above, but the top model by far as of now is the First Edition, this is essentially a R-Design Pro but with nearly every single option ticked, these include a Leather interior, a lovely set of 20″ 5 double spoke Alloy Wheels with a mix of Diamond Cut & Matte Black added in for good measure, R-Design Bodykit, Full LED Active High Beam headlamps, Pilot Assist, an iPad like infotainment system and an optional boot divider which normally comes in the Convenience Pack amongst many others.
Interior wise, it was actually rather smart for a small SUV, it had more than enough space, plenty of comfort and everything was so easy to use and so intuitive, when inside you could tell straight away the quality of all the materials used was up there with it’s big brothers the XC60 & XC90, In fact, it uses a lot of tech with it’s bigger brothers as well meaning that it feels like a Volvo should, In terms of cubby space and equipment, there was pilot assist, a removal bin in the centre console, a mobile phone charging system, electric memory seats, heated seats all round, Start/Stop technology, keyless entry, push button start, a gorgeously wrapped leather steering wheel with multi functions for both the infotainment system and pilot assist functions.
In the rear It had a rather smart set of air vents which both felt great to use and also looked nice as well and underneath them, slightly hidden away was a set of heated seat switches and a output for charging what looked like either a phone or iPad, our press car had the half leather, half alcantara seats which were really comfortable, In between the two outer seats there was an arm rest imbedded into the middle seat, In the boot was the divider I mentioned earlier which had hooks you could hang stuff on, it had electrically operated rear seats, simply push the two buttons and the seats fold down, it also had a 12v socket for the likes of a cool-box and a electric tailgate with a lockable option once closed.
Price wise, the XC40 starts at just under £28,000 and goes up to around about £40,000+ for a fully specced T5 First Edition, in the coming weeks and months their will be more engines available with rumours of a 3 cylinder unit coming in soon enough as well as more diesels.
The Atmosphere at the Showroom was very good, all the staff were very welcoming and down to chat and to talk through the car, and even though most people their were potentially there to buy a car, as soon as I pointed out my C70 which was outside, I got a rewarding smile back which made me feel welcome, overall the dealership knocked it out the park!
A Special Thank you goes to Volvo Parks Ayr for their fantastic hospitality, Volvo Cars & Volvo Cars UK for putting on the Launch nationwide and to Callum Laird – the legend who let me know it was happening in the first place, without him, I’d never of been able to go. Hopefully this isn’t the only press event I get to go to as I’d like to do more, for my first however, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it!
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson
In the World of Supercars, for many years the Ferrari 458 Speciale has dominated all, it has been raved about for having the most pure driving experience of any car, on top of that, with a brilliant chassis, handling was absolutely sublime, the only issue with the 458 these days however is it’s age, it’s nearly 5 years old and with the new age of Supercars coming out, it is slowly but surely losing the crown of the best driving supercar so Ferrari have decided to up the anté by releasing the 488 Pista.
The 488 Pista is the latest lightweight track focused Ferrari carrying on from the 458 Speciale, the F430 Scuderia & the 360 Challenge Stradale.
Ferrari states that the Pista takes a significant step forward over it’s predecessors & just like the car it replaces, there is tons of motorsport derived technology which is implemented into it, even it’s name is Italian for Track – in case you never knew!
It’s the first Lightweight Ferrari to be Turbocharged instead of naturally aspirated with the Engine straight from the normal 488 of course, that means it’s a 3,9 TT V8 which powers it, on top of the engine being re-done with brand new performance parts, the Pista is 90kg lighter than the normal 488 which means it has a kerb weight of 1,280kg before fluids which should make it an absolute hoot around the twists or a racetrack.
As mentioned above, it shares the same 3.9 TT V8 engine as the normal 488 but instead of 661 bhp, power has been increased to a whopping 711bhp which is a power hike of nearly 50bhp, may not sound like much but if you compare it to the old 458 Speciale, it has a power hike of 114bhp, to get the power increase, many new improvements have been made which includes a new Inconel exhaust system which is the same material Jag use in the F-Type SVR which means it should sound as good as it looks as well as making the car lighter, on top of that, many handling upgrades have been made too.
Many of the Aerodynamics have also been tweaked too to make it more slippery in the air – many of which have been incorporated from the 488 GTE race car, these include similarly borrowed designed front & rear diffusers which gives a 20% hike in downforce which means it can do without a huge rear wing like the 911 GT3 RS which makes it easier on the eye as well as being just as capable on track
Ferrari’s Side-Slip Angle Control system also is incorporated into the new Pista with it being in it’s sixth generation – what is that you may ask? well in it’s simplest form, it allows you to manage and maintain perfect oversteer, essentially turning you into a perfect drifter, it is already in the 488 GTB so should be even better in the Pista.
0-60 comes up in 2.85 seconds while 0-124mph comes up in 7.6 seconds and with a top speed of more than 211 mph it’s certainly not hanging around at all.
Now of course, being the lightweight track version of the already existing 488 GTB, the styling has been changed drastically, just like the transformation from the normal 458 to the Speciale, the Pista has squared off angles, subtle but noticeable aggression and of course optional racing stripes, the Pista is finished off with a beautiful set of 20in Carbon wheels which is a first for Ferrari, all these lovely little extras make it a lovely car on the eye, unlike the 458 Speciale which personally looked like a bulldog chewing a wasp from the front, the new car is a whole lot sleeker but still as aggressive, personally, I prefer it over the Speciale but that’s my opinion.
Inside you’ll find an interior just like the old Speciale, it has 4 point racing harness set onto a beautiful set of Alcantara bucket seats with a red stripe running through the middle & red stitching, exposed Carbon Fibre, Yellow Dials with a TFT Display, an alcantara & Carbon Fibre dashboard with a red stripe running along the whole length of it and a 488 Pista badge imbedded just above the glovebox, in the centre console you have the buttons for the chassis settings & active exhaust and last but not least a rather lovely flat bottomed steering wheel with matching red stitching, however to keep weight down there is no Mats to speak of, now of course you can make it a little bit more luxurious but that’s kinda missing the point of a lightweight track focused Ferrari
Expect Prices and full specs to be revealed later this year at the Geneva Motor Show where both this and the new 911 GT3 RS 991.2 will be released, Ferrari are unfortunately keeping Prices & specs quiet for the time being but I expect it to be near £300k at best. It’s either a Pista or a 911 GT3 RS, Saying that both are released at the same show, it’d be good to see which one is better.
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson