The Mercedes-Benz E-Class on test for Changing Lanes

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review (2024)

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz E-Class review for everything you need to know about buying Mercedes's famous executive saloon in Ireland.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been a bestseller for the German brand for many years and is famous around the world for its luxury, technology and safety.

While in recent years Mercedes-Benz' SUV models like the GLE and GLC have risen in popularity among Irish buyers, the E-Class has definitely not been outclassed by them. This new generation model certainly proves that.

The new E-Class is available with choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid and is selling well for the brand in Ireland so far in 2024.

Let's take a closer look.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class on test for Changing Lanes
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

The new E-Class sees a subtle evolution of style compared to the previous model that keeps the executive DNA well and truly alive. It's a classy and handsome saloon with the availability of two different grille designs that adjust the look somewhat - from grand to grander.

Avantgarde and AMG Line models come with the modern face of the brand - three pointed star in the centre of the grille finished with chrome studs in the shape of the Merc logo. The Executive line features the classic Mercedes-Benz louvred grille with star logo mounted on the bonnet. It's a brilliant way to announce one's arrival.

Power domes feature in the long, sculpted bonnet. There are also new LED headlights. The rear lights have a new illumination in the shape of the Mercedes' star. Alloy wheel sizes vary from 17- to 19-inch depending on model. There's also new flush door handles, which pop out on approach and are elegantly illuminated at night.

Interior

The cabin is stunning and truly feels a step ahead of rivals like the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. It's an expensive car but wow does it feel it inside.

The cabin of the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The cabin of the 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Synthetic 'Artico' leather upholstery comes as standard, and is available in a variety of colours. The front seats have power adjustment, lumbar support and a memory function. Real leather upholstery is also available as an option. The steering wheel is finished in soft Nappa leather. Black open pore ash wood trim in the dashboard comes as standard but other options are available including the ash wood with a glam backlit Mercedes-Benz star pattern. The cabin is illuminated beautifully at night by ambient lighting. It's incredibly well-built.

The biggest upgrade comes in respect to the digital screens and technology on board. There's a crisp full digital driver display with a few different views available. There's also a new high-resolution 14.4-inch central media display with the latest MBUX infotainment and voice control. It looks very impressive and has new features that include games and the ability to make a Zoom call from the car. The lack of physical buttons for the climate control does feel like a backward step and is trickier to adjust than in the previous car.

Mercedes-Benz has also introduced the 'Superscreen' option for the E-Class, where your passenger gets their own screen too.

Practicality

The E-Class offers luxury accommodation for those lucky enough to be a passenger. The back seat will sit two adults in comfort with plenty of legroom and headroom. There is a large centre tunnel, as is typical with rear wheel drive executive saloons.

The Saloon offer 540 litres of boot space, which is competitive with its rivals. There's also an E-Class Estate available. Plug-in hybrids have less boot space at 370 litres.

The new E-Class is offered with petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid engines
The new E-Class is offered with petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid engines

Engines

The popular E 220d on test uses a four cylinder diesel engine with 197hp and 440Nm of torque. It's still a brilliant option for the E-Class offering a range over 1000 kilometres on a full tank of fuel. It's economical to run (4.8-5.2 litres per 100 kilometres) and is a smooth operator with the standard 9-speed automatic gearbox. You really couldn't wish for more.

There's also a four cylinder petrol engine ('E 200') and a six cylinder diesel ('E 450d').

The new generation E-Class petrol and diesel plug-in hybrids can drive electric for a region of 100 kilometres, which is very impressive.

Driving

The E-Class sits on a revised platform of the previous generation car that also underpins the latest C-Class, S-Class and GLC. It's a stunning car to drive, offering incredible comfort and refinement for a truly luxurious driving experience. It's very relaxing to drive across all sorts of roads, and deals with the Irish tarmac exceptionally well.

Its rear wheel drive agility means it can hustle along with a great degree of skill too, with plenty of power and torque from the diesel for swift performance. Like in other Mercs, the Dynamic Select system allows you to alter the behaviour of the car by shifting between different modes like Sport, Comfort, Eco and Individual.

Rear seating in the new E-Class
Rear seating in the new E-Class

Pricing

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class goes on sale from €80,525 for the E 220d and from €82,130 for the E 200. The E 300 e is available from €79,785 and the E 300 de from €81,705.

Verdict

Luxury saloon cars never really go out of fashion - and definitely not Mercedes-Benz' ones. The E-Class is a lesson in luxury and refinement at an incredibly high level. While it won't be a car that appeals to every buyer, it's hard not to be utterly in awe of it. It's more expensive to buy but leaves rivals behind when it comes to pure opulence, and now even comfort and refinement levels. If you're in this market for a luxury car, you can't go wrong with a new E-Class.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a brilliant executive car
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a brilliant executive car

The 2024 Audi A6 on test for Changing Lanes

Audi A6 Review (2024)

Read Caroline's Audi A6 review for everything you need to know about buying Audi's large executive saloon.

The Audi A6 is one of Ireland's favourite large executive saloons and has been for many years. The current generation has been on sale since 2018 and has been updated to keep it looking sharp against rivals like the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

It goes on sale in Ireland priced from about €58,925 and is available with the choice of diesel or plug-in hybrid.

Let's take a closer look!

The 2024 Audi A6 on test for Changing Lanes
The 2024 Audi A6 on test for Changing Lanes

Styling

Classy, handsome... all adjectives you could throw at the A6. While it's true this update is minor, this is a car that will have you glancing over your shoulder as you walk away from it. It has an upmarket presence and looks particularly good in the sporty S Line trim with lowered sports suspension, more aggressive bumpers, wider sills, 19-inch alloy wheels and high-tech matrix LED headlights with washers.

New colours for this year include Ascari Blue and Grenadine Red. The grille has a new honeycomb pattern and new side air intakes, which look a little more modern than the finish on the previous version.

Interior

Inside, it's also business as usual. The A6 cabin still manages to look modern and cutting-edge with its blend of screens, brushed silver and glossy black trim. The seats in S Line models are another highlight, finished in upmarket fabric and leather. It all feels incredibly classy and well-built.

Inside the Audi A6
Inside the Audi A6

The Audi virtual cockpit is easy to interact with, while the touchscreen features wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Underneath that sits a touch panel for the ventilation controls as before, which is positioned quite low down so can be awkward to use. But it does provide haptic and acoustic feedback to guide you through it.

Some luxury features like power adjustment for the seats are missing from the standard spec but the front seats are at least heated with lumbar support. S Line models have a lovely 3-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel with gearshift paddles. There are also stainless steel pedals for a sporty vibe. It's undoubtedly a comfortable and classy cabin.

