The Abarth 124 shines already in 2019 with a FIA R-GT Cup Win in the Monte Carlo Rally…

Whilst we are driving now the stunning and totally impressive Abarth 124 GT, the news reaches us that the 2019 racing season began with success for Abarth in the FIA R-GT Cup in the Monte Carlo Rally, where the Abarth 124 rally driven by Italians Enrico Brazzoli and Manuel Fenoli reached top position.

This makes the Abarth 124 rally again the GT to beat in its category, having won in 2018 with Frenchmen Raphael Astier and Frédéric Vauclare who can be considered the world championship of this category… Just read on and look at the photos!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “The Abarth 124 shines already in 2019 with a FIA R-GT Cup Win in the Monte Carlo Rally…”

The Fiat 500 is more popular than ever in Europe…

The cute, lovable, timelessly iconic “Cinquecento” conquers European car loving hearts ever more: last year, almost 194,000 units were registered in Europe: the best ever annual figure in an eleven-year lifetime.

This makes the 500 the best-seller in 11 European countries, and in the top three in another four.

One of the keys to its success are the more than 30 special series. Novelties for 2018 included the new special series: 500 Mirror, 500 Collezione “Primavera”, 500 Spiaggina ’58 and 500 Collezione “Autunno”. Not to forget of course the new Abarth 595 range, the evolution of the Scorpion brand’s famous 500.

The 500 sets another record for the best-selling car in its segment, where it has also achieved its second best ever share of about 15%.

“This sales record reminds us that the 500 is a real timeless automotive icon, and not just for the Fiat brand,” declares Luca Napolitano, Head of EMEA Fiat and Abarth brand.  “Over its 11-year lifetime, the 500 has never gone out of fashion, and has been successful everywhere as a symbol of Italian and design and manufacturing.

“Like its illustrious predecessor, the new 500 has “brightened up” the daily lives and streets of the whole world, becoming a cool solution to international urban mobility needs”, he continued.

“Today it is the most global Fiat car, sold in more than 100 countries worldwide and with 80% of volumes generated outside Italy. Overall, from 2007 to the present, more than 2 million 110 thousand Fiat 500 cars have been built, rising to more than 6 million when added to those of the model’s predecessor, produced from 1957 to 1977, making it one of the best-selling Fiat models of all time”.

 

Displayed now in the New York MoMa…

The Fiat 500 F series will officially go on public display from February 10, 2019, as part of The Museum of Modern Art’s “The Value of Good Design” exhibition in New York.

To crown the achievements of 2018, a truly wonderful year, last December it was announced that on 10 February, during the “The Value of Good Design”, exhibition, the historic Fiat 500 F series car purchased by the MoMA in New York, will be put on public display for the first time, confirming its symbolic importance on the global design scene.

Sales success also for the Abarth 595…

We ourselves just love the “Cinquecento”, and its many versions. We hope to present you soon with some of them, and last but not least there is the new Abarth 595 range.

In October, in fact, the Sicilian capital hosted the debut of this latest incarnation of the famous Scorpion 500, expressing the two sides of its personality: performance and style. The new Abarth 595 was unveiled to an audience of fans during the Classic re-evocation of the legendary “Targa Florio”, the world’s oldest motorsports race. As you all know, Karl Abarth was closely associated with the Targa Florio, starting right after the War, as Sicily’s winding roads seem to be tailor-made for showing off his racing cars’ qualities. So the Scorpion and the Targa share a close bond, and a history of racing successes and memorable anecdotes.

“With around 23,500 cars sold in Europe and an increase of 36.5%, Abarth is achieving the best result in 2018,” explains Luca Napolitano, responsible for Fiat and Abarth for the EMEA region. “The results were excellent for numerous markets, such as Great Britain, with 5,600 units sold, with a record increase of 26.8%, or even more Spain, with 1,450 sales (+ 26.6%). On the Belux market, the brand also achieved a brilliant performance in 2018, with 1,452 units sold, an increase of 27% compared to 2017!

