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2018 MG ZS SUV launched in Australia

There’s another new compact SUV available to Australian car buyers with MG today launching the MG ZS.
Landing in dealerships now, the new MG offering will sit below the MG GS SUV, and will take on rivals like the Mazda CX-3 and Holden Trax.
The new MG offering boasts two advantages over many of the established players in the market – warranty and price.
Related: MG welcomes reliability study ranking
MG Motor Australia today confirmed the new offering will be the first model to come with the brand’s new seven-year warranty and seven-years roadside assistance too.
While pricing for the MG ZS will initially start from just $20,990, an entry-level model is expected in Australia next year and will launch, most likely, below $20,000.
There are two model grades now available in Australia – the mid-spec Soul and the top-spec Essence (priced from $23,990).
The main difference between the two is the engine – the MG ZS Soul boasting a 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated engine that produces 84kW/150Nm.
The top grade model goes turbo with a 1.0 litre unit that brings 82kW/160Nm.
Both variants come as standard with two-wheel drive, the Soul with just a four-speed auto, Essence with a six-speed transmission.
Both models get alloy wheels standard, Apple CarPlay, reverse camera, rear parking sensors and an 8″ colour touchscreen.
At this stage there is no ANCAP safety rating for the MG ZS, however the MG GS recently received a maximum five-star safety score and MG is hoping the ZS will soon boast the same rating.
The new Chinese-built SUV offering does boast front, side and full side curtain airbags.
MG say the new addition to their range is a practical car with a dynamic personality, we look forward to bringing you a first drive review when facilitated by MG.
Related: 2017 Sales milestone for MG3
Stay up to date with all the latest MG News at behindthewheel.com.au. 
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Ford Mondeo celebrates 25 years

The Ford Mondeo celebrates a big birthday this week – 25 years in existence.
The mid-size model, available in five-door hatch and wagon in Australia, consistently runs a distant second to the mighty Toyota Camry in the segment.
That always seems a bit of a shame given the Mondeo’s strong attributes (check out our most recent review).
Related: Roof rack for Ford Mondeo recalled
Never the less, a 25th birthday is always worth celebrating.
It was 1992 when the Ford Mondeo first hit the UK market and history shows the model went on to become the brand’s best-selling model in Britain.
In its first year on sale in the UK Ford sold 88,660 Mondeos, remarkably only a small handful of those first cars survive today.
Marking the anniversary, UK motoring website Honest John Classics, took a look at how many of those 1993 Ford Mondeos are still registered in the UK.
It was found just 322 of the cars survive today.
“The Mondeo’s fate is typical of so many 1990s cars that we grew up with. Bought for a bag of chips, run on a shoestring, and thrown in the bin. At this rate, there won’t be any left for future generations to enjoy.” – Keith Moody, editor of Honest John Classics.
While the model’s popularity in the UK among new car buyers is not what is used to be.
The Mondeo no longer makes the list of top ten best-selling cars in the UK, instead, just like here in Australia, buyers are instead increasingly opting for crossovers and SUVs.
Related: Updated 2017 Ford Mondeo arrives
Did you ever own a Ford Mondeo? Was it a good car? Do you still have one? Let us know all about your Ford Mondeo in the comments section below.
Stay up to date with all the latest Ford News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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Volvo XC40 now in production

Volvo steps into a new era today with production of the new Volvo XC40 starting up.
The XC40 is the first small SUV from the Swedish car brand and an offering that is set to significantly boost the now Chinese-owned car company’s annual sales numbers.
Related: Volvo signs deal with Uber for self-driving car supply
Already, Volvo has taken more than 13,000 orders for the XC40, those customers can expect to get their vehicle in early 2018.
We can expect the Volvo XC40 in Australia a little later in the year.
Revealed only in September and being built in Belgium, Volvo President Hakan Samuelsson says the commencement of production is an exciting event for the company.
“Our people have put in long days and many hours to prepare the plant for the start of XC40 production and they have done a great job.
The XC40 represents a bright future for Volvo Cars.”
Coming soon to Australia – Volvo’s new XC40 compact SUV.
Related: Volvo on track for record 2017 sales
We will bring you updated Australian availability, pricing and specification details as info comes to hand.
Stay up to date with the latest Volvo News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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2018 BMW M5 Pricing, Specs confirmed

BMW Australia has just confirmed pricing and specification details for the keenly-anticipated new BMW M5.
Set to land in Australia in the second quarter of 2018, along with a small number of special ‘First Edition’ vehicles (coverage here), the sixth-generation M5 range will start from $199,900.
Related: 2018 BMW i3 and i3s confirmed for January arrival
Also with the standard M5 and the ‘First Edition’, BMW will also have 50 ‘Launch Edition’ cars available to keen Aussie buyers.
Some of the big changes that the new M5 will boast include:

Updated 441kW/750Nm 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8 engine
xDrive all-wheel drive
New M5-specific eight-speed auto transmission