Practicality

The A6 is available as a saloon or estate model. The saloon offers a decently large boot at 530 litres, which is comparable to diesel versions of rivals like the 5 Series and E-Class. The plug-in hybrid compromises some boot space to accommodate its battery under the boot floor.

The rear seat will be a comfortable place for two adults, though the large transmission tunnel takes away legroom for one in the middle.

The Audi A6 is a brilliant diesel saloon
The Audi A6 40TDI is a brilliant diesel saloon

Engines

The A6 is offered with four or six cylinder diesel engines or as a petrol plug-in hybrid. Diesel options include the well-proven 2.0-litre diesel ('40TDI') with 200hp and 400Nm of torque. It will reach 100km/h in 7.9 seconds. It's frugal as well, with my average fuel consumption sitting at 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres during my time with the car.

Driving

The A6 hugs the road surprisingly closely. Compared to driving a crossover or SUV, it's now quite a different experience driving a saloon - refreshingly so! The A6 was made for long distance motorway cruising and it's a car that will have you looking at the map to plan your next road trip.

The ride quality of the A6 S Line on the 21-inch wheels of the test car is not perfect, feeling a little firmer than expected for an executive car. But smaller sensible wheels should fix that! There's more road noise as well compared to the new 5 Series and E-Class.

Rear seating in the A6
Rear seating in the A6

But the way the diesel delivers its power and the slickness of the 7-speed 'S-tronic' automatic gearbox still makes it a beguiling combination. Dynamically it's not the sharpest of the pack, but still pleasant. Steering is smooth and progressive and the Audi shifts its weight well around corners

Pricing 

The Audi A6 is a pricier car than it once was. The 2.0-litre diesel offers the best value of the range starting from €58,925 for the SE and from €63,220 for the S Line.

Verdict

The Audi A6 is still one of the best diesel saloons on the market, offering power, economy and a smooth, effortless drive. The interior has stayed surprisingly sharp and modern, and still impresses with its clean, high-tech look. While arch-rival the 5 Series is more fun to drive and the E-Class more refined overall, the A6 still hits a nice middle ground with a cool image that keeps it among the most desirable saloons on sale.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The handsome Audi A6
The handsome Audi A6

The new BMW i5

BMW i5 Review | The electric executive car

Read Caroline's BMW i5 review for everything you need to know about buying the new electric 5 Series in Ireland.

The new generation BMW 5 Series has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale as a petrol 520i, a petrol plug-in hybrid (530e or 550e) and as the all-new electric i5.

Following on from the success of the BMW i4, the i5 places a battery in BMW's classic executive saloon. A popular car for years now, it's famous for its luxury and dynamic rear wheel drive handling.

BMW has taken the decision not to sell the new 5 Series as a diesel so it's goodbye to the 520d and hello to the new i5.

Worth it? Let's take a closer look.

The new BMW i5
The new BMW i5

What's so special about the BMW i5?

The BMW i5 has a 81.2kWh battery (usable capacity) and there are two derivatives at launch - single motor or dual motor.

The classic single motor, rear wheel drive i5 eDrive 40 comes with a range projected between 477-582km (WLTP). It goes on sale from €91,105.

There's also a more powerful and expensive all-wheel drive i5 M60 xDrive with M performance upgrades and rear wheel steering.

The new generation 5 has a bigger presence than before, being longer, wider and taller than the model it replaces. BMW has done away with entry variants, so all 5 Series (from €70,845 for a 520i) and i5 models come as standard in the handsome M Sport trim. The M Sport Pro is available for upgrade too.

Alloy wheel sizes vary from 19- to 21-inch but it looks good even on the standard 19s.

The iconic kidney grille sits proudly at the front framed by LED headlights and sporty side air intakes. There's new black contrasting side sills and flush door handles for the very first time on a 5 Series.

Around the back, there is a subtle evolution of styling - but otherwise it's classic 5 Series. Strong, handsome, this time fully electrified.

A subtle evolution of style for BMW's famous executive saloon
A subtle evolution of style for BMW's famous executive saloon

Inside the i5

The brand new interior has had a massive digital upgrade with the addition of the new BMW curved display as seen in other models like the iX and the iX1. There's a full digital driver display that blends seamlessly into the central infotainment display, which can be controlled via touch control, voice control, gesture control and the iDrive controller on the centre console. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also feature, as well as wireless smartphone charging.

Charging stops can also be planned through the navigation system and battery preconditioning in advance to optimise the battery for fast charging.

'Veganza' synthetic leather upholstery comes as standard for a luxury feel. Front seats are heated with power adjustment and lumbar support. The cabin feels incredibly solid and well-built though without the outright opulence of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class for example. It's still a sturdy premium offering however.

For a bit more bling, the BMW Interaction Bar makes its debut in the 5 Series. It's like a thick strip of ambient lighting that can change colour depending on the drive mode selected and flash visual warnings to the driver.

The cabin of the new BMW i5
The cabin of the new BMW i5

The i5 feels spacious inside for an executive saloon though a large transmission tunnel does impede on legroom for a middle seat passenger. But there's plenty of space and comfort for two VIPs on either side!

The boot is also generously sized at 490 litres, just a bit down on the space in the fuel versions (520 litres). The rear seats also split 40:20:40.

A Touring model is also available in both the fuel and electric version.

Driving the new BMW i5

It's a quiet and serene experience driving the new i5. You do feel nicely isolated from wind and road noise as it moves effortlessly over the tarmac. The ride is generally good too for an electric saloon on the standard lowered M sports suspension - just a bit bumpy over imperfections in the road surface. Things smooth out well on the motorway. There's also the option to upgrade to adaptive dampers.

The i5 eDrive 40 has 340hp and 430Nm of torque. It's a heavy car but can still do the sprint to 100km/h in just 6 seconds to the tune of an electric engine soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer, as seen in some other new electric BMWs. It does add a little bit of drama and excitement. There's also a Boost paddle behind the steering wheel for 10 seconds of maximum power and torque.

Handling is very secure and assured. The i5 has classic BMW meaty steering and is easy to place on the road. It has some dynamic skill and does offer a fair bit of driver engagement. Yet you can feel it shifting its considerable weight in fast cornering. A BMW i4 is more fun in this way.

Boot space in the new i5
Boot space in the new i5

During my test in a very cold January, the average consumption was about 19-23kWh per 100 kilometres, which translates to a real world driving range of 370-430 kilometres. A heat pump comes as standard and there is also a few levels of regenerative braking.