We hope to seduce you when spring comes, to treat you with our driving impressions of this totally iconic and sporting 595 Abarth, and of course you will welcome with us a test drive of the other versions of this timelessly endearing “Cinquecento”…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

MINI celebrates 60 years anniversary at the Brussels Motor Show 2019

The MINI stand at the Brussels Motor Show 2019 is dedicated entirely to an important anniversary. It is the scene of the world premiere of the MINI 60 Years Edition. 60 years on, MINI presents a model program to the Brussels Motor Show visitors from 19 to 27 January that offers a modern interpretation of the brand’s core properties. It ranges from the first MINI to feature an electric motor through to the extremely sporty John Cooper Works models.

Anniversary design model: the MINI 60 Years Edition.

With its exclusive design and equipment features, the MINI 60 Years Edition – to be shown in public for the first time in Brussels – authentically expresses the traditional sporting spirit and British origins of the brand.

A distinctive appearance is ensured by the body colour British Racing Green, a contrasting finish on the roof and exterior mirror caps, bonnet stripes in a specific anniversary design and 17-inch light alloy wheels in the version 60 Years Spoke 2-tone. The anniversary logo also appears on the side scuttles, door sill finishers, front headrests as well as in the LED logo projection on the driver’s side. In addition the exclusive design model has model-specific interior trim finishers.

The standard equipment of the edition vehicles also features a sports leather steering wheel as well as sports seats in the leather trim MINI Yours Leather Lounge 60 Years and the exclusive colour Dark Maroon. The MINI 60 Years Edition will be available from March 2019 onwards as a MINI 3 door and MINI 5 door, each with four engine variants.

But there is more, we also interviewed on the MINI stand in Brussels Charlie Coorper, the grandson of the famous founder of Cooper Car Company. Read further in these columns!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

Brussels Salon drives into the future…

We will treat you in the coming days ans weeks to an extensive report on the Brussels Motor Show, with some notable (world) premieres like the Range Rover Evoque, for instance. We will also let you listen in with some interviews, notably of the designer of the Evoque, and also celebrate 60 years of Mini with further interesting encounters. Driving into the future autonomously on e-power is also very much in tht foreground, like this Smart Vision EQ fortwo you see here on the photo. It is designed with car sharing in mind, and takes its passengers whenever and wherever they want to go, and it doesn’t even have a steering wheel or any commands…

Stay tuned on these columns for more!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

European premiere in Brussels for the new 911 Carrera 2S and 911 Carrera 4S

In 2019, Porsche will once again be found in Palace 1 of Brussels Expo, exclusively reserved for the prestigious Dream Cars exhibition. This year this ‘expo-in-the-expo’ will be held throughout the Brussels Motor Show. After 2018, a commercially quite successful year with no less than 3,222 Porsches were registered in Belgium, Porsche presents the eighth generation of the mythical 911 in a European premiere.

Two versions are shown to the Belgian public: the 911 Carrera 2S and the 911 Carrera 4S. The impressive Porsche booth, 600 m2 in size, will undoubtedly become the main attraction of Palace 1.

11 cars on the stand

The three 911 type 992, undeniably the stars of the 97th Brussels Salon, are in good company.

The Panamera GTS and Sport Turismo are pinnacles of GT comfort, style and speed… 

Thanks to the 718 Boxster & 718 Cayman, Macan, Cayenne and Panamera, the entire Porsche range can be admired from 19 to 27 January.

Soon we tell you more about the magnificent 911 in our columns, so stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Renault is at the Brussels Show in 2019, and looks further into the future…

The recently appointed CEO of Renault Benelux, Jerôme Pannaud, commented on the commercial results of Renault in Europe.

At its annual press conference prior to the Brussels Motor Show, Renault looks back at a very successful year, lifts the veil on new and improved models, and paints a bold scenario on how it sees the future.

All this in a beautiful and stunning “art déco” setting at the villa of the institute Bruno Lussato & Marina Fedler, which is an outstanding venue for conferences and presentations for corporates and groups.

Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “Renault is at the Brussels Show in 2019, and looks further into the future…”

Nissan previews Brussels Motor Show 2019 and introduces new engines and model versions…

Nissan will show its model range in palace 5 on the Brussels Motor Show 2019… 

Nissan has been putting forward intelligent mobility for more than a decade now, and its latest Leaf amply proves the point. It is now the number one in full electric vehicles sold on our Belgian market. Another bestseller, in the crossover segment this time, is the Qashqai.

The Alliance is now also stepping into another era of petrol engine mobility with the introduction of a new 1,3 liter petrol engine family, which the Alliance has co-developed with Daimler. Besides the Qashqai and X-Trail, it will find also a home in a larger range of Group Renault vehicles such as Captur and then Mégane Hatchback. It will also be used by Mercedes for its compact models. In Europe, the new 1.3 TCe, as it is dubbed by Renault, will be produced at Valladolid in Spain, Sunderland in the UK and at Daimler’s Kölleda plant in Germany. Worldwide, it will also be produced in China at two different plants. Vehicles powered by the engine will be sold in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Near East. The objective of Daimler and the Alliance is to produce not less one million units a year…

A model of this new engine, in the Qashqai as the DIG-T gasoline engine, was shown at the press conference, and of course we show you here the photos…Just read more here below!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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The ZOUTE GRAND PRIX ® 2018: Sun, sea and purest car pleasure…

This year’s edition of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX ® proved once again magnificent, and not alone because of the truly beautiful weather. There was a lot to see, enjoy and drive during the four days from 4 to 7 October.

As it is becoming a wonderful tradition now, not less than four events were organized, and besides this general (pictorial) review of the 9th edition of the global ZOUTE GP® event here on these pages, we will come back to you soon, dear reader, with separate reports on each of the venues. We also participated ourselves in the ZOUTE GT TOUR® with an Alpine A110…

So stay tuned…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “The ZOUTE GRAND PRIX ® 2018: Sun, sea and purest car pleasure…”

We participate in the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® 2018!

Next weekend, we will participate as a co-driver in the ZOUTE GT TOUR®, in a Renault Alpine A110, with  Anja Van Der Borght behind the wheel.  She is  a celebrated lifestyle journalist @naturalbornwriters.be and co-owner of WOWtrendmag.com.   Needless to say, we are looking forward to it!

The ZOUTE GT TOUR® is one the four main events of the 2018 edition of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX®, taking place from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 October. The ZOUTE GT TOUR® by EY is the traditional final “rolling” event of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® and starts on Sunday from 7 AM onwards on the Albertplein in Knokke. It consists of a tour of some 150 km through the magnificent polders and countryside around Knokke Zoute, and as is reserved for 200 exclusive and modern GT cars (younger than 20 years), where the crisp and beautiful Alpine truly belongs.

On this tour, to which we were kindly invited to participate by Anja Van Der Borght and thanks  to the dynamic PR department of Renault Belgium Luxembourg, four special stages and slalom tests are built in. There is a so-called TRACK 1 in Knokke, TRACK 2 on BRESKENS BEACH, TRACK 3 at BRESKENS PORT and TRACK 4 will be the FASTEST 1/4 MILE® at the Graaf d’Ursellaan in Heist.

Our car will be of more standard livery, and not in this configuration, here seen at Castellet… but it will be breathtaking nonetheless!

We will thus have ample occasion to put this French thoroughbred through its paces, and of course will report on our adventures and the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® soon in these columns!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

 

The mobility needs of Brussels: a tale of a city in motion

Here follows the second part of the interesting BMW conference held at the BMW Brand Store in Brussels, and here we focus on the presentation of Els Ampe, alderman Public works, Mobility and Dutch speaking matters in Brussels, on the mobility needs of the city of Brussels. She presented here on this photo the pedestrian space project in the centre of Brussels, adding  civic pleasure and wellness to the streets in Brussels…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “The mobility needs of Brussels: a tale of a city in motion”