While the new M5 will also weigh 15kgs less than the outgoing model, this is thanks mainly to the inclusion of additional carbon-fibre components.
It will cover the 0-100km/h sprint in just 3.4 seconds.
Standard features in the new M5 will include:

Autonomous emergency braking
Lane Keep Assist
Automated parking
Front and rear cameras
Head-up display
Full Merino leather trim
Bi-colour 20” alloy wheels

BMW Australia CEO, Marc Werner, says the car is set to be very warmly welcomed by dealers and customers alike.
“It’s combination of awesome power and torque, switchable four-wheel drive system, innovative technologies and the ability to carry five passengers in comfort is truly unique.
“To bring this incredible package to market at such a strong price point is further proof of our standing among BMW’s M Division globally.”
Related: BMW teases new i8 Roadster…again
Stay up to date with the latest BMW News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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Australia to get just 5 M5 First Edition cars

The all-new BMW M5 is heading to Australia next year and to mark that arrival comes a special ‘First Edition’ variant.
Limited to just 400 cars wordwide, BMW Australia today confirmed we would see five of those cars in Australia in the second quarter of 2018, they will be priced from $229,900.
Related: Victoria Police choose BMW 5 Series
The BMW M5 First Edition boasts:

Frozen Dark Red metallic paint
Jet Black 20″ M alloy wheels
Full Leather Merino upholstery in Smoke white
‘M5 First Edition 1/400’ interior signet
BMW M Carbon Engine Cover

While power comes exclusively from BMW’s 441kW/750Nm 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8 engine.
BMW Australia boss, Marc Werner, says all five cars are expected to be snapped up quickly by Aussie M5 enthusiasts.
“We are over the moon with the specification and pricing levels we’ve achieved for the all-new M5,”
“Now to bring out this very special M5 First Edition to five very lucky customers, with even further enhanced specification and exclusive specifications makes for an even greater continuation of the M5’s story.”

The standard edition of the M5 will also land in that second quarter of the year, local pricing and specification details have just been confirmed and we will be publishing them shortly.
Related: BMW M3 CS special edition confirmed
Stay up to date with all the latest BMW News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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New Infiniti model (likely QX50) teased ahead of LA

Is this a shadowy glimpse of the new Infiniti QX50? We reckon it might be.
Released this morning by Infiniti, the Japanese sport/luxury brand would only say that it was a glimpse of an all-new Infiniti model that will debut at the upcoming LA Auto Show.
Related: 2018 Infiniti QX80 set for Dubai debut
The Infiniti QX50, a mid-size SUV, has been on the boil for some time.
The offering was first teased in a concept car ‘the QX50 concept’ at the Detroit Auto Show back in January (check out our coverage here).
In releasing the above image, Infiniti told us the new model will see a fresh interpretation of the brand’s distinctive Powerful Elegance design language.
“That design language is characterised by flowing sculptural lines and strong, muscular proportions – presenting a purposeful aura, while hinting at its dynamic capabilities.” – Infiniti
While Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President of Global Design at Infiniti, said inspiration comes from striking the perfect balance between lust and logic.
“At a glance, seamless and sculptural, getting closer to the car reveals an ingenious blend of proportion and space.”
Related: Electrical issue sparks Infiniti Q30/QX30 recall
The LA Auto Show starts next week and we will bring you further details as additional info comes to hand.
Stay up to date with the latest Infiniti News at behindthewheel.com.au.  
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2018 Toyota Camry scores five-star safety rating

The new-generation 2018 Toyota Camry has qualified for a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Confirmed this morning by the Australian crash testing authority, the five-star rating applies to all variants of the new model, including four-cylinder, V6 and hybrid.
Related: Toyota unveils Fine-Comfort Ride concept
We are at the Australian launch of the new-generation Camry, more details on the new offering here.
In confirming the top safety score, ANCAP CEO James Goodwin welcomed the result, especially given the Camry’s long standing place at the top of the mid-spec passenger car market.
“Maximum points were scored in the destructive pole and side impact crash tests, and a high score of 15.16 points out of a possible 16 points was achieved in the frontal offset test which replicates a head-on crash.
“The Camry remains a popular choice for families and fleet buyers so it is important high levels of safety are offered.
“It is encouraging to see the Camry fitted as standard with an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system which operates at city and highway speeds, as well as an active lane support system.
“We’re pleased to see Toyota maintain its high level of safety with manufacturing of the Camry having now switched from local production to a Japanese-built model.”