When it does come to charging, the i5 comes with an 11kW on board AC. DC fast charging is possible up to 205kW for a 10 to 80% charge in 30 minutes.

Did you like it?

BMW has pulled off quite a feat with the new electric i5. It's a very convincing member of the new 5 Series range, offering excellent comfort and refinement befitting of an executive car yet retaining a desirable profile packed full of the brand's latest digital tech. It's modern, sporty and very expensive - but for 5 Series buyers ready to go electric, this car offers a smooth transition.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The new BMW i5 is a fun to drive electric saloon with great presence
The new BMW i5 is a fun to drive electric saloon with great presence

The Peugeot 508 on test for Changing Lanes

Peugeot 508 Review (2024)

Read Caroline's Peugeot 508 diesel review to find out if the 1.5-litre diesel is the pick of the 508 range in Ireland?

The Peugeot 508 has evolved beautifully over the years and the current generation is Peugeot's best yet. Last year Peugeot treated the 508 to a facelift with a number of updates to keep it fresh.

Since this 508 first went on sale in Ireland back in 2019, the Peugeot range has changed quite a bit. In 2022, a new 308 and 308 SW were launched, and 2023 saw the arrival of the new Peugeot 408.

The 508 still flys the flag for a stylish large executive car and with the choice of petrol, plug-in hybrid or diesel, there is great choice for this long distance cruiser. This slice of the market is shrinking with the rise in SUVs but is the 508 diesel a surprisingly smart choice of car in 2024?

Let's take a closer look.

The Peugeot 508 on test for Changing Lanes
The Peugeot 508 on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the Peugeot 508?

Well, Peugeot did a great job with the styling of this car. Billed as a 'fastback', the elegant proportions are saloon-like but the 508 is actually a hatchback if you want to get technical.

There's also a 508 SW available, which is probably one of the best-looking estate cars on sale.

The front end has been revised with a new grille design framed by slim LED headlights. The fang-like daytime running lights of the original car have now been replaced with Peugeot's new '3-claw' daytime running lights.

The facelift also gives this model the new Peugeot lion shield logo.

At the back there is a different illumination to the rear lights, which are connected by a new black strip with the brand name spelt out across it.

There's also some new colour availability including Eclipse Blue, which is available at no extra cost.

The cabin of the Peugeot 508
The cabin of the Peugeot 508

Alloy wheel sizes vary with the entry level Allure model getting 17-inch. There's 18-inch for the sportier GT and 20-inch for the top of the range Peugeot Sport Engineered (PSE).

There's also a great line-up of engines available.

Driving the Peugeot 508

You can choose from a 1.2-litre petrol (130hp), 1.5-litre diesel (130hp) or a 1.6-litre petrol plug in hybrid with now 180hp, or 225hp as before.

All come with an 8-speed automatic.

I was driving the Peugeot 508 1.5 Blue HDi diesel and it's a very good match for this car. For a 1.5-litre diesel it offers good refinement, never getting too noisy.

It has 130hp but it feels more powerful than that on the road, with plenty of torque. There are a few different driving modes like Normal, Eco and Sport, the latter increasing the responsiveness of the vehicle.

The 508 is available with a petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid engine
The 508 is available with a petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid engine

Where the diesel really excels is in the return it offers on a tank of fuel. Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 5.1 litres per 100 kilometres.

In Malaga last year, I had the opportunity to drive the new Peugeot 508 plug-in hybrid, which you can read more about here. 

This car is made for long motorway runs, offering good comfort levels and not too much noise in the cabin. It's also quite fun to drive, with the compact steering wheel adding a feeling of dexterity that can be hard to find in cars like this.

Inside the 508

Peugeot hasn't really tweaked the design much in the cabin of the 508. It still has a lovely wraparound design that is instantly stylish and driver-focused.

The graphics for the digital instrument cluster have been updated as has the software for the slick 10-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash. It's still a little convoluted to adjust things like the ventilation, though the piano-style shortcut buttons underneath at least help bring up menus quickly. There's also wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice control and over the air updates for the very first time.

Other design details include a new minimalist rocker switch on the centre console for gear selection.

Rear legroom in the Peugeot 508 fastback
Rear passenger space in the Peugeot 508 fastback

Seat upholsteries have also been updated. Allure models come with a fabric and synthetic leather combination, but going up the trim levels adds more luxurious Alcantara. The seats are comfortable and supportive with powered lumbar support for the driver though features like seat heating and power adjustment are not standard, which is a bit of a shame for an executive car!

The 508 is reasonably spacious for its size in the back though some rivals like the Volkswagen Arteon and Skoda Superb are bigger. The hatchback-style opening boot gives good access to the 487 litres of space. Not the biggest boot in the class but it's pretty generous.

The 508 SW offer 530 litres of space.

Pricing

The range starts from €45,495 for a 1.2-litre petrol in Allure trim, from €46,495 for the 1.5 diesel as tested, and from €49,995 for a 508 plug-in hybrid.

The range-topping Peugeot 508 PSE packs 360hp
The range-topping Peugeot 508 PSE packs 360hp from a plug-in hybrid powertrain

Did you like it?

It was great to spend some time with the 508 diesel. I don't drive many cars like this anymore with electric, hybrid and SUVs being the current trends in the motor industry.

Yet the 508 has a brilliant sophisticated presence and is really nice to drive too, offering a little driver involvement along with those gorgeous looks and sporty cabin.

The diesel also proves its merit in the 508, ticking all the right boxes for power, refinement …and economy that really cannot be argued with.

The facelift adds a little more contemporary style without upsetting the 508's winning recipe.

The 508 will not be a big seller but if you're looking for a stylish executive car that's economical and a bit different to what else is on sale, then it's definitely worth a look.

Model tested: Peugeot 508 1.5 HDi Allure
Price: 
€46,495
Engine:
1.5-litre diesel
Power: 130 hp
Torque: 300 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 11.1 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€210 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

 


The facelifted Peugeot 508 is expected in Ireland before the end of the year

Peugeot 508 Review (2023)

Read Caroline’s 2023 Peugeot 508 review for everything you need to know about Peugeot's updated large executive saloon.

The latest generation of the Peugeot 508 arrived in Ireland in 2019 and went on to win Irish Large Car of the Year.

Lauded for its upmarket design and stylish cabin, the 508 has been a steady presence in the Irish market for some years now.

Now Peugeot has confirmed that a facelifted 508 will reach Ireland before the end of the year with new styling and technology to keep the executive feel alive.

A new 180hp plug-in hybrid also joins the range, which should make it slightly more affordable to drive a 508 hybrid than before.

Caroline travelled to Malaga, Spain, with Peugeot Ireland to drive the latest Peugeot 508 ahead of its arrival in Ireland for January 2024 registrations.

The facelifted Peugeot 508 is expected in Ireland before the end of the year
The facelifted Peugeot 508 is expected in Ireland before the end of the year

Styling

Like before, the Peugeot 508 is available as a fastback or as an estate, known as the 508 SW. The 508 has always been a bit of a looker compared to the stately Skoda Superb, though the coupé-like Volkswagen Arteon comes close in the style stakes. Now Peugeot gives the 508 even a bit more allure. Cosmetic changes include a new grille design that stretches across the front of the car and Peugeot's new lion shield logo at the centre. There are also slim new matrix LED headlamps and bumpers. The latest 508 is also the first Peugeot to get the brand's new '3-claw' daytime running lights at the front. Around the back, a black strip connects the updated 3-claw rear light design with scrolling indicators, and P E U G E O T is boldly spelt out across it to complete the upscale look. The frameless windows all round are a timeless classy feature. There are also new alloy wheel designs and new colours like Okenite White, Eclipse Blue and Titane Grey. Selenium Grey is no longer reserved just for the 508 PSE high-performance model; it's available now across the range.

Interior

The 508 has a unique cabin for the segment with a compact steering wheel and wraparound 'i-Cockpit' that puts the driver at the centre of the action. Updates to the cabin are minor: new software for the infotainment system and a new minimalist 'e-toggle' gear selector in the centre console. The 508's cabin certainly feels sportier and more driver-focused than rivals. There's an updated full digital driver display like the 308/408 and a large 10-inch touchscreen as standard with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, natural voice recognition and over-the-air updates for the very first time. It's also customisable with the option to set eight individual driver and passenger profiles for different interior ambience settings. Ventilation controls are accessed from the screen, which can be a bit fiddly to use - but the classy piano-style keys below can at least be used to pull up relevant menus quickly.

The cabin of the 2023 Peugeot 508
The cabin of the 2023 Peugeot 508

It feels well-made inside and the seats now get more premium upholstery - artificial leather/textile for Allure models and an artificial leather/Alcantara® combination for the GT trim. Nappa Leather is available as an option, with a new embossed lion in the front headrests. The front seats are AGR-approved so they are some of the most comfortable and supportive on the market, ideal for an executive car like this. Other features include power adjustment, memory settings and a massage function.

Practicality

A Skoda Superb is bigger but is it as stylish as the 508? The Peugeot 508 Fastback manages about 487 litres of boot space and the boot opens like a hatchback making it relatively easy to load and unload. The SW estate is even better for load-lugging with 530 litres of space in the boot.

Engines

Like before, the 508 and 508 SW are available with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines. An 8-speed automatic gearbox comes as standard across the range. For 2023, the 1.6-litre 225hp plug-in hybrid will be joined by a 180hp version. Other options include the familiar 1.2-litre turbo petrol with 130hp and 1.5-litre diesel, also with 130hp. The top of the range Peugeot 508 PSE uses a 360hp plug-in hybrid drivetrain with all wheel drive.

The 508 is available with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines
The 508 is available with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines

Driving

At the launch in Spain, I tested the new 508 plug-in hybrid with 180hp. Having more power and torque than the 1.2-litre petrol makes the hybrid a better match for a large car like this. There's plenty of power when you put your foot down. Though catch it off guard and there is a bit of a roar from the engine to accompany your quicker acceleration. But it soon settles down.

The compact steering wheel, well-weighted steering and good body control contribute to a large car that feels quite agile and fun when the roads get a bit twistier. Peugeot adapted the 508's suspension settings to each engine in development to ensure the best level of comfort and also smooth out road imperfections. So the hybrid is still a comfortable car and will cruise motorways with ease.

There are a number of different settings like Electric, Eco, Hybrid, Normal, and Sport. There's also a B mode to activate regenerative braking in the hybrids. In the electric mode, the 508 will travel up to about 40km on battery power only, switching its character to smooth and silent. That's not an exceptional electric range for a plug-in hybrid, but it does come into its own for town and city driving. The hybrid's 12.4kWh battery can be charged in about 3.5 hours from a 7.4kW wallbox with the standard fit 3.7kW onboard AC charger.

Rear legroom in the Peugeot 508 fastback
Rear legroom in the Peugeot 508 fastback

Pricing

The new 508 and 508 SW will be available in Allure, GT and PSE trim levels, with pricing to be announced closer to launch before the end of 2023. The 508 range currently retails from about €47,000.

Verdict

Sales of D-segment saloons like the 508 have been dwindling for some years now as the market has switched towards more SUV and crossover-style vehicles. Yet there is something to be said for the style and agile driving dynamics of the 508. It's still completely on-point when it comes to design. It's aged very well, with this new version just slightly enhancing the 508's 'feline' character (it's the lion brand after all!).

Peugeot's entire range is undergoing an overhaul at the moment so it was important to give the 508 the latest brand face and lion shield logo. Inside, the i-Cockpit has aged very well and cocoons you for a more driver-focused feel than rivals. The infotainment software has been updated but it's still not the simplest to use on the market.

The 508 does sacrifice some practicality for style. If you're looking for a huge car for your money, this is probably not it. But show us a more stylish large car...

While Peugeot is busy fully electrifying their brand with all-electric versions of the 308, 408 and next-generation 3008 and 5008, for now at least the 508 plug-in hybrids seem a good deal with power and performance worthy of an executive car.

There are some exciting chapters ahead for Peugeot but the 508 one is still worth a look.

The range-topping Peugeot 508 PSE packs 360hp
The range-topping Peugeot 508 PSE packs 360hp and racy good looks

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The Hyundai Ioniq 6 on test for Changing Lanes!

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Review

Read Caroline's Hyundai Ioniq 6 review for everything you need to know about buying Hyundai's new electric saloon in Ireland.

The new Hyundai Ioniq 6 has recently arrived in Ireland and is the follow-up to the Ioniq 5, which is already one of Ireland's bestselling electric cars.

Built upon the Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) just like Ioniq 5 before it, the new Ioniq 6 is styled as a sleek and sporty four-door coupé.

Priced from €48,295, the Ioniq 6 is available with the choice of two batteries, the largest of which can take this car over an incredible 600 kilometres on a single charge.

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 on test for Changing Lanes!
The Hyundai Ioniq 6 on test for Changing Lanes!