Related: 2018 Toyota Prado range welcomes lower prices
Stay up to date with the latest Toyota News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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2018 Toyota Camry launched in Australia

The all-new fully imported Toyota Camry has been launched into Australia, prices for the new 2018 Toyota Camry will start from $27,690.
Launched today in Coffs Harbour, we are on hand at the event and will provide a first drive review of the new Camry tomorrow.
Related: Toyota says Hydrogen use could slash global emissions
Aside from the interest in the new version of the top-selling mid-size car in our local market, there is the added spice of the new model being the first fully-imported Toyota Camry to hit Aussie roads.
The new Toyota Camry is built in Japan and is a completely new model from the ground up, it also welcomes, for the first time in a number of years, a V6 engine (the Toyota Aurion being discontinued).
The offering welcomes new model grades, new/improved engines and, not surprisingly, the Camry hybrid will continue.
The man behind the new model, Toyota Chief Engineer, Masato Katsumata, says the Camry has long been successful in the local market because of its reputation for being reliable and dependable.
But, he said, today buyers want an “emotional vehicle” too, and he said the new car does just that.
Built on all-new platform, the new Camry welcomes more space inside, both in the front and rear.
The dashboard is not as bulky as in previous models, Toyota also lowering the bonnet height and reducing the size of the A-pillars for better visibility.
While on road, Mr Katsumata said dynamic performance is improved through a lower centre of gravity, a more rigid body and new rear suspension design.
The model is also said to be quieter and welcomes a more comfortable ride.
Standard features include pre-collision warning/emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, alloy wheels, and an electric park brake.
There is an all-new infotainment system in the new Camry, though at this stage there is no Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
2018 Toyota Camry Engine/Model Range:

133kW/231Nm 2.5 litre four-cylinder – (Ascent/SX/Ascent Sport/SL)
224kW/362Nm 3.5 litre V6 – (SX/SL)
160kW 2.5 litre petrol/electric hybrid (previously 118kW/213Nm) – (Ascent Sport/SL)

The V6 engine comes standard with an eight-speed auto transmission, the four-cylinder gets a six-speed auto.
The improved hybrid engine boasts fuel economy improvements of up to 19% with fuel economy as low as just 4.2L/100km.
While Toyota has also moved the hybrid battery pack from the boot to underneath the rear seat – they say this improves ride and handling and boosts boot space.
The new Toyota Camry will also boast a full five-star ANCAP safety rating.
2018 Toyota Camry Pricing:

Camry Ascent (4-cyl) – $27,690
Camry Ascent (hybrid) – $29,990
Camry Ascent Sport (4-cyl) – $29,990
Camry Ascent Sport (hybrid) – $31,990
Camry SX (4-cyl) – $33,290
Camry SL (4-cyl) – $39,990
Camry SL hybrid – $40,990
Camry SX (V6) – $37,290
Camry SL (V6) – $43,990

Related: Toyota/Lexus dominate 2017 Most Reliable Cars study
Stay up to date with the latest Toyota News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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Volvo signs deal with Uber for self-driving car supply

If you’re thinking about making ends meet as an Uber driver that might not be a good long-term career option with the ride-hailing services moving quickly towards becoming a self-driving car business.
Volvo Cars has just announced that it has signed a framework agreement with Uber to sell tens of thousands of autonomous driving-compatible vehicles between 2019 and 2021.
Related: Uber Elevate to take to the sky
The still unnamed self-driving vehicles will be a new offering from Volvo, built on the same platform as existing cars like the XC60.
To get the tech up to speed, Volvo and Uber are now putting a fleet of modified XC90 SUVs (seen above and below) to work.
And Volvo say the new self-driving model won’t be exclusive to Uber and the deal won’t impact their own goal of having fully autonomous cars available to the public from around 2021.
“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology, and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo Cars.
“Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”
“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo,” said Jeff Miller, Head of Auto Alliances, Uber.
“This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass-produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”
We will keep you updated as further details come to hand.
Related: Jaguar Land Rover autonomous tech takes to the roads
Stay up to date with the latest Volvo News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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Work on Polestar factory commences

Another step in the move towards the establishment of the standalone performance car brand, Polestar, has been taken with working starting on a new production facility in China.
The Chinese-owned car brand, a sister brand to Volvo and the fledgling Lynk &CO, was launched last month and will deliver its first model next year – the 447kW Polestar 1 hybrid coupe.
Related: Volvo EVs to fall under Polestar banner
Parent company, Geely, has announced that construction of its new Polestar Production Centre has started in China, the state of the art of facility set to be completed in just nine months.
The centre was designed by architects in Norway and is promising to be the most environmentally-responsible car factory in China, and one of the most efficient in the world.
It will also feature a customer experience centre, as well as a customer test track.
Polestar CEO, Thomas Ingenlath, says it’s a very exciting time for the Polestar brand.
“Following the successful launch of the new Polestar brand in October, construction of the new Polestar Production Centre is the next step in turning our plans into reality.
“We are building a Production Centre that is a reflection of our brand.
“A facility that is modern, progressive, technically advanced and environmentally responsible. The Polestar Production Centre will be an embodiment of the Polestar brand.”
Related: Aerodynamic pack for 2018 Polestar S60/V60
Stay up to date with the latest Polestar News at behindthewheel.com.au.
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