What's special about the Hyundai Ioniq 6?

Design, design, design! Like it or loathe it, the Ioniq 6 is a stunning and intriguing piece of car design. Hyundai call it a 'streamliner' and it was inspired by Hyundai’s Prophecy Concept EV from 2020.

Ioniq 6 certainly bucks the trend for crossovers and SUVs with its low and sleek, coupé-like design, which also happens to pay dividends for aerodynamic efficiency. The Ioniq 6 is the most aerodynamic Hyundai with a drag coefficient of 0.21 and is incredibly energy efficient, one of the best in the world at the moment when it comes to production cars. Active air flap, wheel air curtains, integrated rear spoiler, and wheel gap reducers all contribute.

The Ioniq 6 53kWh (from €48,295) has a range of up to 429 kilometres (WLTP), while the Ioniq 6 77.4kWh increases that to as much as 614 kilometres (WLTP) in single motor, rear wheel drive versions, with consumption as low as 14.3 kWh per 100 kilometres.

It also comes with 800-volt battery technology, double the industry standard of 400-volt. DC fast charging is possible up to 232kW and the battery can be 80 per cent charged in just 18 minutes.

The cabin of the Ioniq 6
The cabin of the Ioniq 6

Is it practical?

The wheelbase is almost three metres in length giving the Ioniq 6 an incredibly spacious, lounge-like interior. Built on a bespoke electric vehicle platform, the floor of the car is completely flat so there is loads of legroom in the rear - it's quite limo-like really. Headroom is not too compromised either for that gorgeous roofline.

The Ioniq 6 has a saloon-style boot opening that is electrically powered as standard. The aperture is not quite as practical as the hatchback-style Ioniq 5 for example but the volume is good - 401 litres with up to 45 litres under the bonnet too.

Inside the Ioniq 6

There's a little more glam to the interior of the Ioniq 6, which suits the executive feel of this car. The dashboard has a simple, horizontal design with beautiful ambient lighting adding upmarket style to this car, especially at night. The pronounced centre console between driver and passenger adds a sporty, coupé-feel to the cabin and differentiates the car considerably from the more open cabin of the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

The doors are slim and minimalist with buttons for the electric windows moved to the centre console. Sustainable materials feature throughout the cabin including floor carpet made from recycled fishing nets.

The new Ioniq 6 is available with two batteries and a range of up to 614 km
The new Ioniq 6 is available with two batteries and a range of up to 614 km

It feels modern and high-tech inside with a full digital driver display and a large touchscreen as standard with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as over the air updates and a wireless smartphone charger.

In Ireland the 53kWh is available in a well-specced Signature trim only, while the 77.4kWh (from €54,315) gives you the option to upgrade to Elegance (from €62,495) for more equipment or the top of the range Finesse with all wheel drive (from €71,250).

Ioniq 6 also features Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) technology to use or charge other electrical equipment. Other high-end features include heated front and rear seats, Bose stereo, synthetic leather upholstery and lots of standard safety equipment.

Driving the 77kWh Ioniq 6

The single motor, rear wheel drive Ioniq 6 53kWh has 151hp, while the 77.4kWh with the same layout has 229hp.

Optional all wheel drive adds a second motor, offering more power (325hp) and torque (605Nm) for the best performance of the range - 0 to 100km/h in just 5.1 seconds!

But none of the Ioniq 6 cars are slow. The Ioniq 6 feels swift and agile on the road. The low centre of gravity makes it very enjoyable to drive. It can hold its own in the corners, with fluid, natural steering.

Boot space in the Ioniq 6
Boot space in the Ioniq 6

Refinement is very good thanks to the aerodynamic shape so it's quiet even at high speeds on the motorway, slipping through the air effortlessly.

It's mostly very comfortable too with just a bit of firmness over bumps in the road surface. The Ioniq 6 has a five-link rear suspension system and features an integrated drive axle (IDA), which combines wheel bearings with the driveshaft to transmit power to the wheels, reducing axle weight, improving comfort and enhancing handling stability.

There are a few levels of regenerative braking too, which is easy to adjust from paddles on the steering wheel.

Did you like it?

It's a big 'Yes'! The Ioniq 6 is a spectaular car with show-stopping looks that are as functional as they are stylish, and some incredible technology underneath for ultra fast charging and lots of electric driving between charges.

It is an ambitious car for Hyundai, competing in a market for more high-end electric cars like the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2. But the Hyundai has a true executive feel, excellent battery technology and rapid charging that means it can absolutely compete.

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is one of the best electric cars on sale
The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is one of the best electric cars on sale

Model tested: Hyundai Ioniq 6 Elegance 77kWh
Price: 
€62,495
Battery:
  77.4kWh
Range: 614 km (WLTP)
Power: 229hp
Torque: 350Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.4 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The Mercedes-Benz EQS on test for Changing Lanes!

Mercedes-Benz EQS Review

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz EQS review for everything you need to know buying Mercedes' new luxury electric car in Ireland.

When the Mercedes-Benz EQS was launched, it was the brand's first large electric saloon and a flagship for the Mercedes EQ brand of electric vehicles. It's also the first model from Mercedes to be based on the brand's new modular architecture for luxury and executive electric vehicles.

The new EQS goes on sale in Ireland priced from €135,245, which is in the region of the S-Class.

It's also Irish Luxury Car of the Year 2023.

The Mercedes-Benz EQS on test for Changing Lanes!
The Mercedes-Benz EQS on test for Changing Lanes!

Styling

The Mercedes-Benz EQS is a stunning car, measuring over five metres in length and making just the right impression with a sleek, coupé-like exterior design. It is one of the most aerodynamic cars on sale today with a low, smooth nose and flush door handles contributing to a Cd value of just 0.20. It's also one of the prettiest and classiest luxury electric cars you can buy. The full-width light bar at the front and rear is a futuristic nod to other models in the EQ range. Frameless, coupé-like doors add to the prestige. The AMG Line exterior comes as standard, but the elegant Electric Art exterior is available as an option at no extra cost. Both versions come with 20-inch alloy wheels, with up to 22-inch available as an option.

Interior

The cabin of the EQS is a very comfortable and luxurious place to spend time in. Buyers can choose from an AMG Line or Electric Art interior. The Electric Art interior comes as standard with leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, 12.3-inch digital driver display and large 12.8-inch central touchscreen supporting MBUX infotainment with more intelligent voice control than ever before. The brand's new Hyperscreen is available as an option for €12,213, with a curved and flexed surface that appears to float across the full width of the vehicle. It gives your front passenger access to their very own screen and a stunning 17.7-inch central display. There’s also a 15-speaker surround sound system. The seats can offer up to ten different massage programmes, while seat heating and inflatable air chambers replicate the body-soothing effects of a ‘hot stone’ treatment.

The stunning cabin of the Mercedes-Benz EQS
The stunning cabin of the Mercedes-Benz EQS

Practicality

The EQS measures over 5 metres in length and has a roomy, comfortable cabin with lots of passenger space. There is limo-like legroom in the rear with plenty of comfort features for your passengers. There is also a huge boot of 610 litres and a powered tailgate comes as standard.

Battery

The EQS introduces a new generation of batteries made by Mercedes-Benz with significantly higher energy density. The new battery management software was developed in-house and allows updates over the air (OTA) so it stays up to date throughout the lifetime of the car. The EQS uses a 120kWh battery and the 450+ is the best for range with an incredible 745 kilometres (WLTP) possible on a single charge. Goodbye range anxiety.

Charging

DC rapid charging is possible up to 200kW, while AC charging can take place up to 11kW. From a 7.4kW wallbox, it will take about 15 hours to charge the battery to full.

The EQS 450+ has a range of over 700 km
The EQS 450+ has a range of over 700 km

Driving

The EQS 450+ offers 333hp, while the 450 4Matic offers 360hp. For even more power, the EQS 500 4Matic offers 449hp, while the Mercedes AMG EQS 53 4Matic offers 658hp.

The EQS comes with air suspension as standard, which contributes to a pillowy ride befitting of a luxury car. Refinement is excellent with Mercedes-Benz investing significantly in insulation and sealing the gaps to offer a high-end cabin experience with very little noise. The EQS moves over the tarmac effortlessly with the EQS 450+ offering plenty of responsiveness and power on demand. There's 568Nm of torque available so the EQS can sprint to 100km/h in just 6.2 seconds. Rear wheel steering also comes as standard, which boosts the agility and manoeuvrability of the vehicle.

Pricing

The new Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ goes on sale from about €135,245, or from €139,510 for the EQS 450 4Matic. The EQS 500 4Matic with more power goes on sale priced from €150,645. The top of the range Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic is available from €186,710.

Luxury in the back of the Mercedes-Benz EQS
Luxury in the back of the Mercedes-Benz EQS

Verdict

The Mercedes-Benz EQS is a true masterpiece of a car. The EQS oozes class and demands respect wherever it goes. Just from those sleek, showstopping looks, which are as much about aerodynamics as they are about beauty.

There's effortless power available and the range is truly exceptional in a production car.

As a luxury electric car, it really doesn't get better than the Mercedes-Benz EQS.

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The Mercedes-Benz EQS is Irish Luxury Car of the Year 2023
The Mercedes-Benz EQS is Irish Luxury Car of the Year 2023

The new Citroen C5 X

Citroen C5 X Review

Read Caroline's Citroen C5 X review for everything you need to know about buying Citroen's new large crossover in Ireland.

Citroen is back in the large family car segment with the new Citroen C5 X. It's a new flagship for the Citroen brand. It blends the practicality of an estate car with the rugged style of a crossover.

C5 X goes on sale in Ireland priced from €42,370 and is available with the choice of petrol or plug-in hybrid engines. Already an award winner, the C5 X won Irish Large Crossover/SUV of the Year 2023 at the Irish Car of the Year awards.

This new model certainly looks to offer an appealing alternative to an SUV, but is it worth it?

In this review I'm going to take a closer look to find out.

The new Citroen C5 X
The new Citroen C5 X is now on sale in Ireland

What's so special about the Citroen C5 X?

The new Citroen C5 X is a brand new model for the French brand. It's now their largest car at 4.8 metres in length, longer than the Citroen C5 Aircross. That makes the C5 X resemble more an estate car than an SUV. But Citroen has raised it a little more off the ground and added some cladding around the wheel arches and sills to give a more crossover-inspired look. The result is very good indeed.

The C5 X certainly has presence and is a worthy flagship for Citroen. At the front, there's no mistaking the striking V-shaped LED lighting signature that emphasises the car's width. There is also lots of interesting chevron detail around the car. The rear styling is quite flamboyant with a roof spoiler and boot lid spoiler.

There are a lovely set of 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels as standard, as well as LED headlights with high beam assist. The colour palette is quite muted with just six paint colours available and the option of a contrasting black roof.

There are three trim levels including Feel Pack, Flair and Flair Pack. The mid range Flair model offers a good compromise between price and equipment (from €44,330).

But it's the finish of the interior and the space inside that makes the C5 X so special and a good alternative to the many family SUVs on the market right now including top sellers like the Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai Tucson.

The C5 X is a new flagship for Citroen
The C5 X is a new flagship for Citroen

Inside the C5 X

Some of Citroen's more compact models in recent years, like the new Citroen C4, have been well-priced but the cabin quality has felt a little more basic. But the C5 X impresses right away with a very plush and sophisticated cabin with much better quality materials. Citroen has clearly upped the quality for their new flagship model and the C5 X is all the better for it. There's lots of soft dashboard and door panelling for a more luxurious feel. Citroen's 'Advanced Comfort' seats with leather-effect upholstery come as standard.

The C5 X is also well-equipped with lots of modern technology onboard like a reversing camera, forward collision warning and lane keep assist. Lumbar support for the driver also comes as standard making the C5 X ideal for long journeys. There’s a full digital instrument panel for the driver and a 10-inch touchscreen as standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Flair models get a more impressive 12-inch version. There are also physical dials and switches for the climate control and ventilation.

Inside, the C5 X feels big and roomy. The car has a long wheelbase so there’s lots of legroom in the rear. The back seat is wide enough to sit three comfortably. When it comes to boot space, the petrol models offer the most boot space at 545 litres, which is similar to a Peugeot 508 SW for example, and only about 50 litres less than a Skoda Superb Combi. Boot volume goes down to about 485 litres in the plug-in hybrid.

Handy features include a low, flat loading sill and switches in the boot to let down the rear seats, which split fold 60:40. Flair Pack models add a powered tailgate.

The interior of the new Citroen C5 X
The interior of the new Citroen C5 X

Driving the Citroen C5 X

The new Citroen C5 X goes on sale in Ireland with the choice of petrol engine or as a plug-in hybrid. The most affordable entry into the range is the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with 130hp, but for more power there is the option of a 1.6-litre turbo petrol with 180hp.

The most powerful of the range is the plug-in hybrid with 225hp and it can be driven electric for a range of up to about 55 kilometres. However it is the most expensive of the C5 X range, retailing from about €50,120. To get the best return on your investment, it needs to be charged and driven electric as much as possible. But no matter which version you go for, there is an 8-speed automatic as standard.

On test was the Citroen C5 X 1.2 petrol and it offers adequate performance. It doesn't feel too under pressure in a car of this size, though it will need to be revved more to make quick progress, which can make it less efficient. During my time with the car, my average fuel consumption was 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

There are a few different driving modes including Eco, Sport and Normal, with the Sport model making the car feel a little more responsive, in overtaking manoeuvres for example. The 8-speed automatic can feel a little jerky at low speeds around town but this is less of an issue out on bigger roads.

Boot space in the Citroen C5 X
Boot space in the Citroen C5 X

But you'll probably want to drive your C5 X at a more relaxed pace anyway. The Citroen C5 X really delivers as one of the most comfortable family cars you can buy. It offers a big car feel from behind the wheel with all versions coming with acoustic glazing in the windscreen, which makes it more serene in the cabin at high speeds on the motorway.

Citroen's ‘Advanced Comfort’ suspension with progressive hydraulic cushions also comes as standard, which does a great job of offering a smooth drive regardless of road quality.

Did you like it?

The new Citroen C5 X is a new model for the French brand and already an award winner. It's easy to see why as this car ticks many boxes, while offering good value in today's market for a large family car.

If you're bored of the SUV look, the C5 X might be the car for you as it has classy styling that is reminiscent of big luxury French cars of old.

Its stylish shape is not just for show however, and the C5 X offers impressive levels of interior space and boot space, making it an ideal family car.

Citroen has stepped up the quality and the C5 X is now one of the plushest Citroens you can buy. The stylish design, quality of the cabin and relaxed driving character mean the new C5 X feels like a return to form for the Citroen brand.

The C5 X is one of the most comfortable and spacious family cars you can buy
The C5 X is one of the most comfortable and spacious family cars you can buy

Model tested: Citroen C5 X 1.2 Flair
Price: 
€44,330
Engine:
1.2-litre turbo petrol
Power: 130hp
Torque: 230 Nm
Top speed: 209 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 10.4 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€210 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year


The new Mercedes-Benz EQE on test for Changing Lanes

Mercedes-Benz EQE Review

Read Caroline's Mercedes-Benz EQE review for everything you need to know about Mercedes' new electric saloon in Ireland.

Mercedes-Benz is accelerating their brand towards an electric future with the launch of a suite of new electric cars and SUVs from their Mercedes EQ range of vehicles.

First to market were a new range of battery-powered SUVs - the EQC, EQA and EQB, all previously reviewed on this website.

But Mercedes-Benz has long been the purveyor of luxurious saloons and thankfully 2022 saw the arrival of two electric saloons - the flagship EQS and the EQE.

The EQE is more compact than the EQS with a shorter wheelbase. In terms of external dimensions, it's similar to the CLS in the Mercedes-Benz range.

The new Mercedes-Benz EQE on test for Changing Lanes
The new Mercedes-Benz EQE on test for Changing Lanes

What's so special about the new Mercedes-Benz EQE?

While it could be tagged as an electric E-Class that would not do this car justice. The new EQE is a stand-out model for the brand in its own right, sporting a sleek, aerodynamic design that points to a new breed of Mercedes-Benz.

The wealth of technology underneath can see the EQE cover over 600 kilometres on a single battery charge.

The EQE goes on sale in Ireland priced from €82,010. All version come with a 89kWh battery but vary in power and driven wheels. The entry into the range is the EQE 300 with 245hp, while the EQE 350 on test offers 292hp and 4Matic four wheel drive.

Styling is sleek for aerodynamic efficiency including flush door handles for a smooth silhouette. The EQE sports a futuristic front end in line with other Mercedes EQ models. It's smart and subtle -  a good evolution for the brand towards an electric future.

Various trim lines are available like Electric Art and AMG Line, which alter the look of the car slightly. 19-inch alloy wheels come as standard.

But it's inside where the EQE really shines, with an avant-garde interior that is beautifully appointed.

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz EQE
The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz EQE

Inside the new Mercedes EQE

Mercedes-Benz interiors are maturing, with a strong digital component to every new model launched. The new EQE takes inspiration from the larger EQS, though the brand's impressive new MBUX Hyperscreen is not yet available here in the EQE.

The EQE might be electric, but Mercedes has not scrimped on quality and the EQE feels suitably posh inside with lots of beautiful, tactile materials used to create just the right ambience for a high-tech electric saloon. Heated front and rear seats come as standard, as does a wireless phone charger.

There's also a full digital display for the driver and a gorgeous MBUX portrait-style touchscreen that we've seen in some other models like the newly-launched Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The interior dimensions are a bit bigger than the current E-Class with a bit more shoulder room and a slightly higher driver position. In the back there is enough legroom for adult passengers, though headroom feels tighter than an E-Class. The boot capacity is 430 litres, which is a bit less than an E-Class - but the saloon-style opening means neither car offers the most practical boot shape.

The EQE is available from about €82,000 in Ireland
The EQE is available from about €82,000 in Ireland

Driving the new EQE

On the road the new EQE shines for both refinement and electric driving range. The EQE 350 offers a smooth delivery of power and rides exceptionally well, making it the perfect long distance cruiser.

It's responsive and agile, though a BMW i4 is a more engaging drive when the roads get a little tighter and more interesting.

Mercedes' battery technology and the EQE's efficiency also make it a great choice of premium electric car. All versions of the car can post a driving range in excess of 500 kilometres on a full battery charge. The EQE proved to be one of the most efficient EVs I've driven in a while, with consumption averaging at 17 kwh per 100 kilometres.

AC charging is available up to 11kW, while DC fast charging is available up to 170kW.

Rear seating in the EQE
Rear seating in the EQE

Did you like it?

These days we tend to see more electric SUVs hitting the roads than electric saloons, but the EQE's aerodynamic design certainly proves to be very efficient and desirable.

Over the coming months an SUV bearing the EQE badge is expected for those that prefer a more rugged design and high driving position.

Mercedes-Benz is famous for executive saloons so there's a lot riding on this EQE. Its beautiful sleek design is enough to garner it a few fans and Mercedes is successfully moving their brand into this new era of electric mobility.

For an EQE that may live on the motorway, the combination of fast charging capability and an excellent driving range makes it a reliable companion.

Inside, the EQE provides a cabin design that will not isolate the brand's current customer base, such is the quality of the finish and the ease of use of the technology on board.

The Mercedes-Benz EQE is an exclusive car but ticks so many boxes for buyers looking for a high-end luxury electric car.

The EQE offers comfort, refinement and excellent battery performance
The EQE offers comfort, refinement and excellent battery performance

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 AMG Line 
Price: 
€85,980
Battery:
89 kWh
Range: 641 km (WLTP)
Power: 292hp
Torque: 565Nm
Top speed: 210 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 6.4 seconds
Motor Tax: 
€120 per year

____________________________

Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

 


The new BMW 3 Series will arrive in Ireland before the end of the year

BMW 3 Series Review (2023)

The BMW 3 Series is an icon of the BMW range with over 16 million sold to date in its 45-year history. The G20 3 Series arrived in Ireland in 2019 and now has been updated to keep it competitive in the compact executive class against rivals such as the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Audi A4. Subtle updates to styling and the addition of some new colours enhance the handsome 3 Series, but the most welcome changes take place in the cabin.

Caroline travelled to Munich with BMW Ireland to drive the latest 3 Series.

The new BMW 3 Series will arrive in Ireland before the end of the year
The new BMW 3 Series will arrive in Ireland before the end of the year

Styling

BMW has made a few small changes to the styling of the 3 Series - a subtle refining of the car's classic good looks. Sold in Ireland as a Saloon or a Touring (estate), at the front the kidney grille has been redesigned with a slightly different contour and the addition of new vertical double bars. The grille hasn't grown in size like some other BMW models. Available in Sport or M Sport trim levels, there are some different trim elements depending on which version you go for. The standard full-LED headlights now have smoother edges and feature new inverted L shaped daytime running lights. Boomerang-shaped air intakes at each side of the front bumper add more sporty definition, while the large central intake in M Sport models has a new honeycomb pattern. At the back there is a more pronounced rear apron emphasising the 3 Series’ sporty stance.

Sport models get 17-inch alloy wheels, while M Sport get 18-inch. Top of the range BMW Performance models come with 19-inch alloy wheels and 20-inch are now available through BMW M Performance Parts. The M Sport Pro Pack for M Sport models adds a black kidney grille surround, black chrome tailpipes, red brake callipers with M logo, and a black M rear spoiler for the saloon models. New colours include Skyscraper Grey, and M Brooklyn Grey - exclusive to the M Sport - as well as several ‘frozen’ metallic matte finishes.

The interior of the updated 3 Series - just fabulous!
The interior of the updated 3 Series - just fabulous!

Interior

Inside, the 3 Series cabin has been modernised with the addition of the new BMW Curved Display for the very first time. We've seen this in some other new generation BMWs like the iX and i4, and it's welcome addition to the cabin of the 3 Series. It looks sleek and high-tech, and gives a stunning widescreen effect. Using the latest BMW operating system 8, it now also responds better to voice commands. The climate controls are accessed through the screen - the manual knobs and switches are gone. But a shortcut on the screen means they are easy to access quickly. Other new features include a rocker switch for the gear selection and sporty paddles on the steering wheel are now standard across the range.

Elsewhere, the quality of the interior is excellent. It feels like a luxury car inside with lots of soft-touch materials and a variety of finishes including Sensatec synthetic leather seats in a number of colours.

Practicality

Rear seat passengers can enjoy the new standard fit tri-zone climate control, though that large transmission tunnel makes the rear bench more comfortable for two rather than three. In terms of boot volume, there's actually not much between the Saloon and the Touring, though the Touring naturally has easier access for loading and unloading. Opt for the 330e hybrid, and bootspace is reduced from 480 litres in the standard saloon to 375 litres. Petrol and diesel versions of the 3 Series Touring offer 500 litres of space or 410 litres in the 330e.

Some mild styling tweaks for the latest 3 Series
Some mild styling tweaks for the latest 3 Series

Engines

The 3 Series is available with petrol and diesel engines, some with mild hybrid technology, and as a plug-in hybrid. The 318d entry level diesel is no longer on sale, so the long-standing 320d with 190hp from a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder will be your best diesel option. All versions of the 3 Series now come with an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. The 330e plug-in hybrid accounts for over 50% of 3 Series sales in Ireland and can be driven electric for up to about 60 kilometres.

On the road

The 3 Series is still a classic rear wheel drive car, but xDrive all-wheel drive is available across the range too. The top of the range BMW Performance models, the six-cylinder M340i (374hp) and M340d (340hp) offer stunning performance aided by a bespoke suspension, M Sport differential, sport transmission, rear-wheel drive focused xDrive, bespoke exhaust system, launch control and a sprint function. The M340i offers milder looks and performance than an M3 but what a car. The 3.0-litre, six cylinder engine is legendary, delivering power with urgency to a beautiful accompaniment of pops and bangs from the bespoke exhaust. The steering is ultra-precise, the car bounds around corners like a true athlete - an elite one.

Back in the 320d Touring, and it was a chance to revisit a more standard 3 Series experience. The 320d offers some of the best economy figures of the range, while offering good refinement on the move. BMW didn't have to tweak the handling - the 3 Series still leaves rivals behind with the level of engagement and agility it offers.

No matter which version you go for, the 3 Series offers class-leading handling, feeling sharp and more driver-focused on the road than rivals. M Sport models come with a sports suspension (except the 330e plug-in hybrid) and do ride a bit firmer than more comfort-biased rivals like the new C-Class.

Rear seating in the 3 Series
Rear seating in the 3 Series

Pricing 

The latest BMW 3 Series starts from €52,440 for the 330e hybrid and the 320i petrol. The 320d now starts from €54,130. The range-topping, high-performance M340d xDrive and M340i xDrive are available from €83,870 and €89,120 respectively. There are two trim level, Sport and M Sport.

Summary

The BMW 3 Series is an icon of the BMW range. You don't mess with an icon but the latest round of styling updates give the 3 Series a sportier and more mature look.

Inside, the 3 Series benefits from the new curved display.  It brings the 3 Series in line with other models in the BMW range and adds a contemporary finish to the cabin. But it's still a gorgeous cabin, driver-focused with lots of good quality materials.

On the road, the 3 Series remains one of the most engaging to drive compact premium saloons. The line-up has been streamlined but the well-placed 330e and 320d should remain high on the shortlist.

Not a major update for the 3 Series but enough to keep it a front runner in its class thanks to its classic good looks, sporty drive and cabin experience.

The BMW 3 Series remains a great choice of compact executive saloon
The BMW 3 Series remains a great choice of compact executive saloon

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year